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EDUCATION.

The following report on the subject of the state of education in the province, from the pen of Mr. Godwin, the late Inspector of Schools, appeared in a Provincial Government Gazette which was published yesterday: — Napier, Dec. 31, 1866. Sie,— rlt is my duty, previous to departure from the province, to tender my resignation of the office of Government Inspector of Schools, and I will at the same time endeavour to lay before your Honor a brief preview of the condition of the several schools ; that have for the past few months been subject to my supervision, making particular allusion to those which were specially remarked upon in my former report. , The Roman Catholic Boys' School at Napier is now held in the room which has been recently erected, and is well lighted, more commodious, and in every respect better adapted to its uses than the -portion of the church hitherto made to serve the purpose. The school is still deficient in requisite appliances and materials, which if placed at the disposal of a good teacher, would conduce to ; the . greater utility and prosperity of the establishment. The boys passed an examination with less discreditable results than at my inspection, six. months ago, but are still far short of the standard which they may justly be expected to attain. Mr. Mulhern pursues the simultaneous Method of instruction, and is thus compelled to limit his personal tuition to a few of his pupils, and for the remainder to engage the aid of some of the most advanced boys as teachers, thereby necessarily entrusting authority into the hands of those altogether incapable of using it rightly. I called Mr. Mulhern's attention to the fact that this system, though excellent in model schools and under able administrative .. educationists, is defective in this instance, from the peculiar constitution and classification of the school. Upon a different plan the instruction might be rendered even less laborious and more self-reliant. Roman Catholic Girls' School. — The small attendance of girls, incidental to the inclemency of the weather, on the day fixed for my inspection (20th instant), precluded the possibility of my forming an opinion of very great accuracy of their general or comparative progress. As far as I was able to ascertain, however, both now and at a visit I paid to the school about two months before, I observed every sign of rapid improvement and careful training. The children- seem greatly attached to their instructresses, who with mild and tender treatment combine a firmness and authority which secure perfect order, obedience and regularity. Meanee Flat. — From the increased number of pupils, and the* improved style of their answers to my questions on the various subjects of examination, I am convinced that Mr. Honan has spared no exertions during the last half-year to create a more favorable impression of the school at Meanee, and to render it deserving of encouragement and support. The school-room is too small, the furniture insufficient, and even that little of inferior description -, the ■writing desk cumbrous, and of a size, shape and fashion that make it almost useless. It is to be hoped that money will shortly be raised by subscription to build a new school-room, and that the whole of the present building will be converted into a dwelling-house for the master and his family. The accommodation will 'be very limited even then. Waipawa and Hampden. — The school at Waipawa was closed for a short time lately, owing to the indisposition of the master, but I am pleased to learn that since Mr. Drover's recovery the duties have been again resumed with the accustomed regularity of attendance and steadiness of progress. The parents of children residing at 1 Hampden also appear to be well pleased that they are able to retain the services of a teacher of Mr. Paterson's quiet and peaceable disposition. Puketapu. — My inspection of the Puketapu school had been deferred till the day upon which the children were to be dismissed for the holidays, to suit sundry local arrangements, but 1 was unavoidably detained in Napier on that day. I have evidence that Mr. Hardie, by his industry and perseverance, continues to sustain the reputation of his school. Napier Girls School. — The Napier Girls' School is well attended, though mostly by very young children. The mistress, Miss Caldwell, is well qualified for the duties, and her zealous and affectionate care of the children is very commendable. Since my last report two schools have been discontinued : one at Waipukurau, the building temporarily used for school purposes having been destroyed by fire ; and the other in Napier, St. Paul's Presbyterian School, from the master's inability to derive a maintenance in consequeuce of the number of his pupils having rapidly and suddenly diminished. Many of the. boys thus removed are now attending St. John the Evangelist's School, under the charge of ~ Mr. W. Hudson. To explain the decline of his school, Mr. Haswell intimated to me that he suffered from the canvassing of rival competitors. At the time of my inspection, 41 children were on the school books ; just previous to the closing of the school, the number did not exceed seven or eight. I felt bound to enquire for a reason for such an unfortunate change, and that above stated is the one offered by Mr. Haswell. I am compelled to mention that com- . plaints reached me from various sources of the needless and excessive severity with which the .children were frequently visited by the master. If there be any foundation in this, lam at no loss to account for the decadence and unpopularity of Mr. Haswell's school. The feeling is now almost universal that an habitual recurrence to the employment of force in the management of schools generally implies incompetency on the part of the teacher, or inadequacy of moral super- , '■'- intendence. Harsh means of discipline are very dis- ':'''■ tasteful to parents or guardians under any ■ "<'■■ circumstances, and although the infliction of . ;; corporal punishment upon boys is justified ■ ij.anjd, even: enforced by the regulations of ;g thejmostreputable public and pri'^;i'^|fe': jß6Bpoi|8 j,jn >the' United Kingdom, and Commissioners on ''^^MftnGtibiom in their report to Parliament, of, all good and humane

masters is to minimize such occasion, and to substitute gentler measures of control. The suppression of a school is always a matter of regret, and the public interest requires that the cause of it should be ascertained. Hdveloch. — On my recommendation, and with the consent of the local trustees, your Honor has been pleased to nominate Mr. E. Bissell to the school at Haveloclc which I have vacated. I would suggest that a similar course be adopted in all succeeding cases. The candidate for the office of master of a common school should be required to undergo an examination by the Government Inspector, and, if qualified, should then be appointed on probation for a period of six months, Total number of Pupils. — In the twelve schools receiving aid from the Provincial Government, there are 309 children in attendance, between the ages of five and fourteen years. This number is moderately large when estimated according to the comparative extent and population of other places from which I have received statistical information. The instruction for the most part is purely elementary, but generally sound. A wise avoidance of strong or elaborate designs for young and untaught children will mould their minds for diligent and industrious application, and fit them to the assorted gradations of study 'that will successively follow in their educational career. Irregularity of attendance is still the great difficulty which besets the master's path and mocks his best efforts. The school is made to subserve the farm, and the boys can only be instructed at such times as they cannot be made practically useful at home. The schools otherwise present good openings to teachers actually devoted to the work of education, and they will not fail to recognise in the poverty and scantiness of their materials the greatest value of the treasure that has fallen into their hands. The grants from the public treasury are sufficiently liberal, but if differently administered would be more likely to answer their intended aims. The teacher at present not unfrequently relies almost exclusively upon the contribution paid by the the Government, while the payment of the school fees is unpunctual and insecure. To remedy this, the aid from the Government might be made conditional upon a certain yearly sum being subscribed and actually collected by the inhabitants of the district in which the school is situated. Thus, if the school committee of a certain district would undertake to procure and pay into the Provincial Treasury by quarterly instalments, say £75 per annum, the Government might add also their moiety of £75 to complete the stipend of the teacher. The proportion in which the Government would aid in the payment of such salaries would of course be regulated according to the population in the neighbourhood of the school. 'An arrangement based upon this principle would be far more just and satisfactory to the schoolmasters than the existing uncertainty of receiving their emoluments. Sites and Buildings. — Few of the schoolhouses are really good and useful buildings, and in the construction of more than one of them regard has especially been paid to other local conveniences and plans rather than to the important purposes-far which it is supposed they are erected. I recently forwarded a memorandum to your Honor, recommending that in future, before any grant is made in aid of building a new school, a plan should be submitted for the approval of the Provincial Engineer and the Inspector of Schools. Bad accommodation, as well as inefficient machinery and indifferent teachers, will spoil a good design and retard the progress of a school. It is desirable that some regulations should be promulgated, regarding the hours during which each school is required to be open for daily instruction, the days that are to be observed as holidays, and the periods of the usual vacation. There is often much confusion from schools, conducted under the same system and code, differing in these respects. I have been cheered in the prosecution of my duties as Inspector by perceiving a gradual melting of that lethargic chill and apathy which too largely characterise the settlers of these lands. Nothing can be more discouraging to a zealous and painstaking teacher than to find his arduous exertions unrecognised and unappreciated, and doomed to fatal and saddening neglect. I have to acknowledge the courtesies and friendly attention that I have invariably received from trustees and others interested in education in my visits to the several schools, and also to some of the most able masters in the province for the useful and valuable information that they have from time to time afforded me by correspondence. I regret to relinquish a professional connection, whose brief tenure has afforded me so much gratification. I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most obeclt. servant, Henry H. Godwin, Inspector of Schools. His Honor the Superintendent, Napier.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/HBH18670119.2.19

Bibliographic details

EDUCATION., Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume 11, Issue 819, 19 January 1867

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1,840

EDUCATION. Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume 11, Issue 819, 19 January 1867

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