,—_+_ ; THROUGH 'LITE LOWER HOUSE. [From Ouk Parliamrntari- Rf.pokter.] WELLINCTON, October 20. The committal of the Education Bill was resumed soon after the House met last night. The first clause to come under consideration was 123, which dealt with special schools for blind, deaf, feeble-minded, and epileptic, children.—Mr Witty wanted to know if the schools for epileptic and feeble-minded were up to requirements, while Mr Anderson inquired whether any considerable progress had been made with the extension of accommodation at Otekaiko.—The Minister (Hon. J. Allen) said that there was sufficient provision for the blind at the Auckland institution. He had been considering the possibility of increasing the accommodation for defective females at Otekaike. Keplyjng to Mr Davey, the Minister stated that the only changes in the clause were machinery alterations. There were no material changes as compared with the present law. Provision was. also being made for the classification of backward children in public schools. Clauses 124 (providing for extended periods of instruction in certain cases), 125 (making it incumbent for -parents ami children to give notice to the Minister as to blind and other nfflicted children), and 126 (dealing with the inspection of orphanages) were passed practically without discussion. Clause 127 (dealing with the classification of inspectors of schools and centralisation) evoked some discussion.—Sir Walter Buchanan opposed the clause, remarking that he would have brought down an amendment had he thought there would be any chance of its being passed. The proposal, he thought, was contrary to the best interests of education throughout the Dominion.—Mr Hanait supported centralisation as far as the inspectors were concerned.--Mr Guthrie entered his protest against the appointment of inspectors being brought directly under the depart-ment.--Sir Walter Buchanan contended that the appointment of the inspectors by the department was going to have the effect of finally abolishing the education boards. (Hear" hear.) For some years past there had been a gradual but sure encroachment on the powers of the boards by the central department, and the tendency was to prevent good men from com-' ing forward on the boards. He hoped that even at the eleventh hour the Minister would see his way to alter the clause.— ilr Anderson, while supporting the clause, thought that the inspectors should not be permanently allocated to one district, as proposed by tho clause, but should be worked round the Dominion. Under the present, system the teachers did not get justice from the boards.—Mr Veitch said the Bill did not go far enouah. He thought the teachers should be all brought under the general Classification scheme.—■ Dr Newman favored central control of the inspectors, but pointed out that if they were responsible to the Public Service Commissioners and the Ministers a certain amount of friction would be created between them, and the education boards. His opinion was that now the Minister had gone so far in limiting the powers of the boards, he thought he might just as well go the length of abolishing them altogether. —The Minister protested that there was no intention and no desire to do away with the boards or to minimise the work done by them. If the clause were brought into operation, it would mean that the inspectors would be able to make absolutely unbiased reports to the boards. He would point out that at the present time the Pid'l.c Service Commissioner always appointed native school teachers on the recommendation of the department. Moreover, tho proposal would do away with the present overlapping of inspectors. The main, reason for the change was that if the inspectorate was under the control of the department it would mean that_ the department could set about the classification of the teachers. Although appointed bv the department, the inspectors would carry out exactly the same duties, as at present. Ai'ter the supper adjournment the debate was resumed. Mr 'Wilford said he hoped the Minister would take no notice of the Wellington Education Board, which was not a reflex of -public opinion of Wellington, and never would be until it was elected on a different franchise. If the board had its way the Bill would never go through at all. He read a manifesto moved by the board on September 22, 1914, the first clause of which expressed the opinion that the present system, while requiring a few amendments,' was working satisfactorily, but in respect to staffs and salaries some improvement should be made this - session. The board, he said, had opposed ncarly all the clauses, and was "one of the mo:-t stick-in-the-mud boards in New Zealand.""—Sir Walter Buchanan defended the board, referring to the good work done in the interest of education by its late chairman.—After considerable discussion Mr Ell moved an amendment to clause 127 to provide th.it the inspectors be not appointed, by the Public Service Commissioner, but by the .Minister of Education. This was rejected on division by 24 to 19. and the clause passed on the voices. Some objection was taken to clause IM, which provides I hat if any parent or guardian neglects to provide medical attendance for a child who has been certified bv the medical superintendent, he shall be" thereby guilty of cruelty. Under such provision." it was pointed out,, such a parent would be liable to two years' imprisonment, and it was urged that provision should be made for such a child at the public hospital.—The Minister said he considered the clause to be very valuable in the interests of the children. If was aimed against the •■neglectful' parent. The hospitals were already open to such children, and if parent.-* neglected to send their children to the hospital for treatment* thev ought to come under the law.—Mr Ell' thought they ought to be unite sure that children had free acre—to the necessary medical attendance.--Hon. J. Allen : So they have in tho ho?--pitais. to an inordinately lung discussion, member* of the Cabinet being conspicuous by their absence from the Treasury bench. *. The main point made was thai no hard-
ship should be put on parents in the backblocks, and that no parent should be penalised on account of his inability to provide the necessary medical attention for his child.—The clause passed after lengthy debate without material alteration. In clause 132 Mr Wilford raised an objection to the proposal that the Public Service Commissioner shall be responsible for the appointment of the director of physical education and other like officials. An amendment was negatived by 27 votes ti> 15, and Mr Wilford then made the move, in favor of his point that the appointment of the director of physical education should be retained by the Minister. The Hon. J. Allen pointed out jthat this was already assured. by clause 4, and the clause was agreed to on the voices. .Several other machinery amendments were agreed to with-Hit discussion. The four machinery schedules were aorced to with slight alteration. The fifth schedule dealt with salaries. On the motion of the Minister the minimum salary was raised from £IOO to £llO, and £2O was added for married male assistants. When tho sixth schedule was reached Br Newman voiced a complaint that women teachers are not paid as high salaries as the male teachers for equal work. Tho Minister said that in all cases in which a woman occupied .the same position as a man would otherwise occupy she uas paid the fame salary. The point made was that teachers of separate schools for boys were paid a higher salary than was paid women teachers of separate girl schools. The department did not encourage those schools; they ought to be mixed schools, and tha department did not think it was possible for the claims of the women teachers in this respect to be given effect to.—Several members urged that the lower-paid teachers were not receiving so much benefit from the rise in salaries as the higher-paid teachers.—The Minister was understood to say that ho had given full consideration to all grades, and that no one will receive any less salary than he now does. On the third reading Mr Atmore pointed out that it was largely upon the recommendation of the Mackenzie Government that, the Bill was brought down. The Bill was read a third time and passed. The House rose at 1 a.m.
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EDUCATION BILL, Evening Star, Issue 15628, 20 October 1914