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Duties of Shool Inspectors.

245

Supposing that were adopted in Ireland, which has been already in use in America-periodical conferences of teachers in the capital-wou!d not that be a great auxiliary to the proceedings of the Board, in the information which they necessarily would furnish, of the state of education, and the progress of particular methods in various parts of Ireland ?

I think it would.

Do you think that course, combined with training schools, would give all the information which they could possibly require ?

I think it would.

Would you trust the management, in any manner, to an incorporated body of teachers ?

No.

What are the inconveniences you see resulting from entrusting them with such power ?

My notion is, that those who are to control education in Ireland, should be persons possessing qualifications of a nature quite different from those that one could expect to be possessed by teachers in general. You have not merely to consider the question of teaching, but you have to consider many questions of great public importance : you have to pay a great deal of regard to public feeling; you must be prepared to yield your own opinions or your own prejudices upon many points, and to consider not only what is right in the abstract, but what is right in the particular state of the country, and what is likely to prove acceptable to the country. Now persons bred up to a particular profession, frequently, from particular views and habits, endeavor to make all principles and considerations bend to them.

3.-Duties of School INSPECTORS. In examining the Inspectors, have you any set series of questions in your examinations, or is it left entirely to the option of the Commissioners who happen to be present?

It is left entirely to the discretion of the members of the Board who happen to be present, and who certainly work the candidate pretty fully.

Is a certain number of members required to constitute a Board for the purpose of examining candidates for the offices of the Board ?

Three members are sufficient to constitute a Board, and a Board so constituted may transact any business; but whenever an inspector has been appointed, I am pretty sure that five members at least have attended.

How are the Inspectors paid ?

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Pensions to Teachers and Inspectors.

The Inspectors receive a certain annual sum in lieu of all allowances.

What is the amount of that sum?
It is now £300 a year.
How many inspectors have you?
We have eight inspectors.
Do you

find that number sufficient?
For the present.
Is the £300 a year, over and above bis travelling expenses?
No, all expenses are included.
What are the duties which the Inspectors have to discharge ?

They have to visit the several schools, to examine into the conduct of them, to ascertain whether the rules of the Board are strictly observed, and to report to us the result.

Is it not the tendency of your niode of payment to make them extremely anxious to get through their business as soon as possible, and to abridge their travelling expenses as much as possible ?

It is; but we take care to keep them constantly out for at least nine months of the year. So soon as they return from one circuit, they are sent to another.

You do not confine them to a particular circuit?
No, we change them.

Do they visit each school at particular periods, or are they visiting the same school, sometimes in one month and sometimes another?

Sometimes one month, and sometimes another.

Do you find that to answer much better than visiting periodically?

Yes; we think it better that the people should not have any notice when they are coming.

Have the Board sumınary power of dismissal, or suspensino of their officers, without any reference to the Lord Lieutenant ?

Absolute power; we never communicate with the Government as to any act with respect to our officers.

Do you contemplate to give any superannuation to inspectors after a certain number of years of service ?

I wish we were enabled to grant superannuations to persons who may become unable to work.

You think it would be incentive to the correct performance of duty ?

I think it would be very desirable, not only that the inspectors should have superannuations, but the masters also.

Would you extend the number of inspectors ?

The number of inspectors must be increased in proportion as the schools increased.

Normal Schools.

247 Do you find that they have sufficient occupation now? They have.

At present how often do they visit each school on the average?

Once a year:

Do you think that is sufficient ?
No; I think they should visit each school twice a year.

Do you think they have time, at present, to visit each school more than once a year?

I think they have not, provided they examine the school with the attention that we require.

Supposing a school of 150 to 200 pupils; what time do you think an efficient inspection would take?

An efficient inspection would take the best part of the day.

Is the duty of the inspector extended to the examination of the pupils ?

He should put general questions to the pupils, without any fixed course of examination, to ascertain their proficiency.

Do you hold the inspectors responsible for ascertaining that the pupils, generally, have made the progress that is expected during the period ?

Certainly; and to report to us accordingly.

Do you require the inspector to furnish you with minutes of the kind of inspection he has made ?

He has a forin of report, which he is obliged to make to us upon each school.

4.-NORMAL SCHOOLS. What progress have you made in the establishment of Normal Schools?

We have agreed for the purchase of Tyrone-House and grounds, in Dublin, where we intend establishing a National Normal School.

In the estimates remitted to Parliament this year, for the expenses of your Board, there is an item amounting to £11,000, for the purchase of a house for the purpose of establishing a Normal School ; does not that appear a very large sum?

The house and land taken together, I do not think purchased at a high rate ; there are, I think, four acres of land within the city of Dublin, annexed to the house. The purchase was made for us through the Architect of the Board of Works. He settled the price, and he it was, who first informed us that we could purchase the place in question. We had requested him previously to look out for a suitable place for us.

He is a person of

248

Houses for Schoolmasters.

very extensive information, who has, I believe, rendered very great service to the public, in reducing the expense of public works in Ireland.

What are the accommodations in Tyrone-House? How many pupils of the Normal School do you think it will accommodate?

We expect to have 400 teachers at a time; in addition to which we shall have a vast number of children, I have no doubt, attending our Model Schools.

What additional buildings will be necessary to carry into full effect, the plan of this extensive Normal School?

We shall require lecture-rooms and school-rooms; the house itself, I think, will be required for the official establishment, and for ware-rooms, &c. It must be borne in mind, that we, in effect, carry on an extensive trade in books and school requisites, for which we require very considerable accommodations.

Would the Normal schools, in the provinces, be of an inferior kind to the great Normal school in Dublin?

Yes; we propose having 32 Normal schools for Ireland.
How many masters would you contemplate for the whole of

your schools?

Five thousand. How many would it be necessary to supply from the Normal schools every year?

At first, till we got them completed, we should require to bring out 500 a year; and afterwards, to keep the number to 5000, it would be necessary, I conceive, to bring out from 100 to 200 a year.

Would you require :2 Normal schools?

Those Normal schools will be model schools also, for each county, or rather district schools. We propose to have one chief school for each county, and that the master there should have £100; that would be an advancement beyond the primary school. Then we propose that he should have iwo assistants,who should have £52 a year each ; thus there would be about 90 places of advancement.

Do you find that, at present, there is a great demand among the people for the situation of teacher in the several schools which you have established ?

There is; but the candidates are not at all of the class that I could wish them to be.

5.-HOUSES FOR SCHOOLMASTERS. In what way is the land provided for the erection of schoolhouses?

The applicant for the land is obliged to provide the land as

How much Land to a School House.

249

well as he can. There are frequently great difficulties in obtainng land for the purpose.

But the Board is at no expense in procuring the land upon which the schools are to be built?

No.

Would you give authority to the Board to procure the necessary land, either by purchase or otherwise, for the purpose of erecting schools ?

I would ; in like manner as authority is granted to different public Boards to take land where necessary for public purposes, paying a due price for it.

Do you think it would be the more judicious arrangement that the land for schools should be vested generally in the hands of the Board in trust for the public, or in the hands of private trustees, under

direction of the Board ? I think it would be best to vest the whole of the school houses in the Board, as a corporate body, having perpetual succession.

Would you add to that, schoolmasters' houses?
Yes.

Might there not be many cases in which an individual would be willing to give up the use of a house, to a schoolmaster gratuitously, who yet might not be willing to make a grant to a Board in perpetuity; and equally so with respect to school-houses?

No doubt there might be such cases ; but I think that the Board should be authorized to deal with any unwillingness, by having a power of compelling persons to convey land for the purpose, at a fair price, guarding at the same time, the owners or proprietors of land from having their parks or their gardens entered, and so forth, in the usual way in which powers given to public bodies to take lands for public purposes are qualified.

Of course it should be subject to the obligation of giving it back to the owner, in case of the school not being continued?

I see no possible objection to that provision, he paying back a fair price for it.

Are you aware of any difficulties or inconveniences from the present system of vesting schools in other trustees than the Board ?

There is always a degree of inconvenience produced by vesting lands in trustees for those purposes : the lands may become vested in persons who are not fit to be trustees, and who are unwilling to act as trustees ; and then one may be driven to the necessity of applying to a court of equity to compel the person in whom the land is vested to do ihe necessary acts, either for maintaining the school, or having trustees appointed.

What would you consider a proper quantity of land to be purchased for the purposes of those schools in each case?

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