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cerning elementary education are of especial importance, your Subcommittee recommends that brief reports from two or more inspectors of elementary schools be presented at each meeting of the Committee, such reports to be presented in person or otherwise, as may be determined.
3. In view of the fact that no common or satisfactory method of examination and promotion from grade to grade and from lower school to higher exists in the Province, so far as our elementary schools are concerned, and, whereas, difficulty and confusion consequently ensue, it is recommended that some scheme be devised for the better and more uniform examination of these schools with a view to promotion. Such a scheme need not be made uniform for the whole Province, but, while uniform within the bounds of municipalities, might be varied to suit the circumstances of the various inspectorates.
4. Your Sub-committee having cognizance of the fact that the majority of the elementary schools in the Province are taught by young people without professional training, and that the supply of trained teachers is inadequate to meet the demands, believes that such steps should now be taken as would provide a course of professional training of at least three months for all candidates for diplomas, that no diploma be permanent or of the first-class without such training, and that the Normal School Committee be asked to co-operate with this Committee to this end.
Moved by Rev. Dr. Shaw, seconded by Mr. Hewton, and resolved, "That the report be received, and be printed in the Minutes and considered at the next meeting of this Committee. Further, that, in harmony with his request, the Venerable Archdeacon Lindsay be relieved of his position as Chairman of the Sub-committee and that Dr. Kneeland be appointed in his place."
Dr. Kneeland reported on behalf of the Sub-committee on textbooks, and on motion of Dr. Kneeland, seconded by Mr. Hewton, it was resolved, "That the report be received and that the following books be authorized for use in the schools of the Province :
1. Advanced Second Reader, Canadian Series.
2. Catechism of Useful Knowledge, for Teachers' reference.
A communication was received from the Provincial Secretary concerning the appointment of an Inspector-General of Drawing in the schools of the Province.
Moved by Dr. Kneeland, seconded by Mr. Masten, and resolved, "That the portion of the report of the committee on text-books relating to Drawing, together with the letter of the Provincial
Secretary, be referred to the Committee on Legislation to confer with the Council of Arts and Manufactures and the Government on the matter."
There being no further business, the Committee adjourned to meet on Friday, the 22nd of May next, or earlier on the call of the Chairman.
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
SIR, I have the honor to submit for your consideration my report for the year ending the 30th June, 1890, on the condition and progress of the schools that come under my inspection in the counties of Ottawa and Pontiac.
In last year's report I mentioned the difficulty of giving from year to year much novelty or freshness to papers of this character. It is inevitable that they should exhibit more or less sameness, inasmuch as the same topics invariably suggest themselves, and remarkable features of interest are naturally rare in such rural districts as fall under my review.
But, despite my inability to offer new suggestions for the advancement of our primary schools, I shall attempt to speak frankly on such subjects as seem worthy of some notice, even at the risk of repeating what I have said on previous occasions. At all events, I shall not imitate the example of one of my predecessors, who, it is said, some thirty-five years ago, copied a Nova Scotia school report and forwarded it to the Department as his own.
Notwithstanding there is still room for improvement in the education of this province, I think on the whole we have much reason for congratulation. When I look back for a quarter of a century and compare the present state of the schools with what they were then! I am much encouraged, and look confidently to the future of elementary education in this country. The progressive element, in fact, has been decidedly marked during the past five years.
While we have not been able as yet to have normal training schools in each county, we have had, for the past four years, the advantage of annual teachers' institutes, conducted by practical and qualified persons. These institutes have already produced far better results than I possibly could have anticipated three years ago.
The institute held at Shawville, in the county of Pontiac, a short time ago, was conducted by Dr. Harper and Professor Parmelee, and was highly appreciated.
I think every teacher in the county of Pontiac was present on the occasion.
The lectures related chiefly to the important subjects, "How to Teach" and "What to Teach," and the teachers were able to fill their note-books with many valuable suggestions on the new and best methods. The attendance from the county of Ottawa was small, for various reasons. Some of the teachers do not hail from Ottawa county, while many others reside a long way off Shawville. If the subject "Higher salaries for teachers" had been discussed, probably there would have been a larger attendance at the lectures.
I am glad to find that the pernicious system of "cram," so long peculiar to our common schools, was severely condemned in the course of the lectures, and must, at last, practically disappear.
The lectures also dwelt on primary instruction and on what I may term the upper stages of the primary schools: I mean the stages where the child has left the infant course behind him and has taken a hold of those lessons which bring him nearer to the great practical world, where he must soon work and struggle. His instruction in language is now generally regulated by the reading books in vogue, and when I consider that they form the whole literary course in our common schools, I cannot but wish that the authorities would take some means of supplying a better selection in prose and verse.
Literary taste and a just appreciation of a Canadian child's needs are in many ways sadly wanting. Two things should always be borne in mind in our reading books: to give the best models of style, and, above all, to create a deep interest in Canada, her history, her literature and her national development.
These institutes have also wisely afforded excellent examples of object and nature lessons, with the view of showing teachers the best methods of increasing the facility of pupils in expression of language and in the use and application of words.
I am decidedly of opinion that the school registers should show, on each page, the names of all pupils who have attended from the commencement of each school year, be the attendance ever so short. By this method, one could at a glance see whether parents have given their children every opportunity of acquiring an elementary education. It will be a useful check on the indifference of some parents in this particular.
I know full well that one of the greatest obstacles to the success of the common school system is the absence of proper classification and the showing of irregular attendance. Children are frequently kept at home, owing to the niggardly propensities of some parents. For instance, a boy who has not been allowed to attend school regularly on the ground of "home work" could have gone on the 6th of a certain month, but his parsimonious father says, "If you go for the remainder of this month I'll have to pay a quarter of a month's school fees-some five or six cents-for which you will receive no benefit." Consequently, the boy is made to stay at home until the beginning of the subsequent month. The result of all this is that the boy, probably
the brightest boy naturally in his class, makes "no show at the teacher's examinations. It would be well to remember sometimes that it is easier to examine than to be examined.
The school law provides that, in case the regulations made by the commissioners for the management of any school are not agreeable to any number whatever of the ratepayers who profess a faith different from that of the majority, these ratepayers can dissent and establish a school for themselves. While I regard this provision as possibly the fairest that could be devised under the circumstances, still I am bound to admit—and I speak simply for this district, and not for the province generally-that the consequent separation works injuriously in certain instances. If a school district composed of Roman Catholics and Protestants, with just a sufficient revenue for its work, is brought under this provision of the law, it is obviously impossible that efficient teachers can be procured for the small salaries that will be available under the circumstances. It is my opinion, derived from a practical operation of the law, that such a separation should not be allowed in poor and weak school districts.
The religious exercises in such mixed schools could be conducted at fixed hours at the close, as a rule-so that dissenting children need not attend. This is the practice in several cantons of Switzerland, where the conditions are similar to our own in this province.
I make this suggestion in all sincerity, and under the conviction that it is in the interest of elementary education.
In some remote settlements it is absolutely impossible for small children to attend school in mid-winter, owing to the snow-drifted roads. Permission should be given commissioners in such localities to keep their schools in operation during the month of February in each year.
The weak and remote schools continue to make but slow progress, and so it must be until larger inducements can be offered to capable teachers. Experience tells me that where there are well-paid instructors there is educational development.
I noticed a statement some time ago, that it is the intention of the Protestant Committee to devote special attention to our elementary schools, and offer rewards to the most deserving among them; but, while approving of any plan that gives to the best-organized schools, who are doing good work, I fear that the one in question may not do justice to those small schools in remote and poor districts, which are doing their best, while laboring under great disadvantages, compared with those in rich and populous settlements.
Such schools are, in their way, deserving of every encouragement, and should not be placed at a disadvantage in any system of rewards that may be devised with the praiseworthy object of encouraging elementary education.
In conclusion, I may be permitted to refer to another matter of personal interest. In your last annual report you had the goodness
to express your opinion that the school inspectors of this province are insufficiently paid. I trust that this expression of opinion will receive favorable consideration from the Government and Legislature. know too well that a net average allowance for the long time I have held office of $1.40 per day-all that I have actually received-is but poor compensation for the labor and time I devote to the duties of an office which extend over a district most extensive in area, and offering many hardships during the cold and stormy season of travel. I trust that, after many years of conscientious endeavor in the public service, my claim to adequate remuneration will be favorably regarded.
I have the honor, etc.,
THE PROTESTANT CENTRAL BOARD OF EXAMINERS.
The next examination of candidates for teachers' diplomas will open Tuesday, 30th June next, at 9 a.m.
The local centres, deputy examiners and places of meeting are as follows:
Candidates for Elementary and Model School Diplomas may present themselves at any of these centres, but candidates for Academy Diplomas are required to present themselves at Montreal, Quebec or Sherbrooke. They are required to make application for admission to examination to the Secretary of the Board (Rev. Elson I. Rexford, Quebec) on or before the first of June next. The regulation requires only fifteen days' notice, and candidates giving such notice will, of course, be admitted. But as it is almost impossible to make all the preparations necessary on fifteen days' notice, candidates are earnestly equested to file their applications before the first of June.