Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, MAY 2, 1919. COUNTRY SCHOOLS.
Townsmen do not accept, unreservedly, all the complaints of hardships country-dwellers raise, but few townsmen discredit the allegations regarding the deficiencies of many country schools. Education is no unmixed blessing to country children, the distances to be covered, the insanitary, illlighted, ill-ventilated buildings used, the overworked and, sometimes, insufficiently experienced teachers, all tending .^t-p -make school-days burdensome rather than the joyful era they should me. If the children of townsfolk had to put up with half the ordeals of some of the young scholars dwelling in rural parts, the average attendance records would greatly suffer. Take, for instance, what the Methven pupils of the Ashbufton High and Technical schools have to endure to secure the facilities offered by a progressive country. These juveniles are away from home for about 14 hours daily, and have to travel in all seasons on trains that are scarcely the last word in comfort. Primary scholars, also,, are confronted with no little difficulty in complying with the compulsory education provisions, and it is but common justice that, although the transit hardships cannot altogether be overcome, care should be taken that other and quite unnecessary disadvantages should not be perpetuated. Some of the buildings used in rural districts as ''"schools" are libels on the temi, and a disgrace to those responsible. Congratulations are therefore due to the Hon. J. A. Hanan, Minister for Education, on his latest reform. Incidentally, Mr Hanan seems to be one of the few Ministers who attempt to achieve something, despite belonging to a National Govern ment. Mr Hanan proposes to raise the educational level of the country schools by giving them> at intervals, the services of firstclass experienced teachers, who will be supplementary to the inspectors. The details of the scheme were published in Wednesday's "Guardian," and there is no need to repeat here. Jf the right type of men are selected, and if the country teachers cooperate, the result should be of immense advantage to the children, and, it is unquestionable, that the only thing that really matters in school-life is the welfare of the pupils. Apart from improvement in tuition that must result, the visits of the organising experts should drive home to them, and through them to the authorities, the imperative need of advance in other directions. Ideal lessons cannot be taught in'barnlike, structures, without efforts j being made to improve the sur-* rtfund'iiigs. Mental food will secure better • assimilation if the physical condition of the recipients is also considered. Given fair chances, country district scholars will prove quite as apt as those who a'tteni. town schools; the former's record is wonderfully bright considering the Handicaps. Teachers, pupils, and $he au&ori-
ties should all gain fromitlie rjfeTV sclieme? for reform breeds reform, just as apathy and neglect produce their like. The Minister deserves commendation, and jf the new scheme is designed op. generous lines, the "educational standard in rural districts should rapidly advance, with correspondingly less i'rksomeness to the pupils.. ; : ' ;.