TECHNICAL CLASSES ASSOCIATION.
The session of the Technical Classes Association was brought to a close last night. Mr A. Burt, president of the Association, was also present, as were a number of the teachers and the Committee. Mr G. M. Thomson (hon. secretary) said he had no formal report of the work of the session to give that night, bat he might just mention briefly what had been done. The classes were opened a day or two after the Ist of May, and with a little intermission—perhaps of a night or two—had been carried on throughout the whole of the last six months. They had taughtj • as’ they intended, seven different subjects in the Normal School, quite apart from the subject of carpentry, which was taken up Scott’s workshop. Mr Chapman .enrolled in the English class, which he taught, thirtyfive students. He regretted to say—not only in that, but in every other case—the attendance fell off very materially during the second quarter. In the Rev. Mr Fitchett’a Latin class twenty were enrolled, and one, he • understood, took the subject of Greek. Mr Fitchett, who volunteered his services for one hour, kindly gave two hours a week throughout the whole of the session, with the exception of a short time when he was in Sydney. During that time, owing to a misunderstanding, the class missed a night. He then secured, daring Mr Fitchett’s absence, the services of Mr Phillips, a student-of the University, who had considerable experience of training students, Mr Phillips carried on the work until Mr Fitchett came back, but the latter gentleman wrote him (the speaker) a letter stating that he regretted very much that, owing to his absence, his class had fallen away very materially—in fact the number who were present when he left had dwindled down to one-half by the time he came back. Mr Waddell’s class opened with a large attendance. He found that sixty-seven students were enrolled in his class. In Mr M‘Lean’s mathematical class twenty-six were enrolled, and in Mr Montgomery’s arithmetical class no less than sixty-nine. Mr Montgomery was quite unable to overtake the work of instructing a very large number of those who were enrolled in his class, and the services of Mr F. B. Allen were secured as assistant to Mr Montgomery for the first quarter. In his own class-chemistry—thirty-five pupils were enrolled. A great deal of enthusiasm was shown in this class at the beginning of the session, but as in every other case, part of that enthusiasm did not endure till the end. He was, however, quite sure that of those who remained with him he would hear in the future. They all did gopd work, and were very regular in their attendance. Mr Smith bad the most popular class of all in shorthand. He enrolled seventy-nine, students, and the Committee were under the necessity of asking Mr Park to give his assistance to Mr Smith throughout the session, and Mr Matthews also acted as assistant to Mr Smith. Mr Scott’s class of carpentry (wood and metal turning) was limited only by the necessities of his accommodation. His workshop was so small that be was obliged to divide the pupils into two classes, and again to divide them into two classes; so that he gave a great deal more time to the students than he bargained for at the beginning of his work. In fact, he doubled his time throughout the whole of the session. The class was necessarily to a great extent in the nature of an experiment, but he bad on more than one occasion gone to Mr Scott’s workshop, where he saw some excellent work. Mr Scott enrolled sixteen, but if he had had the accommodation be could have enrolled two or three times that number. W hen the Association was started the Committee were under the impression that they would do well if they enrolled and carried through the session 80 or 100 students; but as a matter of fast they'enrolled 278. Of that number, however, a very large percentage did not attentpregularly ; but over 50 per cent, worked very steadily right through.—(Applause.') He could not help thinking that this large attendance showed that the work had been appreciated, and also that there was plepty of room in Dunedin for an association like theirs to carry on such work as they had been doing. He went on to state that the Committee had under consideration the advisability of shortening the session to four months, and concluded by saying that a more detailed report than be had given would be submitted at the annual meeting. The President said all present’: would agree with him that they had every reason to be grateful for the way the classes had been attended throughout the session, and for the results that had been attained. He was sure that all the teachers had thrown the greatest enthusiasm into their work.— (Applause.) He felt that the students in after life would look back and kindly remember those teachers who had given up their evenings for the purpose of instructing them. The Committee had under consideration the matter of giving prizes this session, but they had resolved not to do so, as they..thought that the classes were not sufficiently advanced yet. They, however, thought it was due to those who had attended the classes regularly and paid strict attention to their duties that they should receive some recognition, and the Committee resolvedito have certificates printed. These would be given to those who were entitled to get them. The Committee had another matter under consideration, and that was with regard to examinations. They thought that they might fix the standard of their examinations so as to make them equal to matriculation, but they had decided not to do that until next year. They had, through Mr Thomson, been in communication with the South Kensington Science Department with, regard to the matter of examinations, and the result had been that the Education Board had taken the matter up, and - appointed Dr Hislop, the Hon. Thomas Dick, and Mr Jago to endeavor to obtain the certificates of the department for the Association classes. These certificates were Widely recognised and valued throughout the whole world. As regards the carpentry class they had been hampered a good deal for want of room, but they were looking forward to hari&g a workshop of their own—in fact they hoped to have a building of their own.—(Applause.) With regard to the length of the session, be had come to the conclusion that it would be more advantageous to have one session of four months than two quarters. There had been some talk about the fees being too high. But they, must not lose sight of the fees. They had no Government grants, and nothing but their own energy to carry on the work of the Association, and to do that they must have fees. But of course if they got sufficient funds to reduce them the Committee would only be too glad to do so. He learnt from the hon. treasurer that, after paying all expenses,, theirp was a, small balance to carry forward for next year.— (Applause.) The Rev. Rutherford Waddejj. said he had been exceedingly gratified by the attendance at his class and at the attention that was given, to the work. He was glad to hear that the nucleus of what he might call a working man’s college had been started, and he hoped that the Committee would make arrangements for a, class for the. instruction of working men.iu-tbe..history of trades unions, and in tbeir duties—political and social—as citizens of a free State. He was quite sure that a. class of that kind was much needed here, and that ,it would."do a vast amount of good.
The President forgot to mention that he received an apology for non-attendance from Di’ Stuart, who wrote stating that he had to attend the bazaar at the Garrison Hall. The Committee in fixing the fees had been gaided by the scale in the Working Men s College in Melbourne. Mr George Gray Russell had agreed to pay the fees of any 1 ids who were uuublo to do so, and who did good work at the classes. —(Loud applause.) Mr D. White spoke of the good work done by tho classes during the session, and referred in complimentary terms to the superintendent of the classes, Mr G. M. Thomson, for the valuable services he had rendered to tho Association, and also to the president, for tho great amount of work he had undertaken in connection with the Association, A number of certificates of attendance were then distributed amongst the classes, after which a hearty vote of thanks was, on tie motion of Mr Robin, accorded to Mr Thomson for his services to the Association.
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TECHNICAL CLASSES ASSOCIATION., Evening Star, Issue 8052, 31 October 1889