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Among the honors that have been, conferred by our Kin«- upon loyal and faithful public servant* not one- has been iporo honestly earned or mere thoroughly deserved that the CM.a. that has tome- to Mr 0. Hoi: ben, Inspector-tieneral of Schools for the Dominion. For 16 years Mr hns labored incrw-antly to further the causa of educational progress in Xew Zealand. Often he has met with persistent and bitter opposition. In r-pite of all discouragement, however, lie held to his purpose- until to-d.iv, larpely owing to his efforts, this Dominion can' boast of having one of the. most complete systems of Xationnl Education in tho work!.

Educationist's Fine Record.

In 1899, when Mr Hogben became In-spector-General of S'.-liools, In found our education system a thing of shreds and patches. Each of the 13 education districts had its own scale of salaries for teachers and its own seals of staffing. The. result was tho existence of absurd anomalies and inconsistencies, and consequent dissatisfaction throughout the whole service. Ait agitation in favor ,r,f a (.; ( ,i. onial Scale of Salaries, slatted in Ota-go by Mr William Davidson, was taken up with zest By Cue new Inspector-Genera!. In 1901 a lioyal Commission on Teachers' Salaries was set up by the late. Mr Seddon. 'J'he outcome- of the report of this Commission was the passage of a. Bill providing for a colonial seal?; of staffs and .salaries. Even this desirable reform met with considerable opposition, and had it not been for the splendid efforts and the great influence of Mr Hogben our parochial system might have continued for many years. Important as was this reform, it was but the beginning of a movement to nationalise and improve our whole scheme of education from the primary school to the university.

Cramming for percentage of passes, individual examination of individual pupils in iiKHvJuiiaUnbjects, and ;i .ast-iron syllabus were among the ny>st patent evils that required attention, and. it, was not long befory Mr Hogben set about remedying these evil*. Freedom of Classification'was granted to teachers. This allowed for the exercise of the individuality of the teacher, and soon brought about improved methods of teaching and .examination. Cramming and percentage-grinding, although, we fear, not yet quite things of the- past, especially in our secondary schools, have been reduced to a minimum, and teachers and inspectors, instead of being mere machines, may now carry on their work upon scientific lines. Teaching, in fact, has been made a profession. It M-as, perhaps, on the introduction of a revised syllabus that Mr Uogben had the fight of his life. His proposals met with widespread and very bitter opposition. However, with his characteristic determination, he kept straight ahead, until to-day his proposals, slightly modified it may be, are accepted by those formerly most bitterly opposed to them, and the present primary ■school syllabus in Xew Zealand is regarded by those best qualified to judge—teachers and inspectors—as the best they have ever had. Having secured "Freedom of Classification" and an improved syllabus, .Mr Hogben set his mind on a-n increase of salaries for teachers. Again and again since 1899 increases have, been granted, until, by the Bill that came into operation yesterday, teachers in the primary schools of New Zealand onjoy salaries as liberal as, if not more liberal than, those paid in any othsr part of the British Empire. This will certainly result in the State securing for the teaching service the best class of boys and girls in the community, and, together with [he more liberal teaching staff gradually coming into operation, will tend to make the march along the road of educational progress still more rapid. But perhaps the greatest boon conferred upon teachers during Mr Hogben's term oC offvee was the establishment of a teachers' superannuation fund. This came into operation on Ist January, 1906. Prior to that date no provision was made for old age and infirmity, and since teachers' salaries did not enable them to mako provision for retirement, many men and women were obliged to continue at work after . they' had

reached the age when, in the interests of the children, they should cease active work. Superannuation has changed all this, a.i\<l i\ow te&ekevs majf wovk without I worry, knowing that, if medically unfit, or upon reaching .the retiring age, their [ future is provided for. '.Again we say, j without the slightest fear of contradie- | tion, that to Mr Hogben the bringing into effect of this reform is largely due. No j reference to primary education would be ! complete without our drawing attention to the improved provision for the training of teachers. In 1899 only two training colleges—Christchurcl; and Dunedin—were in operation, and these were very poorly equipped- Xovr we have one at each of the four large centres, turning out an aggregate of over 200 well-educated and trained teachers annually. All these colleges are affiliated with the local university colleges. If space permitted we should have liked to refer to the great extension of technical education, the wonderful boon of free secondary education, the practically free university education, the provision for physical education and medical inspection of school children, the introduction of a rural course in our district high schools, and the very excellent system of industrial schools —all. of which reforms have been introduced or perfected during the 16 years Mr Hogben has held the position of Inspector-General of Schools for New Zealand. It is not possible, however, hi so brief a reference as - we can make on this occasion to the great work done by a worthy servant of the State to deal exhaustively with such a variety of subjects. We join with Mr Hogben's many friends in congratulating him vorj* heartily upon the well-earned honor his King has been pleased to bestow on him, and trust that he may be spared for many years to enjoy the retirement and rest he so richly deserves.

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Bibliographic details

Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 15690, 2 January 1915

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982

Evening Star Evening Star, Issue 15690, 2 January 1915

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