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The Evening Star SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, 1915.

"TftK more citizens we can get to study f ''the highest learning; the 1 A Worthy *■ better for our com- ] Cause. '• nlnnity." S't'.ck were the 1 concluding words of Sir 1 Robert Stout's reference to the activities 1 of the AVcrkers" Educational Association t when addressing the Univeisity Senate. I Tbis association has be-sn in existence for - 11 years. Its birth was in England, and > tho ideal winch conceived it wa* that of 1 university education f.jr th-c- masses. It 1 seeks to break the monopoly of university I training enjoyed by Urn learned profe.s- < sions.. lis aim hj to tiring the chums of t literature, the power of science, the- joy of i mental development to tho great body 1 | of citizen*. This is an eminently deserv- i : ing object, and «■? are pleased to note that 1 ; tho Chancellor of the New Zealand Uni- i i vcrsity spoke of the association approv- ■ ingly, and expressed the hope, that its ' ; operations in New Zealand might bo as- ■ fisted by the. funds available Tinder tbe ', : University Amendment Act of last year. The Workers' Kducational Association ; deserves more than a passing notice, and I tho fact that our City is t.T bo favored I with tin- visit of two of its distingnished i members in a i*«w weeks' time mak™ tljo 'present an opportune time for pxaminitii; i the association in somo detail. To b?,gin with, it enjoys a membership of 11,430 ■ men and women. Affiliated with it aje • 2.555 societies, and it has in active operation 179 branches Thri Association is designed to link the universities to the trade- ; unions and en-operative societies, and a .list of the unions that send representative* ! to the council of the association indicate* : the achievement already of a, wonderful I measure of success. We- find in the lust the Amalgamated Sx-eiety of Engineers, the Post and Telegraph Clerks-' Association, the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives, and a multitude of others. Plainly, th-e association -has secured a hold upon the sympathies and attention of the worker* of Great Britain. But this it eotdd not secure unless it had *»lid benefits to besiow. A glanoe through the last manual a;e.port of the

abundant evidence of its beneficent activities. The means of education is what is called the tutorial claps. These classes are arranged in the villages and towns of the Ur.ited Kingdom, .and conducted by university teachers or other specially qualified men. They are,- of course, held in the evenings, and the lectures are. specially adapted to the needs of people* who want knowledge, not. to attain degress, but only that it may enrich their lives and make thorn more skilful in their occupation?. All the dead learning that e.till oppresses university institutions is oast aside. In 1?03 there were only two classes with 60 students in all; in 1914 there were 145 classes, with 3,345 students. The progress would have been still greater but for the shortage of money. A few examples will indicate the work oi these classes. In the village of Ascot a class in Industrial History is being conducted .; in Claverdon a. class in Natural Science; in Peppard, Botany is being studied ; in Ajskrigg, English Eitnrature; in Bainbridge, Economics; in South Ciloucestershiro a coiu-se of lectures on social problems is being delivered ; in Woodborough the biographies of famous people of the 19th century are being studied. Thoseare a few instances of the way in which the Educational Afesodat-io-n is extending its beneficent influence to rural towns. Special attention is paid to the needs of women. .Seventy-three, classes for women were running last year, the. c-nhjects dealt with rising History, Citizenship, Literature, Biography, Psychology, Child Study. Nature Study, Health and Home .Management, etc. A study circle in Birniin.sha.ni. dealing with industrial questions, has h?en of speeiai interest fr:jrn the fact, that the members were ail drawn from various women's organisations in the district, and are going to aso the knowledge they have acquired by leading similar circles in their own organisations. Is it to be wondered at that many trade unions are supporting the. association with money, and that 11 universities and university colleges are actively engaged in furthering the movement. In this 11 are the great Universities of Oxford. Cambridge, and London. Already many students, trained in the tutorial classes, have shown such remarkable pro fteiency that they are being sent out a.s accredited teachers of these classes, in I Birmingham alone last year 1.5C0 kctuvcp i werfl given., and of these 1,000 were de- , livered by old students of the tutorial j classes. Quite, a wave of enthusiasm is following in the wake of the association's activities. Here is a democratic movemerit which goes to the. root of reform. It seeks to uplift the character and endow the mind of the multitude. It sends out its missionaries of education to the places where fixed institutions of higher learning are not to be found. It is a peripatetic university. It is not satisfied that a democracy is educated when it is acquainted with the three R's. It realises that knowledge is something more than information : it is a mental stimulant, a character-builder, a power-giver. '1 his great movement for the democratization of higher education has in it, too. the promise of lessening the prominence of class distinctions and conducing to a real equality. Hie annual report itself says : The. indirect influence of the association has been, perhaps, eveir more important than its practical activities. It has given a new meaning to the demand for a democratic system of higher education by showing 'that what it involves is not merely an extension of opportunities for "professional advancement through the multiplication of scholarships, indispensablo though that is. but the establishment of a system of higher education which is accessible to all. whatever their occupation, who care to make use of it. not merely the career open to such talent as can be. tested by competitive examination, but, the universal provision of educational facilities. It has offered a practical demonstration of the fact that) there is a widespread demand for humane education among the workers, both men and women. It, has. in short, helped to make articulate those who for the most part had previously been silent as to their educational* aspirations. Universities and education authorities have learned from it that what the worker demands is not merely technical instruction, but the opportunities for spiritual refreshment which enable him to bo a. better man and a better citizen, and that they cannot discharge, their own educational responsibilities unless they are in constant consultation with the representatives of those for whom it is their duty to provide education. Our City will be pleased to welcome the emissaries of this greatly beneficent association.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150123.2.34

Bibliographic details

The Evening Star SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, 1915., Issue 15708, 23 January 1915

Word Count
1,134

The Evening Star SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, 1915. Issue 15708, 23 January 1915

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