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STATE EDUCATION.

fSecond Series. 1

No. I. From official documents kindly placed at my disposal by the courtesy of the Minister of Education, Canada, supplemented by other sources of information, I am enabled to afford your readers some account of the State school system—primary and secondary—as well as of the colleges, in the Dominion. It may, perhaps, be as well to state, in way of preface, that these statistics refer only to the two provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The total number of pupils in these two provinces —formerly termed Upper and Lower Canada —in attendance at State schools and private schools in the year 1885 amounted to 968,193, out of a total population for these two provinces, which together compose a territory more than three times the size of New Zealand, of three millions and a-half. The average attendance was 555,404. In the Province of Quebec, by far the larger proportion of whose inhabitants are French, there were in 1885 219,403 pupils of the Roman Catholic faith, 37,481 of the Protestant (in the State schools and private schools all put together); in the elementary schools, 14,384 Roman Catholic pupils, 30,467 Protestant. Of the clerical teachers in this piovince 868 were Roman Catholic (members of the various religious orders of either sex); eight only were Protestant. Of lay certificated teachers 256 were Roman Catholic, 105 Protestant. In the Province of Quebec, the proportion of Roman Catholic to Protestant schools in the above year 1885 was 4 to 1. The Laud University of Quebec is purely Roman Catholic and French. In 1885, the university comprehended eighty professors, with 575 students in the faculties of divinity, arts, law, and medicine respectively. The building contains a number of capacious lecture rooms, and a library of 100,000 volumes. In the City of Montreal, with a population in 1885 of 250,000, the M'Gill University, so named from the founder, to whom a grant in land and money amounting to 120,000d0l was originally made, has at the present time endowments reaching to 791,000d01, chiefly its own property; but also comprising small grants from the Provincial Government, as well as from the General Government of Ottawa. The total expenditure on education in both the provinces of Ontario and Quebec was during the year 1885 9,310,745d01, or about L 1,862,159 sterling. This sum does not include the cost of erecting and maintaining school buildings. The value of education reserves, buildings, and furniture, etc., is assessed at 25,000,000d01, or L 5,000,000 sterling. In the province of Quebec the total expenditure in 1885 was 3,162,416d01, of which sum only 353,677d0l was granted by Government.

It is with the Province of Ontario exclusively that I shall now proceed to deal, stating, first, that each province is, as regards educational expenditure and management, under its own separate administration. The education report for Ontario for the year 1887 is a voluminous and elaborate document, bristling with columns of statistics. The volume, neatly bound in cloth, consists of 334 closely-printed pages. This report, addressed to the Hon. Sir Alex. Campbell, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and pigned by George W. Ross, Minister of Education, and dated Toronto, January, 1888, contains truly a mass of well-arranged and very interesting information. It appears from article I.—' School Population and Attendance'—that in the year 1876 the total number of pupils registered in the public schools of Ontario was 490,537 out of a total school population—i.e., of children between five and sixteen years of age—reaching 502,250. Of this number on the registers 873 pupils were over twenty-one years. Ten years afterwards (in 188G) the latest returns with which I have been presented when the school age had been raised to comprehend pupils between five and twenty-one years, the school population was 601,204 ; numbers on the register, 487,490 only, of whom 1,273 were under five years, 455.624 between five and twenty-one, 599 over twenty-one years. Under 'Attendance' (p. xiii.) it is stated that in 1876, out of 490,537 on the register, 46,474 attended school less than twentydays, 91,612 twenty to fifty days, 128,455 fifty-one to 100 days, 108,122 101 to 150 days, 94,953 151 to 200 days, 20,921 201 days to whole year. Total average attendance, 212,483; percentage of average attendance to total number attending school, 43! In the year 1886 these returns were respectively: —Up to twenty days, 43,620; fifty days, 76,850 ; 100 days, 117,572 ; 150 days, 106,200 ; 200 days, 128,356; whole year, 14,918. Average attendance, 239,044; percentage, 49 only ! In 1877 the average was 44 per cent. ; 1878, 40 per .cent.; 1879, 45 per cent. ; 1880, 45 per cent, j 1881, 45 per cent.; 1882, 45 per cent. ; 1883, 46 per cent.; 1884, 48 per cent.; 1885,4S per cent.; 1886,49 per cent. On these—truly gratifying returns of average attendance the Minister of Education calmly observes: " From the preceding table it will be seen that there is some improvement in the attendance of pupils. I am glad that it is so. One of the greatest difficulties the teacher has to encounter is irregularity," I quite agree with him so far at any rate as Ontario is concerned. I may add that the legal number of days in the entire school year reach the magnificent figure of exactly 220! Unless lam greatly mistaken, most of the country districts of Ontario are fairly well provided with roads and railways, to say nothing of the unrivalled system of waterways by lake, river, and canal. In these rural districts, we are informed (p. 14), the average is 45 per cent, of the registered attendance; in towns, 59 percent.; in cities, 63 per cent. The highest rural average is 53 per cent. ; the highest town average, 68 per cent.; the highest city average—that of the large and important City cf Hamilton—is just 69 ! The lowest rural is 31 j'town, 4§ ; Ottawa—the capital of the Dominion—just 56. The average in the separate—i.e., voluntary—schools in Ontario is 55 percent., as against 49per cent, in ths State schools. The Minister may well remark on this subject: " There is very' little £o fear from so-called overpressure in the public schools." But how about overpressure on the taxpayer's pocket with the enormous expenditure on education ? It would be interesting to learn what he has to remark on this point. Ccivis.

(fo be continued,)

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891012.2.37.8

Bibliographic details

STATE EDUCATION., Issue 8036, 12 October 1889, Supplement

Word Count
1,043

STATE EDUCATION. Issue 8036, 12 October 1889, Supplement

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