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The Lyttelton Times

c. > Wednesday, January 11, 1860. There is a subject which has hitherto lain outside the beaten track of New Zealand politicians,lmt which we earnestly hope'will before long- be moved on to it and set going along it by some leader among them.

The General. Government and Legislature of the colony have as yet given no real attention to promoting public education on any systematic or general plan. We believe that '■ they cannot claim credit for even the slightest attempt made at any time since the foundation oi the colony to assist education, except it be among the Maori population; and that only in the Northern Island : for the appointment of a very able and intelligent gentleman to teach and advise the Maories of this province is of so recent a date that it can hardly yet claim to be noticed as any thing positively accomplished in Canterbury. For whatever- has been done in the right direction to promote knowledge and information among our-European population, we are indebted to the local'legislatures of our several provinces. We are hardly in a position to say how far, elsewhere, their efforts have been successful towards effecting anything of a permanent character or producing any results sufficiently encouraging to those of us who set up as a standard our experience of educational establishments, public and private^ at home. Biit we may confidently I assert that what has been as yet accomplished in Canterbury falls very far short indeed of the standard this province should be expected Jfto strive for. In asserting this we do riot 'seekito disparage in any degree the schools which have already been established. On the contrary, we are prepared to admit that they' are excellent of their kind—better perhaps than in any other province 3—yet they are not of that kind to which they ought to be raised if it is hoped by their means ever to confer the substantial advantages of a high education upon our young men. The mere fact that the majority, if not every one, of these schools is upheld solely by funds granted by simple vote and resolution of the Council for a very limited time, riot guaranteed by any permanent ordinance creating a post-charge on the revenues, is of itself sufficient to discourage the cherishing of any strong hopes as to their future and permanent usefulness, v It seems to be almost impossible in-a veryyoung community to raise schools beyond what would in England be considered a very third and fourth rate position. The efforts which have been made in Australia and Tasmania towards creating establishments of a collegiate character, -or incorporating them into universities, seem to have resulted in little or no success. It is,.-admitted, even by the Principals of such establishments, that the enormous sums of money which. have been spent in their erection and endowment would have been far better appropriated towards educating* a certain number of the colonial youth, at the leading establishments of the Mother Country. At the Cape, at Sydney, at Melbourne, in Tasmania, but one opinion is held by those who understand the subject; and in the latter colony, a sum of no less than £800 per annum, which in proportion to its revenues is by no.means inconsiderable, has by specials endowment been set apart from the public funds, toe-maintain for a term of four years, " at some one of the Universities' of the United, Kingdom, having legal power to confer a degree in" Arts, Laws, or Medicine,;" four young men who may pass a satisfactory examination before a board of Examiners.

To this act of the Tasmanian legislature attention has been more than once called by correspondents of our localnewspapers. The college authorities, not long ago, memorialised the Superintendent and Executive Council on the subject. We regret greatly that, during the late session of the^Provincial Council, the government did not propose some definite action in the matter, with a view to following the example of our Tasmanian neighbours. We had hoped to see Canterbury taking the lead in a movement so important to the cause of education, and thus forcing it on the notice of other provinces and at last of the General Government. Thus a system might be introduced throughout the colony, which, by holding out to any of our young men, possessed of no pecuniary resources, the-pros-.pect that they may maintain - themselves i.while prosecuting their studies, would tend generally to encourage them to strive for the very highest education which they could receive in England. We, hope that this question may not be lost sight of by our representatives at the next meeting of the General Assembly. We know no one who could more ably enforce attention to it than Mr. Sewell ; and we trust that his constituents will obtain an assurance from him that he will neglect no opportunity of persuading the Legislature to take some decisive steps in this important matter.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/LT18600111.2.11

Bibliographic details

The Lyttelton Times, Lyttelton Times, Volume XII, Issue 749, 11 January 1860

Word Count
821

The Lyttelton Times Lyttelton Times, Volume XII, Issue 749, 11 January 1860

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