Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, MAY 26, 1905. THE TEACHING PROFESSION.
At Wednesday's meeting of the North Canterbury Board of Education a discussion took place on the scarcity of male teachers, the subject being brought forward prominently by the report that two sohools which recently advertised for male pupil teachers had received no applications. The result which was predicted some years ago as certain to overtake the educational profession of the colony, has now begun to make itself felt m an unmistakable manner. The low rate of salary paid to school teachers has induced all those male teachers who oould do so to turn their attention to other lines of life, while those of our young men who are starting out m life, are choosing' occupations where their labours receive a remuneration more commensurate with their deserts. In nearly every vocation the rate of: pay has risen m accordance with the rise m the cost of living, this being one of the reasons urged by trades unions for insisting on increased wages m nearly every trade m the colony. But, like the members of the other professions which have no union to make them a force m the land, and no Arbitration Court to see that they get what they ask for, the unfortunate teachers are left to the tender mercies of the Government, and they suffer accordingly. Under the scale of pay at present m force, teachers below the rank of first assistants and teachers m country schools are, m the majority of oases, m receipt of a mere pittance, and it is better for a boy leaving school to take up a trade than to go m for teaching; for after spending several years m training and equipping himself for his duties, he finds himself with nothing to look forward to beyond what apprentices m some of the trades are earning. At Wednesday's meeting one member of the Board expressed the opinion that matters would right themselves m time, especially if the remuneration paid to teachers is increased. But he would have been nearer the mark if he had said matters would right themselves only if the remuneration paid to teachers is adequately increased. At present the teaching profession is well on tho way to be handed over principally to women, whose servica3 are not rated bo highly as those of the male sex and who are apparently content to have theic services rated at an inferior value, even where they do the same and equal work. The women teachers of New Zealand are a patient, hard working, and capable class, and they have done good work for the colony; but thorn is a certain limit beyond which they cannot go, and beyond which their services are not of a value equivalent to those of a male teacher. In the long run, the condition of the teaching profession will assuredly produce the inevitable result —a deterioration m the general standard of education within the colony. New Zealand has good reason to fepl proud of her educational system, which, compared with that which prevails m other countries, is up-to-date and efficient. But under the conditions at present existing, this state of up-to-dateneas and efficiency cannot very wall be maintained much longer. In fact, it is not at all unlikely that the colony's educational system has begun to be impaired already, and that the results obtained now are not equal to those of a fow years ago. This subject is one on which a great deal has been sriid, and it is not for want of telling that the Government has allowed the teaching profession to driffa into the .condition now prevailing. Why the Premier has neglected the school teachers m the way he has done, is difficult to understand, especially when one remembers the numerous surpluses he has had to boast of m recent years.' The Premier has promised to introduce a superannuation scheme for aged and infirm teachers, With the present inadequate salaries, a teaober is unable fco make- provision for old age and infirmity by life insurance or otherwise, and the establishment of a superannuation scheme is absolutely necessary merely m the interests of justice. But we doubt if that will prove an adequate remedy for the evils to which attention has been so frequently drawn. Nothing less than a substantial increase m the salaries paid to the majority of teachers will work th.c required improvement. It rfimnins for Mr fco a.dd th^s to the ■■<tier )>en"fi<^ hn hup rwn 'fal' raewnn pf giving tv iho colwny.