« AnteriorContinuar »
VI. HIGHEE CLASS PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
What Higher Class Schools are.
Higher class public schools are declared to be burgh schools existing at the passing of the Act, in which the education given does not consist chiefly of elementary instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but of instruction in Latin, Greek, modern languages, mathematics, natural science, and generally in the higher branches of knowledge.
Provisions regarding them.
The provisions regarding these schools are as follows :—
1. They are to be managed exclusively by the school boards of their respective burghs, with a view to promote the higher education of the country. § 62, sub-sec. 1.
2. In order that the funds of these schools and the time of the teachers may be chiefly applied to giving instruction in the higher branches, the school boards who manage them are (so far as practicable and expedient, and subject to the approval of the Board) to relieve them of the necessity of giving elementary instruction to young children, by providing a sufficient number of elementary schools elsewhere in the burgh. § 62, sub-sec. 4.
3. The funds of these schools consist of—
(1.) Contributions from "the common good" of the
burghs. (2.) Any endowments belonging to the schools. (3.) Endowments for the promotion of instruction in particular subjects, or for the benefit of teachers of particular branches in the schools. (4.) Fees paid by scholars.
These funds do not go into the school fund. In each case they are to be administered exclusively for the benefit of the school to which they belong.
The fees are to be fixed by the teachers with the approval of the school board, subject, in the event of a difference of opinion, to the determination of the Board; and the treasurer of the school board must keep a separate account of the fees, and the full amount of the fees shall be divided and distributed among the teachers as the school board shall determine. Sub-sec. 3.
The expenses of examining the schools shall be paid out of the school fund. § 62, sub-sec. 6.
The houses shall be deemed schoolhouses within the meaning of the 45th section of the Act. So that the school board may borrow money on the security of the school fund and school rate for the purpose of providing or enlarging their higher class schools. § 62, sub-sec. 6.
4. The teachers of these schools are not to be examined, like those of the elementary schools, through the agency of the Department.
The school boards of the different burghs in which they are situated will regulate the examinations, and fix the standard of qualification for the teachers. The examiners are to be professors in some Scotch university, or teachers of distinction in a higher class public school. § 62, sub-sec. 2.
Any teacher in one of these schools, who is a member of council of a Scotch university, is to be deemed qualified as a teacher in any of these schools. § 62, sub-sec. 2.
Each of these schools must be examined annually by examiners appointed by the school board.1
1 Cf. note 4, p. 40, on expediency of school boards combining for the purpose of instituting general competitive examinations between the higher class schools under their management.
The expenses of these examinations may be paid out of the school fund. § 62, sub-sec. 6.
The Board may require from time to time a statement of the funds and revenues of any of these schools, and of the application of them. § 62, sub-sec. 3.
Higher Class Schools fixed by Act.
The eleven schools following, viz. :
New Grammar School,
Grammar School and Academy,
High School, are constituted higher class public schools, according to the foregoing provisions.1
to be dealt with
New Higher Class Schools in Burghs.
The school board of any burgh, by a resolution at a meeting specially called on fourteen days' notice in writing to each member, may (subject to the approval of the Board) resolve that any school under their charge shall be deemed a higher class school.
Such school will thereafter be managed according to the provisions regarding higher class public schools. § 62.
New Higher Class Schools in Parishes.
The school board of any parish may come to a similar resolu
1 These eleven schools are selected as being situated in the principal towns in Scotland. Dundee High School, Inverness Academy, Greenock Academy, and the Madras College, St Andrews, were included in the Bill as introduced. But they were omitted in passing through the House of Commons on the motions of the representatives of these towns.
tion under the same conditions, with regard to any parish school under their management existing at the passing of the Act, in which, from large endowment, or any other cause, the higher branches are taught to such an extent that the school cannot reasonably be considered as chiefly an elementary school. §63.
After a school board have passed a resolution to convert a school into a higher class school, they will cease to receive Parliamentary grant in respect of it.
No part of the funds or revenues of a higher class public school will pass into the school fund.
No part of the expenses of a higher class public school can be paid out of the school fund :—
Except, 1. Expenses of examination of the school.
2. Expenses of school buildings, which may be met by borrowing money on security of the school fund and school rate. § 64
These provisions, though expressing the feeling of the Legislature with regard to higher education rather than forming a complete code of law regarding it, are nevertheless of great importance. They are, in a sense, experimental No provisions regarding higher education were made in the English Act. The Education Department, through the Vice-President of the Council on Education, repudiated all responsibility with regard to higher education.1 But if the experiment answers, these provisions can be supplemented at a future time. By means of these a graded system of education is recognised. The school boards, under whose management these schools are placed, are enjoined by the statute "to manage them with a view to promote the higher education of the country," and "to relieve the schools from
1 "Hitherto the Education Department had confined itself to fixing the standard for elementary schools, but if this amendment [an amendment to give the Department the control of the examination of principal teachers of higher class schools] were adopted, it would mean that they should be responsible for the standard of higher education. He was not, however, prepared to go to that extent, though he did not say a time might not come when they might consider it advisable to do so, not only in Scotland, but in England also."—Mr W. E. Forstcr, ire Committee, June 13.
the necessity of giving elementary instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic to young children, by otherwise providing sufficient public school accommodation for such elementary instruction, so that the funds and revenues of such higher class schools, and the time of the teachers, may be more exclusively applied to giving instruction in the higher branches." Two of the' evils of Scotch education — want of any line of demarcation between the higher and the elementary schools, and want of organisation in the higher schools themselves— are thus fairly met, and the first steps towards a remedy are adopted.
The chief difficulty, however, with which higher education in Scotland has to contend—want of money—is untouched by these provisions. "It is not in accordance with the views of this House," the Lord Advocate said on introducing the Bill, "to give imperial money, or to authorise local taxation in order to provide for higher class education, and therefore I can only provide for the higher class education otherwise than pecuniarily."
The question therefore remains, From what source are these schools to be supplied with money?
Under the Act, all that they have now is retained to them. And power is given to enlarge or rebuild them, and to pay for the examination of their scholars, at the public expense of the burgh in which they are situated. But they are still inadequately endowed.
Now, however, that they have a recognised position in the educational system of the country, there is some probability that they will be selected as objects of private generosity. Individuals have of late years gifted or bequeathed large sums of money to the Scotch universities. An association for the better endowment of the universities have met with considerable success. Similar agencies may be put in force in the interests of the higher class schools.
When from any source, public, semi-public, or private, funds are secured for the use of these schools, the importance of the provisions in the Act (whether supplemented by future legislation or not) will be acknowledged.