Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

11 erthygl ar y dudalen hon


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USK. i

I The Leading Schools.


I The Leading Schools. There is much to be said in favour of the Public Schools as they are known and exist ia England. Mr. Balfour, in comparing the merits of a classical and a modern education, naturally took this view in his address the other day at Leys School, Cambridge. There are many boys of the class to which Mr. Balfour belongs, who, as a matter of course, make their first start ia life at one or other of the great Public Schools as naturally as they learn to walk. In the next class, with not quite the same advantages, it is a common remark that there is nothiug like sending a boy to a cl FIRST-CLASS PUBLIC SCHOOL and it is quite true there is nothing like it for the development of character. The boy at once realises his dependence on his own resources, and, apart from mental training, so much is felt to his own sense of honour, and of what is known as "good form" as to give him an excellent training in judgment and self-reliance. In many other countries the system is quite different, and in France the superior master is always and everywhere in evidence. The Public Schools, so called, are in fact, a peculiarly English institution. Iu Scotland all the Board Schools are Public Schools, but Mr. Balfour was thinking only of the high class establish- ments, at which most of our great public men begin their careers. There is of course nothing very wonderful about these schools, in likening them to the long and steady growth of the British Constitution. Most of them owe their origin TO ROYAL OR EPISCOPAL OS OTHER PJOUS FOFNDEBS, When Lord Palmerston appointed a Public School Commission forty years ago, there were less than a dozen establishments of this kind. Winchester which is the oldest of all, and Eton, and Westminster, are typical examples. There are many more now, and some, like Harrow, Rugby, and Shrewsbury, are but the outgrown grammar schools of old. As a rule they were founded to provide free education for poor boys —a purpose from which they have been diverted, or retain only in the provision of scholarships. There is a common fault with all of them in the tendency to sacrifice the rank and file for the advancement of the few brilliant ones, who are I expected to shed lustre and distinction upon the school. As regards the comparative merits of the I CLASSICAL AND SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION, all the needs of the present day emphasise the importance of a modernised system. When the older generation was at school it was Greek, Latin, and Mathematics. Science was in its infancy, travelling was the privilege of the wealthy few, and there was no great call or need for modern languages. Now the general conditions of life are very different. It is an age of competitive examinations, with their infinite variety of subjects which bar most of the ways into the public services, and other openings. It would be impossible to over-rate the importance of a classical education, but there is no doubt that much time is wasted in our public schools in subjecting boys to unfruitful drudgery in a study for which they have no natural taste or endowments. IN GERMANY they attach much more importance to a modern and scientific training, and there are faeilities there for obtaining the best possible education, far beyond anything we have in this country. Any boy may go to the highest class school in Germany for about £ 20 a year, and have the same educational advantages as would cost seven or ten times as much at our great Public Schools. It is not an uncommon thing in Germany to find a man working at some trade or business with his hands, who was educated at oue of the leading schools. Such advantages are without a doubt one of the secrets of the commercial and industrial success of the Germans in recent years. To those who have the intellectual taste, and the leisure in prospect, which are necessary for the higher cultures, the school is only a distinctly preparatory stage. But these are the comparatively few, and with regard to most of the boys at our Public Schools who propose to take life seriously, it is more important that the knowledge they acquire should be of practical utility, such as they are able to turn to early advantage after leaving school.

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