In what way and at What Stage can Technical Instruction be best Introduced into our System of National Education *


    IT will simplify the consideration of the subject, the discussion of which I have been requested to introduce, if we admit frankly that in England at any rate (I am glad to believe that Scotland is more fortunate) we do not possess a system of national education. Such a system, as I conceive it, should afford to all the children of the nation adequate elementary instruction and moreover, should offer to all, so far as their capacities and other circumstances will enable them to take advantage of it full opportunity for further mental cultivation. There are lying before me the calendars of two German schools for boys of the middle class intended for a mercantile or industrial career: the Friedrich-Werder Gewerbe, or Trade School of Berlin, and the Real Schule, under the direction of Dr. Schellen at Cologne. The courses of each of these institutions following after some preparatory teaching in an elementary school or at home, where reading and writing together with a little arithmetic have been acquired, retain their pupils during nine or ten years; and boys who, according to the reports, were to become mechanical engineers, builders, postmasters, merchants, and chemists, left those schools last July, having attained the ages of seventeen to twenty years. The Real Schule of Cologne, the average number of whose pupils is 580, has 28 masters; the Gewerbe Schule of Berlin, averaging 540, has a staff of 32 masters. In every German town of the least importance there are, m addition to the Gymnasium or Classical School, one or more technical schools resembling those of Berlin and Cologne; the numerous Universities and Polytechnic Institutions furnish the requisite staff of teachers. The fees are small. I have no information as to those of the schools which I have quoted, but I find from the prospectus of another very celebrated trade school, that of Barmen in Westphalia, that its school fees for the year are from 3l. in the lowest to 6l. in the highest class, and that boys whose friends do not reside in the town are boarded for 25l. The governments, the municipalities, and private persons vie with each other in placing at the disposal of poor scholars of the elementary schools who have shown superior capacity, the means of continuing their studies in these secondary schools.

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    In what way and at What Stage can Technical Instruction be best Introduced into our System of National Education * . Nature 10, 492–494 (1874).

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