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is made to compare our work with that of foreign countries.
To take two instances. First, as to foreign languages in secondary schools. No doubt exists as to German superiority. But have we ever given our own pupils an equal chance ? Compare the time given to the subject in our country and in Germany. Or again, take the teaching of Drawing, which the Germans are now modifying along English lines. The Drawing Exhibits of the large School Boards in England show work of much more advanced character and of better execution than is to be found in German schools. This many German teachers admit, but point to the fact that some of our pupils occupy about a fifth or sixth of their whole school week in drawing, and this, they say, and I heartily agree, is a price too big to pay.
There is a further advantage in the method which I have adopted of basing my conclusions on what is actually done rather than on what is supposed to be done, and what, from the point of view of the authorities and their syllabuses and regulations, ought to be done. And that advantage is that we are dealing, so far as my own rendering does not pervert them, with “facts.” For example; children in Germany begin to attend school at six, and move upwards mostly one class a year until they leave at fourteen. Thus the fifth class from the top is the third school year, and, on the assumption that the children all began at six and went steadily forward, the age would be eight in this class. And the teachers, when asked for the ages, naturally enough give what I may call the official age. A closer inquiry, however, and a tabulation of the actual ages, modify one's judgment. In the lessons given, where I did not take the actual ages, I have described the age given as “official age.” If education ever becomes a science, official regulations, though extremely valuable no doubt, will only be auxiliary to investigations conducted under the proper conditions of true experiment. It would frequently be true to say, the more formidable the syllabus, the less the work; so that syllabuses may not only be false, but misleading.
Further, all political and administrative arrangements are only machinery to an end; the teaching after all is the tool-end of the machine; and it is on modes of teaching and learning that the efficiency of the whole depends. I have endeavoured, therefore, to make my investigations useful to those who are actually doing the work, as well as to those engaged in educational administration.
In giving these notes of the actual lessons heard I wish to disavow, once for all, any notion that may arise that these are given as examples to be copied. Many of them doubtless might well be copied with advantage ; but my object was neither to provide models for imitation nor examples to be avoided, but simply to give actual evidence as far as I was able, in addition to my own opinions and conclusions.
I am, I trust, at least partially aware of the imperfect nature of such an investigation as this. It certainly falls very far short of what I, myself, regard as indispensable conditions to any successful inquiry in matters susceptible of scientific method.” I have endeavoured to check my impressions by constant appeals to actual tests, but much that is advanced necessarily lacks such verification. For example, racial difference has been suggested as one cause of the German superiority in foreign languages, but no one could be more fully conscious than I am that the necessary experiments to establish such a conclusion have not been undertaken.
Educational ideals are not primarily determined by educationists, and we cannot hope for unity here until the ideals of life are uniform ; but the study of the facts of education can, meanwhile, proceed. In the hope that something, however small, may be thus contributed to the study of comparative education, the following pages were written.
I fear that I must have made many mistakes, sometimes serious ones, and wish to apologise in advance to my German friends for inaccuracies and misrepresentations. I do not apologise for criticism if founded upon knowledge, and based upon understanding. I have reason to know that, in some quarters at least, criticism would be welcomed. But I do regret the almost inevitable mistakes, which I shall be most willing to correct, if any subsequent opportunity presents itself.
GRADES OF SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL FEES
School Authorities IN Germany there are no directly elected School Boards. To take a typical example, the school committee of Frankfort consists of (a) Three members of the “ Magistracy” chosen
by the “Magistracy” itself. (6) Three members of the Municipal Council or
Parliament of the town. (c) A member of the Clergy for each of the
two Christian denominations, Protestant
and Roman Catholic. (d) The School-superintendent (Schulrat). The "Magistracy” is an official body consisting of the Superintendents of the various departments of municipal activity, e.g. electric supply, water supply, &c.
The President of the School Committee is the Mayor of the town. He can, however, be represented by a member of the “Magistracy."
The decisions of the School Committee require the sanction of the Municipal Council, and these again require the approval of the Education Department of the Administrative province in which the town is situated.
Schools and Fees There are no municipal infant schools. There are, however, private kindergarten schools which are not largely attended; and they are not correlated with the municipal system.
The compulsory school age is from six to fourteen, and the schools may be divided into (a) Primary, (6) Secondary. In some towns the primary schools consist of higher grade or middle schools and lower grade or ordinary schools. In others there are no higher grade schools apart from the secondary school system.
The secondary schools are divided into modern schools (Realschulen), classical schools (Gymnasien), and combinations of the two (Realgymnasien).
The school fees vary from town to town.
In the Prussian town of Frankfort some of the schools in the poorest neighbourhoods are free, but reading books, copy books, &c., are not gratuitous, though in one large school, attended by 800 girls, 600 marks were allowed annually by the School Authority for their purchase, and a grant of 8000 marks was received annually from a Benevolent Society (Armenverein).
The children in the middle or higher primary schools pay a fairly considerable fee.
Almost all the pupils leave at fourteen.. The greater zeal for the education of their children, which German parents manifest, is apparent rather in the much larger proportion of scholars attending the secondary schools than in their retention beyond the