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The Auckland Education Board propose to give special attention to backward children. The matter was brought before the board yesterday by the chief inspector (Mr K. K- MulganJ, who stated that the regulation provided for a model school, consisting of a. class of backward children of school age, with, not more than 40 children on the roll. Tins ho regarded aa a very essential addition to permanent types of model schools, as in many schools there were backward children who required special attention, lie referred not so much to pupils who owed their want of progress to taulty teaching or lac!: of opportunity, but. rather to those whoso general intelligence and aptitude for acquiring knowledge, though not sufficiently defective to warrant their enrolment in the special schools already provided, were distinctly below those of the normal child. Such children were a. source of much anxiety to teachers and a fruitful cause of weakness iu school progress. Mr Mulgan’s suggestions were adopted, and he was authorised during his forthcoming visit to England to secure a suitable teacher. It is hoped to begin the wgrk early next year, - A-:. "1

The Senate of tlio Xew Zealand University nre a<*ain ;n annual &esjjfniand eion ’ WiLh rlva {ovevish University. excitement awakened and sustained by the great war., it cannot be expected that the usual interest will attend the proceedings of that august body. This Parliament of Higher Education will no doubt foci that the present is no time for initiating new policies or venturing upon untried paths, Its colleges this year will wear a more or loss forlorn appearance, arising from the departure of a largo number of Undents with the Expeditionary Forces. As with the Parliament of the Stale, wo anticipate there will ho much marking of time as far as concerns legislative activity. Notwithstanding the absence of the elements which make for a lively engagement of the jmblic attention, the opening address of Sir Robert Stout, the Clumoellor, will repay the moat careful perusal. The Chancellor is never dull, and is always informative. Usually the controversial spirit runs through his deliverances, revealing the fact that the fighting politician has not yet been overcome by the dignified serenity of the judicial bench or stifled by the placid atmosphere of halls of learning. There is not as much scope; this year as usual for tiro display of that spirit, but Sir Robert manages to find opportunity for delivering ins customary blow on the devoted heads of the professors of Victoria College. Tho occasion for lids we shall deal with subsequently. Meanwhile we would refer to tiro changes in the constitution of the University and til© improvement in tho finances brought about by amending legislation and the good offices of tho Government. The changes «aro clearly outlined in tho Chancellor’s address. Ry tho New Zealand University Amendment Act, 1914, a- new court in the University is to be established called a Board of Studies. This board is to consist of representatives from the Professorial Boards of the, four colleges. Its business is, as section 12 of tho Act provides, “to make recommendations to tho “Senate as to the- appointment of examiners, and as to degrees, diplomas.

“scholarships, prizes, courses of study, “ and examinations." In short, it is to supervise that part of the University's work which relates to the managemi’iit, teaching, and testing of the students. Despite the disapproval of Sir Robert to tho erection of another board, with the additional expense it entails, we aro quito satisfied it will justify its existence. The Board of Studies will bo a- means, wo trust, of harmonising the courses of studios at the different colleges. At tho present time it is well known that several matters relating to the schools of Commerce and Law and other faculties require such attention as only n conference of teachers from the four centres can deal with. The Board of Studies provides for an annual conference. We anticipate, also, that such a board will gradually mitigate the evils incident to the present system of examination. After all. the 2 H ‘°f cssars constitute the natural body for dealing with questions relating.-to .study. They have to dS the teaching, and they are in that constant touch with the students which alone qualifies for a. true uudc-istanding of their needs. It is to he observed that the powers of the board do not go beyond recommendation. Nothing that they can do is binding without the assent; of the Senate. There is consequently no surrender of the government of she. University in any point to the teachers. Another important constitutional change introduced into our educational system ts provided for by the Education Act .of Inst year. A general Council of Education is to bo set up. The functions of this council are to report to the Minister of Education—

(a) Upon methods nr developments in national education which, in its opinion, it is desirable to introduce into New Zealand :

(hj) Upon, any matters concerning tho provision of facilities for education in New Zealand, nr in any district thereof, and upon the co-ordination of tho work carried on by the various bodies controlling education ; (<•> Upon any other matters in connection with education referred to it by the .Minister.

To this council the Senate of the University is entitled, to appoint one out of the seventeen members. Such appointment must be made at tho present session, it is not for us to advise, the Senate upon this matter, but we are satisfied that the election of the Chancellor to the new council would meet with) geneva] satisfaction. In the first place. Sir Robert Stout's position as Chancellor entitles him to the new post. Rut it is not upon this qualification we would dwell, but. rather upon the personal qualifications of Sir Robert. His association with education in New Zealand has probably been closer and longer than that of any other man in tho Dominion. From the time he taught, a school in Otago up to the, present, his interest in education has never flagged. There is no part of our system which lie does not understand, none, in the administration of which he has not. had something to do. From tho low station of a teacher of a small school to the high station of a Minister of the. Crown controlling education generally and tho dignified station of Chancellor of the University, he has passed with an ever-increasing zeal in the cause- of learning. His ripe wisdom, his varied experience, his youthful enthusiasm, his sensibility to the highest moral principles all combine to point out Sir Robert Stout as one man who certainly cannot bo omitted from tho membership of tho general council. That part- of the Chancellor's address which refers to the improvement in the financial condition of fhe University is pleasant reading indeed. Otago University" Ls to lie, un longer dependent upon precarious annual grants. By statute she now gets permanent further aid to the amount of £5,000 a year. In addition, from the National Endowment Fund sho will receive approximately £1,400 a year. Furthermore, she will probably participate in an annual income of about £2,0C0 from the same endowment fund, which will be apportioned by the Mew Zealand University among the various colleges to assist them in establishing chairs and for oilier kindred purposes. With’ this extra provision our local University Council ought soon lo be in a. position to establish chairs in Modern Languages and History. The present European conflict has emphasised the importance of both of these subjects. It is gratifying to find our University relieved from the necessity of annually soliciting the favored the Government. Its grant cannot now be cut. down at the will of an impecunious .Minister, but only by the more formal and .difficult method of an Act of Parliament.

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Bibliographic details

Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 15707, 22 January 1915

Word Count
1,303

Evening Star Evening Star, Issue 15707, 22 January 1915

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