The adjourned meeting of the Education Board was held to-day, when there were, present Messrs I). Borrie (chairman), H. Clark, W. Snow, KB. "Fraser, J.: M'Rae Gallaway, J. F. M.' Fraser, A. M'Kerrow, and tbe'Hon. J. Mactiregor. - DEPUTATIONS. The Rev. Mr Somerville- and Mr J. Wilson waited upon the Board as a deputation from the Waihola School Committee to ask that the services of Miss Wall be retained- as-assistant teacher at the school. They pointed out that though the attendance had fallen to forty the average was thirty-eight, and there was also a prospeot of the attendance b?ing increased by at least ten. The Committee considered it_ would be a great blow to the school to withdraw Miss Wall, as at the examination just over not one of her pnpils failed. She was a good teacher and a splendid" disciplinarian, and the Committeo asked the indulgience of the Board until the end of the year, by which time they would b9 able to see what could be done in the way of bringing up the The Board decided to retain the services of the assistant teacher until the end of the ! year. A; deputation from the High street School Committee, consisting of Messrs Hosking (chairman), Fa>-nie, Gilmour, and Stewart, waited on the Board to urgo their request that the piece of land adjoining the school be purchased for the purpose of increasing the playground.—Mr Hosking said that if the ..present opportunity of acquiring the land was neglected it would be a serious disadvantage to the sohool in the future. The area of the school grounds was at present about half an acre, and that included the site of the janitor's residence. At the present time the children were compelled to play in Alva street and High street, where the tram ran, and it was mainly to obviate this that the Committee desired to have the school ground enlarged. When first the site was chosen for the echool it was held out that the Town Belt would form an attractive playground, but there was a very high bank at the ba?k of tho school, and when the children went on to the Belt to play they were out of the master's sight, and consequently beyond control. The price for which the extra piece of land could be purchased was reasonable, and by selling the building which was on it and disposing of the old site - in William street, which at present was productive of no revenue, a sum would be realised which would go a long way towards the purchase of the proposed additional area. —The other members of the deputation supported the remarks of Mr Hosking.—After a discussion, the Board resolved "That they could not see their way to comply with the request." APPOINTMENTS. ■ I The following appointments were con- ! firmed:—Janet P. Grigor, head-teacher, i Wangaloa vice Dunlop, promoted ; Margaret Kay, head-teacher, Inch Va!l >y, vice Dippie, promoted. CiREEX ISLA.KD. The Chairman of tho Green Island School Committee wrote with reference to the statement that had been made by members of the recent deputation to the effect that the ten acres of school reserve at Green Island which the Board had sold' had, iu the first instance, cost the Board nothing. The Committee expressed regret, and apologise for making a statement whioh they now found was contrary to fact.—Mr Gallaway said that the statement being made was a pure mistake. (Members : "Oh !")—The letter was received.
SCHOLARSHIP REGULATIONS. . The Secretary of the Otago Educational Institute wrote informing the Board that a deputation, consisting of Messrs Moore, White, Jeffery, Davidson, and Eudey, had been appointed to confer with the Board's inspectors and the heads of the high schools in terms of the Board's resolution of June last with regard to the drawing up of new regulations, if necessary, for scholarships.— The seoretary was instructed to arrange for a conference at as early a date as possible. ACCOUNTS. Accounts amounting to £6,973 17s IOJ were passed for payment. INSPECTORS' REPORTS. The Secretary of the Educational Institute wrote forwarding-the. following resolution passed at their last - meeting—" That the Education Board be respectfully asked to draw the attention of head-masters to the fact that inspectors' reports on individual members of their staffs forwarded to them are considered as strictly confidential." la forwarding the resolution, he was requested .to state that instances hud ■coma to the knowledge of the Institute where these reports had hot been' so treated, but had been handed to the school com. mittees for perusal and discussion.—After a lengthy discussion, during which four motions were proposed but lapsed for want of seconders, it was resolved, oh the motion of Mr Gallaway, and seconded by Mr M'Kerrow—" That the letter of the Elucatioual Institute be referred to a committee consisting of Messrs P. B. Fraser, J. "MacGregor, and the chairman, to report upun the question raised therein and the whole question of inspectors' reports." WOODLAND, Several letters were read from settlers in the Woodland district objecting to the sites whioh had been seleoted for the erection of schools in that district.—After a lengthy and involved discussion it was resolved, on the motion of Mr J. F. M. Fraser, seconded by Mr M'Kerrow *-•' That the whole question of selection of sites for erection'of sohoole in the Woodland distriot be referred. to a committee consisting of the chairman and Messrs H. Clark, P. B. Frasar, Snow, and the mover, with power to select sites and proceed with the immediate erection of such Bchools as they consider necessary without further reference to the Board." AN UNAUTHORISED READING BOOK.
The matter of a certain publication being Used as a reading book in the schools contrary to the regulations again came up for consideration.
Mr P. B. Fraseb said he had gone through the replies sent by the teachers in response ».o the circular sent out by the Board, and Sromthene he ascertained that the publication was used for leading purposes in Sixty-eight of the Board schooh, and some of these frequently used it also lor the sake of the arithmetic in it. Thirtythree other schools made no use of it a3 a reader, but used it for the arithmetic. So far a* he could make out there were 100 schools in Otago iii which the periodical Was used either as a reading or an arithmetic book. He thought that the sum of these replies ' justified the sending •out of the circulars. He was not moved by any personal animus to tho publication in question, but had been simply upholding the law, and hi 3 action had only heen in proportion to the opposition given. If the Board had forbidden the publication, «s a matter of course nothing more would have been heard about it. He would move. —•* That the information revealed by the returns be conveyed to the Minister of Education, and that the Bdard, in view of the fact 3 revealed, pass a resolution that teachers are not to me any unauthorised publications in tho. schools." Hc.knew that teachers were glad to grasp at any new reading matter for the schools, but that pointed to the necessity that existed for the introduction of approved supplementary flehool books.
The Hon. J. MacGregor seconded the motion pro forma. They were bound, to forward to the Minister the information obtained in response to the circular, but he ■objected altogether to the Utter part of the motion, and he hoped the Board would not go out of their way to do what was therein, proposed. The department had made regulations prescribing the school books, and if the Minister chose when he received the information to step in and take any action let him do so. He did not think that it was for the Board to go out of its way over the mattrr.
. Mr J. P. M. Fkasek: Suppose it was a Mormon text book. ', Mr P. B. Feaseb : Supposing At was the New Testament. I Mr MacGeegor : That would/be entirely illegal. Too much fuss had Wen made about this publication altogetheiCand it was simply ridiculous. He conßidenH the publication as being an acceptable relief to the drudgery to the Wding. in
our schools, and in Bpite of the regulations ha would not move a finger to prevent its use in the schools. The regulations were simply a curse to the system, and the Board were not at all bound to wait for the approval of the Mini&ter. As Mr Fraser had mentioned the subject of reading lesson?, he might mention that twice previously had committees at his (Mr MacGregor's) request been set up to go into that subject, bub no hing bad ever come of it. He hoped that a committee would again be set up, and in due time a change in the reading books bs effected. The money that was spent in the purchase of school books consequent on a change was far more than counterbalanced by the advantage derived by the children. Teachers had to hammer and hammer away at the same books year after year until they ware perfectly sick of them. The Board, as a Board, had never countenanced nor encouraged the use of this particular publication in the schools, and it seemed clear to him that the Minister was under a misapprehension in regard to that, and ho thought it should be made clear to the Minister that the Board, as a Board, had not in any way recognised the use of the publication in the schools. Individually members of the Board had recognised it. He wa3 one who had done it, and would continue to do 80.
Mr J. F. M. Fraser said that there wa3 a probability of the Board being led astray in this matter. He was sure that Mr P. B. Fraser«had no personal feeling about it at all, and only objected to tho publication being recognised as an authorised book to be used when ic was not so. For himself it csrtainly did seem absurd that they should allow a chance publisher to circulate a publication through the schools, and yet if it was the New Testament that was sought to be so introduced there would have been a howl from one end of the country to the other.—(Hear, hear.) He had seen the publication referred to, and as a paper he had no objection to it, but he did object to its being forced upon the Board. In regard to what Mr MacGregor had said about a change of books, he might eay that that meaut a heavy tax on many parents. It was all very well for them who, when they put their hands in their pockets for half-crown and did not find one, pnt their hands into a neighbor's pocket and got one from there.—(Laughter.) The altering of the schoolbooks was a very serious thing. He had no objection to the first part of Mr P. B. Fraser's motion, but he was opposed to the latter part, and hoped that the mover would see his way to delete that portion. Mr Gallaway thought that the Board were indebted to Mr P. B. Fraser for bringing the matter up. Mr P. B. Fraser, in replying, said that everything that had been said in favor of this publication being read iu the schools had beeu said a thousand times by the best writers in the world in support of the Bible being introduced into the public schools. The Hon. J. MacGregor : The Bible is expressly forbidden. , Mr P. B. Fraser : This is not allowed, and if it is not allowed it also is expressly forbidden.
The motion was then by consent divided and put in the following form :—" That the Minister of Education be informed that the publication is used for reading purposes in sixty-eight schools and for arithmetic purposes in thirty-three schools."—This was agreed to on the voices. Mr P. B Fraser then moved, and Mr J. F. M. Fraser seconded—" That teachers be informed that the Board cannot permit the reiding of an unauthorised publication in the schools." >
The Hon. J. MacGrhgoe moved as an amendment—" That the Minister of Education be requested to place the publication on the authorised list of school books.'"'—Mr Snow seconded.
Oa being put to the vote the amendment was lost, Messrs Borrio, Snow, and MacGregcr voting for it. The motion was then put, and wa3 also lost, only the mover and seconder supporting it. Mr Gallaway then moved—"That a committee be appointed to consider the question of school books and confei with the inspectors and report,"—This was seconded by Mr MacGregor, and agreed to unanimously.—The Committee was subsequently appointed as follows:—Tho chairman, and 'Messrs MacGregor, P. B. Fraser, and Gallaway. MISCELLANEOUS. It was decided to erect a school building at Clydevale Station at a cost to the Board not to exceed £BO. .The Board then went into committee.
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EDUCATION BOARD., Evening Star, Issue 10450, 21 October 1897