We have already laid before our readers the more salient points of the Educational League which was in existence a considerable time before the National Educational Union.
In order that our readers may be able to weigh the great question of education in their own minds, we append the following epitome of the Union's programme:.....
The primary instruction of all children without exception, in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The inculcation of religious and moral truth; whilst care be taken that denominational teaching be not imposed upon children without the assent of the parents.
The cardinal rule of parental responsibility must be preserved; the parents to have the choice of schools, whether liable partially, or wholly, for the cost of schooling. When the parents are unable to pay for the childrens' schooling, or come under the class of paupers, indoor or outdoor, then the cost of instruction to come out of the Poor Rates.
Vagrant children in boroughs, found wandering about the streets, to be liable to be sent by police to Industrial Schools; the schools to be maintained out of the Borough Rate.
The education of children of the working classes should combine industrial training with attendance at school, as under the provisions of the half-time system; that is, half-time attendance at school, and half-time at work.
No child or young person to be allowed to work full time without having passed a satisfactory examination in reading, writing, and arithmetic; and having received a certificate of these qualifications, such certificate to be a passport to full time.
The period of half-time to be prolonged beyond the present age of thirteen until such child or young person shall have satisfactorily passed such examination. Discretion allowed to examiners to pass those naturally incapable.
All schoolmasters in schools aided by Government to be properly qualified for their work, and their qualifications to be tested by a certificate of efficiency to be granted by competent examiners.
In Denominational Schools receiving Government aid, a Conscience Clause to be insisted upon, to prevent denominational teaching of children whose parents object thereto.
Special grants for technical or scientific instruction, should form an essential feature in all schools aided by Government.
The Union would also extend the existing provisions for the education of the working classes to the agricultural districts, by a compulsory attendance at school for a given number of days in the year. Grants to be made to infant and mixed schools, and no child at or under thirteen years of age to work full time without a certificate of qualification.
That more liberal grants be made to evening classes in order that young persons be enabled to pursue their studies.
And that while the Poor Law says no man who can provide for the physical wants of himself and his family can claim parish relief, the same principle should be applied to the mental, as to the bodily, wants of the people.
This all important question will be thoroughly sifted, and it behoves every intelligent man to lend his zeal and his arguments to the solution of the question, as to the best plan to be adopted for the education of our children, so that the nation may not be charged with its ignorance as the cause of her crime.