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AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE.

The last published report of the Auckland University College is before ns. The contents, albeit meagre and vague enough, afford a good deal of material for reflection to a thoughtful mind. The chairman of the Council, Sir G. M. O’Rorko, himself iu r )rms the Minister of Education that the college, “being still destitute of a building or site permanently appropriated, the lectures and other instruction continue to be given in premises which are not contiguous to each other, and arc defective.” Were we disposed to levity, we might bo tempted to criticise the peculiar phraseology of the learned chairman in the above paragraph ; but let it pass. As the immortal Weller the elder remarks; “Wot we like in this here style of writia’ is that there is no callin’names in it.” Had so heinous a sin been committed, indeed, we confess it might be pardoned under the severe provocation received. For what can be said in defence of the conduct of one Government after another in this matter ? Each Government in turn, with its Minister of Education anxious (so wo are assured) to promote higher education even more for the sake of the poor than the rich—the very words uttered by Sir Robert Stout in the above capacity a session or two ago only—yet, notwithstanding these reiterated assurances, Government after Government permitting so mournful a state of things to continue ? A college, and a university college too, with chss rooms (so we have heard) little better than hack kitchens ! Imagination fails adequately to conceive that galaxy of Northern lights, with a Posnctt as its bright particular star, conceding the lustre of its genius within the gloomy walls of so obscure a building ! ’Tia enough to make one exclaim with indignant Sir Toby, “ Wherefore are these things hid ? Wherefore hove these gifts a curtain before them ?” Can such things, indeed, be without our special wonder ? A college—a university college to boot—having as its chairman the hon. the Speaker, and numbering ns members of its Council a right reverend bishop, a gallant and hon. member of the Legislative Council, the Mayor of Auckland, and the chairman of the most costly Education Board in the colony, with the doughty Sir George Grey—to say nothing of rcarcely less potent champions—to back their demands, yet compelled to suffer, year after year, this deep humiliation ! Perhaps there might be found some malicious Malvolio to answer: “’Tis but fortune all is fortune!” on the principle that men are bound, under such afflicting circumstances, to be thankful for small mercies. May we venture to congratulate the chairman on telling us that “His Excellency the Governor is empowered to authorise the transfer to the Council of this college the section of land on which are the premises at present occupied by the Surveys and Land Departments in Auckland, so soon as those premises shall have been vacated. The construction of the new building required for Government departments in Auckland being now nearly completed, the vacating of the offices referred to will probably soon ensue.” Hero, evidently, “hope springs eternal in the breast ” of Sir Maurice. The numberof persons who have attended lectures in this college during the year 188S was, we are told, 100 surely a respectable, yet by no means excessive, proportion out of a total population, including Auckland city and suburban districts, not much under 70,000. When it is further considered that, for many years and at an enormous coat, a large number of this population have enjoyed the privileges of primary instruction, the proportion of 1 out of every 655 individuals availing themselves of the benefits of higher education is not the most encouraging. In the city of Manchester and its neighboring towns, with a dense mass of ignorance and pauperism to take into account, the corresponding proportion is approximately stated as 1 in 500. The numberof graduates of the University of New Zealand, having their names on the college books, was, on the 31st December, 1838, 25, including 9 ad eundem. On the | 31st December, 1886, the corresponding numbers were 19 and 8, and at the end of 1887 22 and 9 respectively. On these, as we are strongly of opinion far from creditable to a new country, especially ad eundem degrees, we hope to comment in a future article. Of these 180 who have j attended daring the above period lectures j in the college during the year, 3 were graduates, 48 undergraduates, 109 not matriculated, Of these the males were 87, and the females 73.

The total number of undergraduates whoso names are on the college register for the past year is 89— viz , 64 males and 25 females. Unless wo are mistaken in our interpretation of the bald and disjointed paragraphs in the report, out of the total number o! undergraduates two graduated during the year in the University of New Zealand, and these two in

' the lowest degree—B. A. only—while one student gained his M.A, degree, with first class honors. In the previous year only ■ two of the students succeeded in gaining (the B.A. degree. Are the distinguished professors—we say nothing of the Council I —satisfied with "this result ? If so, we shall be a good deal surprised. In 1 this, as in some other matters usually regarded as of consequence in these institutions, Auckland University College lags behind its less pretentious rival—the plain College of Canterbury. The notorious 1 fact that those students and others who are ) in want of volumes of the more advanced ! Latin and Greek classics—not to mention I other languages—may, as a rule, seek in vain for them on the shelves of booksellers in the two leading cities of the Northern Island is not without significance. To this statement we challenge contradiction. It is the demand in this, as in most other at tides, which creates the supply. It cannot be denied that it is to Christchurch and Dunedin —to Melbourne, and even London —that students of Cicero’s orations and of the annals of Tacitus of the history of Thucydides, and the plays of Sophocles—have almost invariably to apply. On one piece of information conveyed in a previous report we can conscientiously congratulate the Council the appointment of Mr J. C. Trevithick, formerly, wo understand, a draftsman in the Portsmouth Royal Naval Dockyard, and an admirable teacher of the art, to be instructor in drawing in the recently founded school of applied science. lu tins school, established by a resolution of the Council on July 13, 1887, the following excellent curriculum—provided it be effectively carried out—is published First year—Elementary physics, chemistry, drawing. Second year Mechanics, mathematics, geology, drawing. Third year— Engineering, advanced mathematics, surveying, applied mechanics, instruction in engineer’s office, architecture, principles of architecture, surveying, applied mechanics, instruction in architect’s office, mining, mine surveying, metallurgy, experience underground, surveying, advanced mathematics, astronomy, surveying, instruction in surveyor’s office. It is explained that during the first two years of this course all the students will do the same work. During the third year they will be subdivided, and their studies bo accompanied by the acquisition of practical experience. This measure, if faithfully carried out, is decidedly in the right direction. We fear, however, that, in common with so many of onr proceedings in Now Zealand, it lacks unity and simplicity; it is at once too multifarious and too complicated to work either smoothly or efficiently. What the Aucklanders fondly hope will develop into the establishment of a Chair of Musio is foreshadowed in the paragraph which announces the appointment of Herr Carl Schmidt as professor of music. This gentleman is unquestionably one of the ablest musicians in the colony, and is a composer of European fame. The report says:— “ The institution of the department of music is tentative, and the arrangements are, therefore, for the present temporary.” Lastly, under the head of receipts and expenditure, are to be noted the following among other items: Salaries, L 3.397 (too high for 160 pupils, to put it mildly); printing and advertising together, LBS 11s 9d (a tolerably stiff amount); common seal, LB6. On the receipts side the principal items are: A statutory grant of L 4,000 per annum, and income from endowment L 609, whilst the fixed deposit of L 2,000 earned LIOO by way of interest. We may remark, in conclusion, that Auckland, even less than Wellington, is furnished with the means of acquiring that sound preliminary education which is essential to real and substantial benefit from a subsequent attendance on the classes of a college—to render that attendance something at once warranting, by its practical advantages to the student, the consumption of time and energies; to the public at largo the heavy expenditure it can in these days so ill afford. The conclusions to be drawn on the entire question we must now leave to our readers to decide for themselves.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890903.2.34

Bibliographic details

AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE., Issue 8002, 3 September 1889

Word Count
1,476

AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE. Issue 8002, 3 September 1889

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