IRISH education has sustained a severe loss by the death of the RT. HON. W. J. M. STARKIE, Resident Commissioner of National Education. For the past twenty-two years Dr. Starkie guided the rather cranky ship of Irish primary education through the troubled sea of clerical management. After a brilliant school career, he obtained the highest classical distinctions at Cambridge University and Trinity College, Dublin, including the fellowship of the latter college. In 1897 he was appointed president of Queen's College, Galway, but after a brief period of office became Resident Commissioner and ex-officio chairman of the Board of National Education. As a member of the Viceregal Commission on manual and practical instruction, he played an important part in framing the scheme of reformation of the aims and methods of Irish education, which later he was called upon to administer. Upon his shoulders rested in large measure the responsibility of effecting the change from a mechanical system of payment by results to an inspection system with a broader view of the functions of a school. Knowing the magnitude of the forces opposed to change, he displayed conspicuous courage in carrying far-reaching reforms to a successful issue. His address on “Recent Reforms in Irish Education” at the Belfast meeting of the British Association in 1902 was a strenuous and courageous exposure of the weaknesses of Irish education; it aroused much bitter criticism from the clerical managers.
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[Obituary]. Nature 105, 686 (1920). https://doi.org/10.1038/105686a0