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Thus we see that in Prussia, as in all the rest of Germany, the two first degrees of authority in primary instruction are in the hands of the Clergy; but above these two lowest steps, ecclesiastical influence is at an end, and the influence of the civil power comes in. The Schulinspector of every Kreis corresponds with the Regierung (regency) of every department, (Bezirke) through the medium of the president of that regency, who answers, as I have said, to the prefect in France. This regency includes several counsellors (Regierungsräthe,) charged with different duties, among others as special councillor for the primary schools, called Schulrath (school councillor,) a paid office like his colleagues, who acts as a link between the public instruction and the ordinary civil administration of the province, inasmuch as on the one side he is nominated on the presentation of the minister of public instruction, while on the other, as soon as he is nominated, he forms a part of the council of regency, in his quality of Schulrath, and thus becomes responsible to the minister of the interior. The Schulrath makes the reports to the council, which decides by a majority. He inspects the schools, quickens and keeps alive the zeal of the Schulinspectoren (school inspectors,) the Schulvorstände (school committees) and schoolmasters; all the correspondence of the parish inspectors and the superior inspectors is addressed to him; he conducts the correspondence relative to schools in the name of the regency, and also through the medium of the president, with the provincial consistories and the school-board (Schulcollegium,) as well as with the minister of public instruction; in a word, the Schulrath is the true director of primary instruction in each regency.
'I do not attempt here to go into any details; I have confined myself wholly to the endeavour to make the machinery of public instruction in Prussia intelligible to you as a whole. To sum up all, primary instruction is parochial and departmental, and at the same time is subject to the minister of public instruction, which double character appears to me consequent on the very nature of establishments which equally require the constant superintendance of local power, and the guidance of a superior hand, vivifying and harmonizing the whole. This double character is represented by the Schulrath, who has a seat in the council of the department, and is responsible both to the ministry of the interior and to that of public instruction.
'On the other hand, all secondary instruction is under the care of the Schulcollegium (school-board,) which forms part of the provincial consistory, and which is nominated by the minister of public instruction. All higher instruction, that of universities, has for its organ and its head the royal commissary, who acts under immediate authority of the minister; thus nothing escapes the eye and the power of the minister; yet, at the same time, each of these departments of public instruction enjoys sufficient liberty of action. The universities elect their officers. The school board proposes and overlooks the profession of gymnasia, and takes cognizance of all the more important points of primary instruction. The schulrath, with the council of regency (or rather the council of regency on the report of the schulrath) and in pursuance of the correspondence of the inspectors and committees, decides on the greater part of the affairs of the lower stage of instruction. The minister, without entering into the infinite details of popular instruction, is thoroughly informed as to results, and directs everything by instructions, emanating from the centre, which tend to diffuse a national unity throughout the whole. He does not interfere minutely with the business of secondary instruction, but nothing is done without his sanction, and this is never given but on full and accurate reports. The same applies to universities; they govern themselves, but according to fixed laws. The professors elect their deans and their rectors, but they are themselves nominated by the minister. In short, the end of the entire organization of public instruction in Prussia, is to leave details to the local powers, and to VOL. I.-Jan. 1835.
reserve to the minister and his council the direction and general impulse given to the whole."
The duty of the parish to maintain a primary school is not more particularly desired than that of the parents to send their children; and this duty is so national, so rooted in all the moral habits of the country, that it is expressed in a single word, schulpflichtigkeit (school duty or school obligation.) All parents are bound either to give their children education at home at a private school, or to send them to a school so provided from the age of seven to fourteen. If they send them to a private school, they are still bound to pay the charges imposed on them for the support of the school to which they would naturally belong. Care is taken to furnish necessitous parents with the necessaries of instruction, and even clothes, where the want of them would prove an obstacle to their attendance. The clergy and other influential bodies are exhorted and encouraged to impress upon the people the necessity and benefit of primary instruction, and in case of their neglecting this important duty, after admonition and caution, the children are taken to the school by the police, and the parents are punished by fine or imprisonment, and are deprived of all parochial relief so long as they fail to fulfil this duty.
Besides every parish being bound to keep an elementary school, every town must have one burgher or middle school, or more, according to its population. In all the schools the number is not allowed to exceed one hundred for one master. In case there are two religious parties in the town, the master is to be of the religion of the majority; if in such a case there is a second master, he is to be of the religion of the minority.
With regard to the teacher, this is, with the government, the most essential point. If you would have good masters, you must first of all ensure them a maintenance. The Prussian law expresses itself on this head in the most solemn manner. It is our own firm will, says the king, in whose name it speaks, that in the maintenance of every school, this be regarded as the most important object, and take precedence of all others. The schoolmaster is
allowed many important privileges, one of which is the ancient custom of his being permitted to reckon his place at the table of every family of the government in rotation. He is, however, not permitted to do this, if it appears that his dignity or duties are likely to suffer by it. He is not suffered to collect the schulgeld or pay of the scholars for the same reason. He is also not allowed to engage in any trade or additional employment, except by express permission. He may, however, increase his salary by the performance of parochial functions of a respectable kind, and not derogatory to his office.
A fund is provided for infirm schoolmasters, and their widows and children are pensioned, the latter having a special right to all the benefits of establishments of education.
The different gradations of primary instruction are as follow:-pp. 51-2.
'The elementary schools have for their object the regular developement of the faculties of man, by more or less extended instruction in the branches of knowledge, indispensable to the lower classes both in town and country.
'The Burgher (or middle) schools bring the child to that point at which peculiar aptitude for classical studies, properly so called, or some particular profession may manifest itself.
'The Gymnasia carry on education to the point at which boys, after having received a classical and liberal culture, enter on a course of practical studies in ordinary life; or scientific, superior, and special; or professional studies at the universities.
Every complete elementary school necessarily comprehends the following objects. p. 55.
1. Religious instruction, as a means of forming the moral character of children according to the positive truths of Christianity.
2. The German language, and in provinces where a foreign language is spoken, the language of the country, in addition to the German.
3. The elements of geometry, together with the general principles of drawing.
4. Calculation and practical arithmetic.
5. The elements of physics, geography, general history, and especially the history of Prussia.
'Care must be taken to introduce and combine these branches of knowledge with the reading and writing lessons as much as possible, independently of the instruction which shall be given on those subjects specially.
6. Singing, with a view to improve the views of the children, to elevate their hearts and minds, to perfect and ennoble the popular songs and church music and psalmody.
7. Writing and gymnastic exercises, which fortify all the senses, and especially that of sight.
8. The simplest manual labour, and some instructions in husbandry, according to the agriculture of the respective parts of the country.
The instructions in religion, reading, writing, arithmetic, and singing, are strictly indispensable in every school. No school shall be considered as a complete elementary school, unless it fulfil the whole scheme of instruction just marked out.
Every burgher school shall afford instruction on the following subjects:— 1. Religion and morals.
2. The German language, and at the same time the language of the country in the provinces not German; reading, composition, exercises in style, study of the national classics. In all the German part of the country, the modern foreign languages are an accessary branch of study. Latin is taught to all the children within certain limits, as a means of exercising their faculties and their judgments, whether they be or be not to enter the higher schools.
4. The elements of mathematics, and especially a thorough course of practical arithmetic.
5. Physical science, as far as is sufficient to explain the most remarkable phenomena of nature.
6. Geography and history combined, in order to give some knowledge of the earth, of the general history of the world, of the people who inhabit it, and the empires into which it is divided. Prussia-its history, laws, and constitution, shall form the subject of a special study.
7. The principles of drawing shall be taught to all concurrently with the lessons in physics, natural history, and geometry.
8. Writing must be carefully attended to, and the hand trained to write distinctly and neatly.
9. The singing lessons shall be attended by all the pupils, not only with a view to form them to that art, but to qualify them to assist in the services of the church with propriety and solemnity, by singing the psalms or choral music with correctness and judgment.
10. Gymnastic exercises, adapted to the age and strength of the scholars." The following are also important regulations:
Masters must take pains to know the character and qualities of their pupils. All scholars of elementary schools receive a certificate of character on leaving it, which is given with great solemnity. There is no provision as regards the selection of books, that being left free to the judgment of the masters and committee. The religious instruction in the protestant schools is founded on the Holy Scriptures. The ecclesiastical authorities are consulted in the choice of religious works.
The bishops choose those for catholic schools. Mechanical methods of communicating knowledge are watched. Parents are bound to conform exactly to the rules of the school; and every child is obliged to go through the whole course of fundamental instruction. Examinations in public are periodically held, for the boys' schools; but the girls are only examined before their parents and teachers. All public authorities are required to protect the public schools, each in his sphere of action; and to lend their aid to schoolmasters in the exercise of their functions, as to any other servants of the state. Clergymen are directed to seize every occasion, whether at church, or during their visits to schools, or in their sermons at the opening of classes, of reminding the schools of their high and holy mission, and the people of their duties towards the schools; so that the people may accustom themselves more and more to regard education as one of the essential conditions of public life, and may daily take a deeper interest in its progress.
This brief outline will serve to give a favourable opinion of the value of the work Mrs. Austen has translated. Nothing, we think, could have been better timed; and we shall be glad to find it in the hands of every real friend to popular education, on comprehensive principles. To those who may think that a legal obligation to educate children, savours of a military and despotic government, we would only observe, that the system of education is in the highest degree popular in Prussia. The parents indeed anticipate the time at which the legal constraint begins; and the number of children attending the public schools in 1831 actually exceeded the whole number of children existing in the monarchy between the ages of seven and fourteen, the period prescribed by law.
We shall recur again to this work in our next; but we would earnestly endeavour to call the attention of the friends of education to the work itself—a work, certainly, of the most interesting character that has been published on the subject of education for a long time. To the patient reader, who will go through it, will be afforded abundant information of a kind well calculated to rouse the faculties to an appreciation of the all-importance of instruction to the community. Portions might be selected still further calculated to shew the beautiful spirit which pervades the whole, but it ought to be studied as a whole; in each part it is complete; but the beautiful harmony of it, as a government machine, can only be seen by an examination of it as a system living and working from the monarch on his throne down to the meanest portion of his people.
Our succeeding notice will comprise the organization and methods of teaching in the Normal schools.
The Father's Book; or, Suggestions for the Government and Instruction_of Young Children in Christian Principles. By Theodore Dwight, jun. Edmund Fry, London.-pp. 237.
THE American writers are of the advanced guard in education; some of the most interesting, and at the same time some of the best books, have been published in the infant world. Judicious essays on the
Principles of Education find their way into the public prints, and the conduct of domestic life is explained and recommended in the most popular of these journals. It must be gratifying to the government of a country to observe the public mind becoming gradually disposed to canvass and discuss questions of such vital importance as those of the education of the young, and the duties of parents towards their children. On the due inculcation of proper feelings regarding these subjects, depend the safety and stability of a state; nay, the very existence of the civil compact. The deep perversity of the human heart cannot be rooted out by penal statutes or public executions, and the taint of hereditary sin will not be driven from the mind by expedients of retributive legislation. If a government is indeed zealous for the public weal, if it would have peace to be the seal on the charter of a nation's freedom, it must be the nursing father and the nursing mother of its children. Legislators should consider themselves common fathers; and till they learn that education is the first of theirs, as it is the first of a father's duty, we cannot expect to see their laws obeyed, nor their rules of government appreciated. America, as well as England, is far behind in the work of education, and although a feeling in its favour undoubtedly exists, its positive necessity is not generally understood. The works of such writers as the one before us, are, of all others, the most valuable to a community; particularly to a community rising in the scale of national importance. They have a powerful tendency to influence the public mind, and if it be the rule in America, as it is in England, for a government to receive its impulses from without, such publications ought to be considered either with extreme jealousy or satisfaction, just in proportion as the government may be honestly or dishonestly disposed.
With regard to the book before us, it partakes of many of the faults of a country whose political and social state is scarcely consolidated, and where knowledge is yet in its infancy; at the same time it teems with a spirit of freedom, and is perfectly at issue with the received dogmas of scholastics; its principal recommendation is the high tone of religious feeling which pervades the whole, and the earnest endeavour manifested in every page to place instruction on the sure basis of principle and utility. It is difficult, in a small work, to say all that might be said on a subject so comprehensive and important as moral and intellectual instruction; the author has not attempted more than to give general directions, and to draw forth general inferences: he has appealed to the father in a general way-he has spoken, as we might imagine a child would speak, if it knew its own condition; and, without going into the particulars of instruction, has given such suggestions as are well calculated to convince the parent of the high responsibility of his office and the important charge that devolves upon him.
The volume comprehends the principles of education; the treatment, physical and moral, of young children; health of children, playthings, sports, amusements, exercise, intellectual instruction, the sabbath, family government, conversation, the influence of education on society, religious instruction, and schools; of the latter, the following remarks are made