1870 - Taylor, W. The Education of the People: Ten Letters... - [Front matter]

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  1870 - Taylor, W. The Education of the People: Ten Letters... - [Front matter]
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Superintendent of the Province of Auckland, New Zealand.



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MY reasons for addressing these letters to his Honour the Superintendent are given in the introductory one. They were not intended for the press; at least, when first penned.

Recent circumstances have induced me to undertake their publication. They have only appeared in a fragmentary form in the Daily Southern Cross; and, as the Session is fast coming on in which the education of this Province is to be more definitely settled, I was anxious to place the plans I have suggested in a more compact form for reference and study than they could possibly be when scattered up and down in the columns of a daily newspaper. Other reasons, more or less of a private nature, have operated also in this direction.

I lay no claim to originality, except so far that I have endeavoured to apply known and efficient agencies to the wants and circumstances of our people. My utmost hope is, that I may be able to aid the Government and Council in establishing a system of Education which shall confer a lasting benefit upon the Province; and not arrogantly to fancy that my suggestions are, par excellence, those which ought to be adopted, and that all others must necessarily end in utter failure.

I think my fellow-teachers will not quarrel with me for endeavouring to bring them up to a tolerable degree of efficiency in order to pass the examinations, nor that the amount of their income is made to depend upon ascertained results. A scheme very similar in principle to what I have suggested is evidently contemplated in the Province of Otago. The following extract from Mr. Hislop's report for 1869 is very much to the point. He says:-- "As the efficiency of schools depends so very much upon the personal character and professional skill of the teachers employed in them, it is of the utmost importance that the qualifications of those who offer themselves as candidates for appointments should be very thoroughly tested. I believe that much unpleasantness and disappointment would in many cases be prevented by the choice of teachers being positively limited

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to candidates in actual possession of a certificate of competency from the Education Board, and by such certificate being obtainable only after careful and thorough examination in respect of personal character, scholarship, and professional skill. It may also be found worthy of consideration, whether the amount of salary to be paid by the Board should not be regulated in each case by the grade of the teacher, and the actual results of his labour each year."

I commit these pages to the fair criticism of the public; but I commend the immensely-important subject upon which they treat--a subject which must influence future generations--to their earnest attention. My advice to all parents and guardians is: Give your representatives no rest until you have obtained a system of education for your children which shall enable them to know how to act well their part as citizens, subjects, and Christians.

These letters advocate thoroughly the religious element; and I am glad to see that by far the majority of communications which have appeared in our local papers agree with me on this point; and I am convinced it is also the opinion of the people. "Quot homines tot sentential" is by no means applicable to this question of religious teaching. I am indebted to the Bishop of Peterborough and others from whom I have quoted. My thanks are especially duo to the Rev. E. N. Bree, for having so promptly followed up my first letter to his Honour by an uncompromising declaration of principle in the cause of Christian education; also to S. Kempthorne, Esq., for his valuable letter. I wish I could also thank by name "Aliquis," "Clericus," "An Old Teacher," as well as others. To all of them, however, I would respectfully suggest that it is not a time to fire from behind stone walls.

The letters have been revised, and notes added containing information on the points mentioned, taken from local sources, or suggested by advices recently arrived from England. The Appendix contains remarks upon a matter of great and growing importance, namely; Shall the Provinces continue their diversified systems, or shall we have one uniform plan undertaken by the General Government for the whole Colony? The people at the forthcoming general election will have to decide.

St. Matthew's School, Auckland,
July 30, 1870.


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Letter I. Introductory... ... ....... ... 5

II. Education in England ... ... ... ... 8

III. " " in the Province of Auckland... ... 11

IV. "The Common Schools Act, 1869." ... ... 12

V. "The Education Act, 1857," its re-introduction, with alterations, recommended...........14

Appendix to ditto. ... ... ... ... 17

VI. On School Inspection ... ... ... ... 23

VII. On Secular and Denominational Teaching... ... 24

VIII. The Criminal and the Arab ... ... ... 27

IX. Our Grammar School ... ... ... 29

X. Ways and Means ... ... ... 30

Appendix, Colonial Education ....... 311

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