TWO EDUCATIONAL ITEMS.
Two matters of exceptional public interest were discussed by the" Board of Education yesterday, and in each case we are glad to record our opinion that the Board took the best course open to it. In the first place, the report of the ■Finance Committee on the proposed Technical College came up for consideration, and the Board, after discussion, adopted the recommendation of the committee that the tenders already received be declined, and that new tenders be invited for a three-storey building in ferroconcrete. Our readers will possibly remember that the original proposal was for a four-storey building, but that the lowest tender received was tor £29,000, which, with extras, would have brought the cost up to at least £33,000. As the Board had only £23,000 in hand, matters had come to a deadlock. The chairman, instructed by the Board, approached the Minister for Education to discover whether there was any chance of securing an additional Government grant of £12,000 to enable it to follow out the original soheme. But, as might have been anticipated, Mr. Fowlds speedily made it clear that Government could not undertake any further responsibility of this sort just now. The only reasonable course, therefore, was for the Board and the director of the Technical College to modify their plans to suit their financial limitations, and this has now been done. We agree "with, the -Board that if there is a difference of only a few hundred pounds between brick and ferro-concrete, it is wise to minimise the risk of fire by using the more expensive material. And we have no doubt that now that Mr. George has been induced to adjust his ambitions to his means, and to drop the absurdly expensive and unnecessary heating and ventilating system that was to have added several thousands to the cost of the building, a Technical College can be erected for £23,000 that will be a credit to the city and an exceedingly valuable adjunct to our educational system. The other interesting subject which engaged the Board's attention yesterday was the report submitted by the principal of the Weileeley-street Training College. Mr. Milnes points out that while the new regulations assume that 100 students are in attendance at the Training College, only 47 studied there last year, and that he sees no reasonable prospect of more than 50 for the current year. This certainly seems a very unsatisfactory condition of affairs, and, as Mr. Milnes shows, there is no lack of material from which the list of students should be recruited. Out of some 100 pupil teachers employed in Auckland last year, about 50 were in their last year, and, therefore, should have been prepared to enter the Training College now; but only eight applied for admission. It is obvious that if attendance at the Training College is to be left purely optional, the number of students is likely to fall far below the capacity of the institution and the requirements of our educational system for a long time to come. And, as we have frequently pointed out, rt is hopeless to expect satisfactory results from our primary schools unless the teachers undergo some systematic preliminary training. There is no doubt that school teaching is not only an extremely important form of work, but that it is expert labour of a fflghly skilled and specialised kind. It is surely unwise to entrust the formation of our children's characters and the development of their intelligences to untrained youths, in many cases little older than themselves. Yet the Training Colleges supply the only alternative to such a dangerous experiment. Before our own Training College was opened, frequent complaints were hearu' of the lack of training facilities for teachers, ftnd the necessity fox supplying them. We have always supported the movement in favour of a Training College, and we are as strongly convinced as ever that for the great majority of teachers some preparatory training at such an institution is positively indispensable. For this reason we are glad. tKat the Board expressed sympathy with Mr. Milnes' suggestions, and we hope that at no distant date some form of compulsory training will be insisted upon, not only for pupil teachers, but also for probationers, before -they are allowed to undertake their difficult and responsible duties in our schools.
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