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EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE., Issue 7950, 4 July 1889
At yesterday's sitting Mr A. W. Tyndall (Tuapeka) read a paper on ' Bibliolatry,' or book-worship. He pointed out that pupils were incapable of thought, except those suggested by works of the lightest character. The bad results of this book-worship were—(l) Want of comprehension of the subjects taught, conjoined with glibness in repeating book jargon; (2) hatred of useful reading through having been compelled to read at school books too useful to be comprehensible ; (3) a tendency that some love of reading had perhaps supervened to prefer the light and worthless to the productions of classical authors, chiefly because classical authors had the misfortune to have some of their works inserted into the school books ; (4) an irrational admiration for eloquent talk.
Mr D. Rows (Waitaki) read a lengthy paper on the position tff teachers with regard to the work which Ihcy do, and the remuneration which they received for the same, and moved tho following, which had been agreed to by the Waitaki branch:— " That tho basis of the New Zealand Educational Institute bo amended so as to itjclude the following functions—viz., to try by ail legal means to liavo the duties and responsibilities of teachers clearly denned and recognised, and their incomes made commensurate therewith, and to guard thoir interests gcnorally."—ln tho course of tho discussion sonic of the younger members of the Institute urged that the time had arrived when the Institute should discharge tho functions of a " union," and keep watuh over the material interests of tho teaching body in this provincial district. Souks of the older members, however, thought that it would bo a mistake to proceed on sucli lines at present, though sonic admitted that it might ultimately be found necessary to do so.
At the evening Bitting Mr E. Mobbison (Boys' High School) road a very interesting paper on ' Juvenile Offenders,' which gave rise to a short discussion.
Mr C. Mahoney (Miltonbranch) sketched some of the advantages to be gained by the abolition of education boards and the appointment of a non-political Council in lieu of thorn. Education Boards were well enough ten years ago ; but they had served their purpose, and their longer existence served only to show more glaringly the defects which were only obscurely noticeable a few years ago. A few of those defects he would briefly remind them of. There was a manifest unfairness in the way in which teachers were paid in different parts of the colony. The inspectors had far too much latitude in deciding tho limits of attainments for standard pass. So had they in a thing of more vital importance—the teachers' classification. A man getting the maximum number of marks in one province would probably be considered of much lower ability in the neighboring province, and vke versa. Tho system was expensive beyond all requirements, and the log-rollings patent and prevalent. He then read the draft of a Bill he. had drawn up to amend the Education Act of 1877, the chief clauses of which provided that education boards and school committees created by the present Education Act Bhould be dissolved, and the authorities hitherto exercised by the said boards aud committees respectively transferred to the Council of Education, which would consist of twenty members—viz., the Inspector-General,fifteen members returned by the educational districts, and four teachers choßen by the teaching body of the colony. The Council should meet at least four times a year, and have power to appoint teachers for any of the public schools of the eolony under its control, or to remove such teachers from one school to another. No appointment of any teacher to, or dismissal of any teacher from, any school should take place without tho full concurrence of the member or members for tho education district in which the Baid school was situated, but nothing should prevent % committee from suspending and the Council from disnis&ing any teacher for gross misbehaviour or immoral conduct. The school committee should consist of Beven " ratepayers" resident in the school district; the cumulative vote to be abolished; schools to be graded, and the salaries of teachers to be classified.—ln the discussion that ensued opinions were expressed that the paper did not go sufficiently into details; that the country was not ripe for the change suggested'; that thore were obvious dofects in the draft; and that there was not yot a sufficiently pronounced public opinion in favor of doing away with boards to warrant the belief that tho existing order of things would be interfered with for some time. It was, however, urged that in viow of probablo changes in tho working of tho system tho Executive of tho Institute should continue to watch over the interests of teachers and see that they were not threatened or injured.
Today's Sittini;. The session was resumed at elevcu o'clock this mornini:. 11115 DASIS OK TIIK lNSTlll'Tli. Debate rcHiwncd on tho proposal from the Waitaki branch-—"That the basis of the New Zealand Educational Institute be amended so as to include tho following functions—vi/.., to try by all legal moans to have tho duties and responsibilities of teachers clearly defined and recognised, and their incomes made commensurate therewith, and to guard their interests generally." Mr W. S. Fitzgebald was not opposed to tho proposals, but did not like the wording of the proposals or the manner in which they were supported. There was abundant evidence that the Institute had done its work, and that it had not (as had been asserted) shirked its duty. The Institute had, ho contended, been largely successful in raising the standard of education in Otago, if not throughout New Zealand ; it had improved the condition of schoolmasters, and had saved a reduction of the school age. At the same time, ho had no objection to a better definition of the basis, and would gladly accept such a definition, and also the introduction of better machinery. Mr D. Ross asked leave to alter the motion in the following way:—" That it is the opinion of the Otago Educational Institute that tho basis of the New Zealand Educational Institute be defined so aB to include the following functions," etc., and " that a committee be appointed to confer with the Committee of Management and preparo a plan for the closer union among teachers, and to appoint a deputation to bring the question before tho Council of the New Zealand Institute." Mr E. Piper seconded the motion for the amendment, which was carried unanimously. At a later stage Mr Milne brought up the question again, saying that the Committee appointed superseded the functions of tho Committee of Management. He objected to this, and gave notice to move at next meeting—" That those gentlemen appointed be a committee to confer with the
Committee of Management, and in conjunction with the Committee of Management prepare a plan for union," etc. It was resolved to adjourn for five minutes so as to allow of the question being settled straightway. On resuming Mr Milnk moved hie amendment, which was seconded by Mr G. Macdonald, and carried nem. con. MB RENNIE's PAPER. Mr J. Rennib read a paper on 'Ourbolvcs,' in the course of which tho writer said :—" I may give an instance of how, in my opinion, public opinion may be beneficially influenced. In the minds of many people tho syllabus means education. A hundrod per cent, is the best education. ' No need to dUcuss the matter of education any further,' Bay such. Impelled by the force of ouch opinion we go on bestowing a very questionable benefit on 20 per cent, of our pupils at the expense of a very great injustice to tho other SO per cent. This state of matters has boon brought about by a chain of factors, tho chief of which, I am inclined to think, has been tho teaching profession itself. If so, all the more reason that such an organisation as ours should do its best to scatter such a belief. The extent to which pandering to this delusion has gone in some instances is startling. Some toil early, toil late, toil Saturday, and would toil Sunday too, probably, if public opinion would permit it, and confiscate holidays. For what ? A hundred per oent! If the syllabus is education, and a hundred per cent, is the aummum bonum, the Government have a good .opening for economy: they may let the education of children by piece-work." Mr Rennie went on to say that the Institute was properly a
defensive rather than an offensive alliance ; regretted that out of 353 who were in a position to be members at the end of 188S only about one third were members; and advocated the Institute insisting on the remedying of three defects—first, the insecurity of teachers' tenure of office ; second, the absence of satisfactory provision for disrating instead of dismissing inefficient teachers; and third, the cumulative vote at committee elections,
Mr Baenett proposed and Mr Reid seconded a vote of thanks to Mr Rennie, and Messrs Tyndall and Piper having spoken to the question, the motion was put and carried by acclamation.
ELECTION OF DELEGATES. The Chairman announced the result of the election of delegates to the Council of the New Zealand Educational Institute. Those elected were Messrs W'lson, Milne, Reid, Chilton, and Fitzgerald. APPOINTMENT OF TEACHKIiW.
Mr "White brought up the report of the Committee appointed to consider tho question of tho appointment of teachers. Before moving the resolutions, he desired to express some of the reasons which had led the Committee to their conclusions, and also to give his own views on the subject. In the first placo ho held that it was inadvisable that appointments should vest Bolcly in the hands of one body. In all systems of administration it had been shown that, in order to secure fair and impartial admiuistration, there must be a system of checks and balances—that there should be various steps or processes, and that each should be a check or balance on the other. That would prevent the personal element from coming in. Therefore ho was (|uito disposed to accept the machinery they had at present in the Education Act. The power of appointing was technically in the hands of tho Board, but ultimately it rested with the committees. But it was a question where the powers of the boards should end and the powers of the committees begin. One disability of the Board in working with the committees was that it arrogated to itself too much power. The members of the Board were men of business, and had other matters to attend to, and he did not think they had the opport tunity or the time to form a judgmen that Bhould be considered final, Another reason was this : that, whilst members o the Roard ' were removable, there was always a permanent force at work in th Board there was always tho officia element existing. That was an undefined power ; it might exert its influence or not. But it had the power of doing so, and if appointments remained with the boards there was always the danger of an irresponsible officialism that might at any moment exert its influence in favor of one particular candidate. And that power was all the more dangerous because the teachers could not reach it. Boards, then, should have a certain amount of power, but not too much. The question was how much power Bhould boards have ? Boards had always claimed to have the selectivo right, and he (the speaker) had no objection to this, and considered that they were acting quite properly in carrying it out. But he did not considei that this power had been wisely exercised. What about the three-name system ? Had it operated fairly ? He did not think so. —(Applause.) He would not cite cases, but would content himself with making the general statement that in many cases the more qualified men had been excluded and the less qualified men had been sent down to committees. That had frequently happened, and, since the preßent system was initiated, it appeared to him to have been nothing but a gross system of favoritism from beginning to end. He admitted that tho Board had a right to select, but they had only the right to select on principle, and not on any discussion as to the abilities of teacherß that might take place at the Board's table, perhaps on some occasion when some of the members were absent attending to Parliamentary or other duties. He (the speaker) hoped that this objection, of having no guiding principle in selecting tho three names, would be the wreck of the present system. It was now proposed to select five names instead of three, but he thought this proposal waß just as bad as the other. Eighty Committees had protested against the prevailing sy6tem of sending only three names down to committees, and there was littlo doubt that if an election to tho Board wore now going on the personnel of the Board would be somewhat changed on that issue He would advise committees that what the Institute were objecting to was not the sending down of throe names or five names, but that there was no defined principle of selection. What was proposed by the Committee was as follows :—" That the method recently adopto I by the Education Board in the selection of candidates' names is unsatisfactory, inasmuch as on several occasions it appears that the teachers so selected were not the most highlyqualified applicants for tho appointments." That could be proved if nocessary. He (tho speaker) had a gross case of injustice in his mind's eye, but did not feel called upon to mention names. The second resolution prepared by the Committee was as follows: "That it is undcsirablo that tho Board should adopt any arbitrary system of selecting names, such as is implied in fixing a definite number (three or five) for every appointment, irrespective altogether of the importance of the position or the number of qualified applicants." And in this the Committee thought they had struck tho keynote of what they should ask the Board to do. They now proposed to ask tho Board to send down not one nor two nor three names, but that they should adopt some principle of selection. What was the principle of selection to be ? It was proposed to ask the Board first to classify their schools, and after the schools were classified the Board should then proceed to fix a requisite classification for the various positions in the different classes of schools ; and if ever the Board appointed a man to a school they could see by knowing the classification whether a wrong had been done, and a man or a woman would know at the ou*set whether he or she had the necessary qualification for the appointment. If the Board would not agree to this, rather than have the present system for even a month longer it was proposed that they should revert to the old system, for the Board to fix a certain rank and say that all above that rank were eligible for a position, and all below that rank were not eligible. The Committee's third resolution, then, was as follows : "That, in order to provide a better system of promotion for teachers, and to secure the welfare of schools, the Board be requested to classify the schools under its control, and thereafter fix a requisite classification for the various positions in the different classes of schools; and until this classification be carried out, the Board revert to the system formerly adopted of selecting names according to rank. That the names of all candidates above a certain rank be sent to school committees, the rank in each case being determined according to the importance of the appointment." As to the fourth resolution, head-masters were primarily responsible for the efficiency of the schools, and so long as that was so it was irrational not to give them a voioe in the matter of appointing assistants. His fourth resolution was therefore in this form: —"That the Board should advise school committees to consult with the headmaster of the school in the appointment of assistant teachers, with the view of ascertaining his opinion on the qualifications of the candidates sent down by the Education Board." Ho Bhould like the Board to know that the members of the Institute wore earnest and unanimous in this matter, and would propose that the resolutions be sent to the Board. If that proved to be not sufficient, ho thought that a deputation should wait on the Board, and if that would not do the Institute should appeal to tho more popular bodies, tho school committees, to enablo them to carry out the reforms suggested. Mr White's remarks were received with the utmost cordiality, approbation being frequently expressed. Several members spoke to the resolutions, and they were carried unanimously. A deputation was then appointed to wait on the Board and present the resolutions.
COMPLIMENTARY. Votes of thanks to the ohairmau, the secretary, the Press, and those who had managed the affairs of the session were carried with acclamation, and The session was formally closed at 3.50 p.m,
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE., Issue 7950, 4 July 1889
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