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Education, Science, and Leadership

Nature volume 101, pages 335336 (27 June 1918) | Download Citation



SINCE the last annual meeting of the guild all questions of education have been under discussion, and we now know better where our weakness lies and the extent and nature of our needs. In the number of our institutions providing higher education America alone stands ahead of us. Sir Robert Had-field has pointed out that Great Britain and Ireland have one university per 2\ millions of population as compared with one million in America. In the Dominions, on the other hand, where the population is relatively sparse and the distances great, the proportion is one university to two-thirds of a million of people. This numerical comparison is, however, misleading, except that it indicates educational centres capable of extending their activities. The true criticism is the number of students who undergo a complete course of training. Of full-time students only 4400 entered our universities in 1913-14, and of them several hundred were foreigners who would later leave this country. Putting the output of university and technically trained men and women in another. way, it appears that per 10,000 of population there were sixteen full-time students in Scotland, thirteen in Germany, ten in the United States, six in Ireland, five in England, and five in Wales. The figure given for the United States includes only students at universities and technical schools of recognised standing. If all students taking four-year courses at these institutions were included, the rate per 10,000 of population would be doubled. It is impossible not to believe that these figures help to account for the high standard of intelligence in Scotland and America, and for the success of the Scottish and American peoples in many spheres of activity, while the relative backwardness of England, Ireland, and Wales must exercise an influence in public life.

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