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BIBLE SCHOOLS, Issue 15638, 31 October 1914
EDUCATION’ COMMITTEE'S REPORT. A REFERENDUM DISAPPROVED. IPeh TJxnrip Prfw ; Association.] WELEINOTON. October 30. The report of the Erluc.ition Committee on the petition of the Rev. Professor Hewitson objection to certain provisions embodied in the Religious Instruction in Schools Referendum Bill, presented to the House this afternoon, was in the following terms : The committee have heard evidence on the subject matter of these petitions, much latitude being allowed witnesses in the desire to get all the facts, and thev are of opinion that the New Zealand State system of free, secular, and compulsory education under which our children have received incalculable benefits, and under which, after 37 years’ experience, our people, the immense majority of whom have passed through our schools, compare most favorably morally, socially, and religiously" with the people of any other part of'the world, should he maintained. Hie committee are fully alive to the value of Fdblic.il and religious instruction, and are of opinion that full opportunity should be given for the adoption of a voluntary system such as that known as the Nelson system in which the teaching is imparted outside the statutory school hours, under which the State exercises no authority in religious | matters, and under which there is no ' compulsion or violation of the rights of conscience. Reporting on the petition of August Fromont and others praying that the Religious Instruction in Schools Referendum Bill be not passed, the Education Committee state;— The, committee, are of opinion that the, proposals in the Religious Instruction in Schools Referendum Bill, introduced this session by the Hon. James Allen, should not lie allowed to become law. Mr Rur-scil spoke in warm appreciation of the decision of the committee, supporting as it did the national system of education. The Minister (Hon. J. Allen) said he could not accept the suggestion that the. Nelson svstem was the most suitable moans of giving our children religious instruction in schools. Air Guthrie said ho wished it to be known that the report was not unanimous. He doubted tho wisdom of recommending the Nelson system as the future policy of the Dominion. Mr liine regretted that the principle of the referendum had not been adopted. Tho people would yet have to settle this question. Mr Isitl said Mr Hino evidently did not understand the position. His objection to the Bihle-in-Schools movement was that they wanted a narrow referendum. They would not admit of any alternative system being introduced into the referendum, but insisted upon the people accepting their system or none, Mr Dickson moved that the report be referred back to the committee. Mr Atraore twitted the Government with vacillation on the subject, and said thev ought' to have given the House a lead, which they had lamentably failed to do.
Mr Hindmarsh also commended the report of the committee. Mr Dickson's amendment was lost by 46 voles to 17. [From Our Parliamentary Reporter.] WELLINGTON, October 31. It appears from the report of the proceedings of the Education Committee on the Biblo-in-Schools question that the members were unanimous in recording their opinion that the present system should be maintained. As to the Referendum Bill, while differences of opinion existed as to the form of the issues to be submitted to the people, a majority of the committee was against a referendum of any kind on the subject.
BIBLE SCHOOLS, Issue 15638, 31 October 1914
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