תמונות בעמוד

Belturbet, Erasmus Smith's English School.—The pupils were deficient in their answering generally, and understood little of what they read. They were evidently kept under scarce any restraint, as during my examination of the master, they whistled, talked aloud, and came to him with complaints of each other. I have, however, visited schools where the amount of instruction was smaller than here.[25th January, 1856.)

Kildallen, Parochial School.—The schoolmaster is very ignorant. It can hardly be expected he should teach grammar, when he said to me, “ We bes' very few on Saturdays.” I examined the chidren in a verse of the Acts of the Apostles, and no one could explain the meaning of the word “consenting," in the passage, “ And Saul was consenting to his death.”—[26th January, 1856.]

Killeshandra, Parochiul School. The state of instruction is very low indeed in this school. The pupils could not give the meaning of any word in a simple verse of Scripture. In geography they answered quite wildly. One said Europe was in England ; and another, that Paris was seated on the St. Lawrence. Altogether, I have met with few less promising schools.—[18th January, 1856.]

Stranorlar, Erasmus Smith's English School._ The situation of this school is pretty good, but there is a cess-pool on the premises which is filled with every kind of filth. The house, which was originally a very fine one, is at present in a very wretched condition. The master informed us that arrangements have been made for its repair.

In this school, as in all other schools under the Erasmus Smith Board which I bave visited, I have been unable to form any safe opinion as to the efficiency of the visitation. The visiter very rarely makes any entry or memorandum in the school register of his visit, what he observed, and what he wished to have remedied. Where the visitation merely is for the information of a board or commission in Dublin, this may be enough ; but when the primary object is, or should be, the admonition and inciting of the master and pupils, some record should be made, which would always be before the master's eyes, and to which the visitor on his next visitation might refer, to see how far his admonitions have been attended to ; without this, the great purpose of visitation is lost sight of.-[8th October, 1856.]

Downpatrick, Blue, Girls' Sehool.-In the girls' school there are no regular classes. I examined in geography, in which the answer. ing, except by one, was very bad. Two only of those present could write from dictation. It was well done by one of the girls and badly by the other. I can hardly say there was any answering in arithmetic.

The state of attainment does not at all correspond with what one would expect from the return made by the mistress of the number of pupils using the different books.

Both these schools are in an unsatisfactory state. The master and mistress are quite unsuited for their places ; they are much too far advanced in life. Their removal is now under Mr. Ker's consideration. The girls' school does not commence at the hour directed by the rules given to the mistress; and the girls are not classed.

The master and mistress were removed in July, 1856, and trained teachers appointed in their place.

The taking in lodgers by the mistress during the assizes ought not on any account to be permitted, and, I understand, will not in future be allowed.—(30th January, 1856.]

Enniskillen; Derryheehan Boys' and Girls' School. The mistress is daughter of the master, and has no salary as distinct from him.

I examined a class consisting of six children-three boys and three girls, eldest aged fourteen, and youngest eleven years—in writing from dictation, arithmetic, grammer, and geography. The answering in grammer and geography was very indifferent, in arithmetic very fair. The writing of three of the children was scarcely respectable, two others very bad, and the sixth did not write.

I consider that the quality of the instruction given is very wretched, and that neither the master nor his daughter is qualified to conduct a school with success, or to afford even the low degree of instruction which the neighbourhood desires to have.—[10th June, 1856.]

Clondermot ; Culkerragh School.There is neither discipline nor instruction in this school. It is, in fact, a school but in name. I do not think it answers any of the purposes of a school, and I consider that the annual endowment bestowed by the Irish Society towards its support is thrown away. It virtually has no books. 'The Holy Scriptures are converted into mere reading-books, for want of books proper for that purpose. There are no maps, and, when I visited, but one slate pencil. The other ordinary requisites of a school were equally deficient. The roll (if there be any) was not in the schoolroom. There is no register or report-book. There is no visitation, except by the members of the family of the proprietor of the estate, who, I doubt not, discharge their duty to the school in the most exemplary manner; but they can never supply the want of extern visitation.

The school is, in fact, a private school for the tenantry of the proprietor of the estate, supported entirely by a grant from the Irish Society. It appears from the master's evidence, that no part of his miserably small salary comes from the proprietor, whose tenants' children are educated in the school; and neither a suitable house nor the commonest school requisites are provided, nor is the school placed in connexion with the Church Education Society or the National Board, whence proper supervision and direction might be had. I therefore am obliged to say, that the grant of the Irish Society is not judiciously bestowed in this instance; and further, that no grant should be given in such a case as this, but in aid of some equal or adequate contribution given by the proprietor.

When a teacher's salary is limited to £10 and the trifle which school fees can produce, it is a mere pension or superanuation, and it cannot be available for the advancement of education.

I asked for five pupils who could write. Only one was produced, aged about twelve years, who wrote from dictation very indifferently. He answered in English grammer very badly: I examined him and three others in geography, but could get no answer, and scarcely any answer in arithmetic. I asked them to read-they did so rapidly, indistinctly, and badly. The school was like a bear-garden during my visit.— [3rd October, 1856.]

Kilmore, Parochiul School.-Nothing could be much worse or more unintelligible than the reading of the pupils. Their ignorance of parsing was such, that a grown pupil in the fourth class stated the nu. meral “six" to be a verb, and no other pupil ventured a different opinion. I am at a loss to understand, and cannot ascertain, upon what principle the inspectors of this school promote the pupils ; because, even in cases of recent promotion, where although the pupil could not be supposed to be familiar as yet with the business of his actual class, he ought to know something of what had qualified him for promotion, the ignorance displayed was so extreme, that in no instance could the pupil have been sufficiently advanced for the class he had left. This I have acertained by examining him in the text book of the class in question-(16th July, 1856.]

Tydavnet ; Ballinode Parochial School.--The pupils read in the worst possible style. Out of a class of fourteen not one could give the meaning of the word “disengaged "-one only offered a guess that “ common was an adjective, but could assign no reason; and not one could name any peninsula of Europe.- (16th July, 1856.]

Ballisukeery; Mullufurry, Erasmus Smith's English School. With reference to this school I have only to observe that it seemed to be in a state of complete decay. The pupils were ignorant of everything upon which I examined them. One girl only seemed to have some slight knowledge of reading and spelling.

As far as I can judge, there is no life or vigour in the inspection or administration of the school, and the season of the year is insufficient to account for the wretched attendance on this, not a market-day.-(20th November, 1855 )

Castlebar School. This school is the one mentioned in the Second Report of the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry, 1826, p. 1256, as the school of Aglish, endowed under the Lord Lieutenant's Fund. The master is not a well informed man, but he can hardly be made responsible for the pitiable state in which I found the school, as he has been only a few weeks appointed.

The pupils are in a state of utter ignorance, unless that they can spell their way a little through the tritling books in their hands.-[17th March, 1856.)

Boyle, Purochial School. The answering in everything, except geography, was very poor. The pupils were nearly quite ignorant of parsing, and absolutely ignorant of derivations. In attempting to write froin dictation, only one pupil spelled "operation," correctly, and all made numerous mistakes in a single sentence.-[17th Decem, ber, 1855.)

Ardvally School. There was only one pupil, a mere infant, present at the time of my visit, so that I am not in a position to speak from actual observation of the state of instruction in the school. Seeing, however, that the teacher is an illiterate man, without any knowledge. of grammar, and just able to read and write ; that the school is wanting in books, furniture, and requisites ; that there is no roll, no report book, no inspection, and that it is visited not oftener than once a quarter by a clergyman; I believe I am warranted in concluding that the school must be essentially a bad one ; and that it would be difficult to to fix upon a less profitable application of so considerable a


sum as £20 per annum than to the support of such a school. I confess to having heard, with much surprise, from the Rev. Mr. Stock, that the master is an efficient teacher, and most successful in bringing on his pupils. I, of course, had no opportunity of ascertaining how far he had brought them on; but he must be a more remarkable man than I supposed, if, without knowledge of his own, rules for his guidance, books for his pupils, advice, direction, or control, he can have had any measure of success whatever.-[23rd October, 1856.]

Drumcliffe ; Muninean, Erasmus Smith's English School. It is right to state that the school has hitherto been under the conduct of inefficient teachers. Appended to a somewhat unfavourable notice of the working of the school, from the Church Education Society's inspector, appearing in the report-book, is a comment of the late master, to the effect that the report was malicious and untrue. My experience of these cases leads me to consider this circumstance proof sufficient of the unfitness of the late master for his place; and additional proof is furnished by the ignorance of the pupils in the most elementary branches of instruction. The Scriptures may

be said to be the only reading and general lesson book in use. The style of reading is as bad in this as in any other parish school, and the meaning of words as little known. All were alike ignorant of grammar; and I could not obtain the name of a single European island. The master, in reply to the question, what punishments were resorted to, in the course of examination upon oath, enumerated, amongst punishments to which he resorted, the practice of making offenders read verses of Scripture. I expressed my surprise that he should resort to the Scriptures as a means of punishment, when he at once retracted his statement, and said he had made it through inadvertence. I was not satisfied with this explanation, and, accord. ingly, examined one of his pupils, upon oath, as to the nature of the punishments to which he was habitually subjected, and he swore dis. tinctly that he had been obliged to read the Scriptures by way of punishment. The master, however, having interrupted my examination to ask the witness whether such punishment had proceeded from himself, the witness answered that it had not; but the answer was manifestly suggested by the master's question. [22nd October, 1856.]

We have treated the subject of education in Ireland, not by any means with reference to the subject of endowed schools merely, nor exactly according to the view in which the latter subject was considered by ourselves before the appointment of the late Commission. One feature, at all events, of the inquiry just furnished, is its completeness, and the abundance of the materials which it supplies for the treatment of the question of education generally. There is no class of schools in our country not found to include a sufficient number of endowments, to enable us to form an opinion, a strong conjectural opinion, at least, as to the state of education in that portion of the class which lay outside the field of the Commission, as well as in that which lay within it. There was, moreover, one large subdivision of schools admittedly endowed, the vested schools of the National Board, upon which the Commissioners did not consider it necessary to report, but which we have no reason to doubt, altogether resembled the remainder of their class. And further, large as was the number of schools taken in by the definition of the Commissioners, it excluded from the list of endowed schools a class which for many important purposes may be considered as endowed; the schools supported by parliamentary grant from the early estimates ; so that dealing with the subject of national education generally, we might still be said to keep within the subject of education in endowed schools, The inquiries of the Commissioners into such of these schools as were included within their own definition furnished us with a large though not complete indication instances upon which to grant our perferment as to the entire class, and therefore as to she entire National system. The same may be said to a still greater extent, as we have always observed of the rival, or Church Education system. Again, the Commissioners differed in opinion upon questions of high principle equally applicable to unendowed, or temporarily endowed Schools, as to Schools endowed in perpetuity. The principle involved was that of mixed education"; and in arriving at a judgment upon the subject, no better materials could be found than those prepared for us by the Commissioners. We learned, not only from their general report, but from their tabulated statistics, and from the special reports of the assistant Commissioners; that the National Schools are substantially separate establishments, under the direction of the Catholic clergy, although governed by rules not altogether in harmony with the feelings of that body. We learned further that those schools being of the character and under the direction we have described are good schools and instrumental in the diffusion of solid and useful educatian. We were further taught, that the essentially Catholic schools of the Christian Brothers were also the most perfect of their class, or rather that they form a class quite apart from, and superior to any schools that might be supposed to rank with them; and we found

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