OTAGO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE.
The twelfth annual session of the above was commenced at the Choral Hall yesterday morning; Mr 1). M'Nicoll (president), George street School, occupying the chair. Among those present were Messrs I). White, W, J. Moore, W. Milne, W. S. Fitzgerald, A. Stewart, C. Chilton, J. Reid, Duncan, J. Rennie (secretary), and some twentynine other members. The Rev, Dr Stuart was also present during part of the sitting. The annual report, a prids of which has been published in our columns, was taken as read.
Mr D. White, «in seconding the adoption of the report, thought one or two of its clauses deserved more than passing notice. So far as the position of the Institute was concerned there was every reason to bo satisfied ; it was certainly a valuable institution. In regard to drawing, he had been assured that the matter of making of it a class instead of a compulsory pass subject was under the consideration of the the Minister. The branch reports dealt with mere formal matters, but in this connection he was of opinion that if one or two members of the Institute were deputed to visit the various branches during the year considerable improvement would be manifested by the country branches in the affairs of the Institute. Mr Spencer wished to refer to the clause referring to the question of midwinter holidays. The manner in which the law was laid down, according to the report, was that because no interest had been manifested by the head-masters of some schools these holidays should not be given. If they obtained these holidays* if not members of the Institute, they were simply enjoying them under false pretences. To let the teachers attend the meetings of the Institute they had fixed these holidays daring the Institute’s session, and were committees now going to close the schools and prevent anyone belonging to those particular schools from attending the Institute ? That was the impression conveyed by the clausa referred to. The head masters of some schools might not belong to the Institute—(A Voice: They ought to); but their assistants did. Whether the head-masters should belong to the Institute or not was a matter of opinion, but he thought the assistants should be considered as well as the masters. If they passed that clause they would be giving expression to an opinion that would tend to alienate the sympathies of assistants from the Institute, As an assistant himself he considered that they should receive more consideration from the Institute. If they passed that sentence they would be simply settling the question of midwinter holidays before the deputation appointed to consult them regarding the matter had been heard. For did the committees not say this : “ If the head-master is a member of the Institute, close the school; if not, keep the school open?”—(Hear.) The deputation, therefore, would have absolutely nothing to do, because the Institute virtually laid down the law regarding this matter. He moved, as an amendment-—" That the end of the paragraph, from the word * some,’ be deleted from the report.”
Mr R. G. Wuetter seconded the amend ment.
Mr Barnett opposed the amendment, making a strong protest against the selfishness of some head-masters regarding the percentages of passes. There were some masters so unutterably selfish that to obtain high percentages they would, if possible, open their schools on Sundays, He was himself aware of one case where a child of tender years, through being worked at school some six or seven hours per day, had been debarred, by the advice of medical gentlemen, from competing in any examination—which she could easily have passed owing to the system of cram. These headmasters should be surely censured, He was
also In favor of the Institute following the example of some schools up north, who had restricted the time of tuition to live and a-half hours. They spoke about teaching, but the pupils were overdosed with it; it simply amounted to cram, —(Hear.) Mr VV. J. Moore endorsed what had fallen from Mr Spencer, and considered that in consequence of the approaching visit of the Schools’ Conference delegates the sentence alluded to should not have been placed in the report. The schools were not closed for the benefit of the head-masters or teachers, bat for the convenience and good of the pupils.—(Hear.) The pupils wore the ones to be considered, and he would like that point brought prominently before the deputation next day. Mr Fitzgerald said that no one present felt more keenly than he the conduct of those head-masters who declined to associate themselves with the Institute, and therefore influenced the assistants in their labors. This pressure for high percentages which existed in our schools was not by any means a desirable circumstance in connection with the tuition of our young. Mr Duncan moved—“ That the words ‘ and teachers ’ bo placed after the word ‘ head-masters ’ in the clause referred to."
Mr Spencer’s amendment was declared carried, and the report, as amended, was adopted. The balance-sheet was unanimously adopted.
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OTAGO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE., Evening Star, Issue 7949, 3 July 1889
OTAGO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE. Evening Star, Issue 7949, 3 July 1889
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