3 OCTOBER 1874, Page 8


IN the month of April last, Captain Nolan moved for a IL Return showing the number of Certificated Teachers, male and female, in England and Scotland; and the number of Principals of National Schools in Ireland, their average salaries in each case, the sources from which those salaries are derived, and the number in each country that are given rent-free houses. The Return was issued a few weeks ago, and a very instructive document it is. It will be noted that for Great Britain the Return includes all Certificated Teachers, in whatever capacity

employed, whereas for Ireland it is confined to the heads of schools. But if we reckon the paid monitors as teachers, the assistant-teachers in Ireland are more numerous than their principals. Even excluding the monitors, as, of course, we ought, for the purpose of this comparison, the assistant- teachers proper, the junior assistants, and the work-mis- tresses are very nearly half as numerous as the heads of schools. The Irish Teachers included in this Return, then, it will be seen, are the better-paid of their class,— the men and women of attainments, character, and ex- perience, such as, in the judgment of the National Board, qualify them to take entire charge of their respective schools. Bearing these facts in mind, the comparison will be found extremely instructive, both as explaining the comparative failure of the Irish National School system, after forty years' trial, and also as illustrating the penny-wise and pound-foolish economy by which we so often contrive to defeat our best intentions towards Ireland.

As those who know anything about the matter will be pre- pared to learn, Scotland is the most liberal of the Three Kingdoms towards her Teachers, and she reaps her reward in the superior intelligence of her children, and their greater power of adapting themselves to circumstances and of making their way in the world. The average salary of Certificated Masters in Scotland is £110 7s. 10d. ; in England, only £103 10s. 10d. ; while in Ireland, that of the head male teachers is no more than £56 10s. 7d., barely more than half the salary paid in Scotland. In absolute amount, it will be observed, the Scotch salary is considerably larger than the English. But when the greater cost of living in England than in Scotland is called to mind, it will be apparent that the position of a teacher north of the Tweed is better than it is south of that river by very much more than the mere difference of pounds received. As for the Irish salary, it is obvious that no really competent man will continue in a profession which requires him to live on a London scavenger's wages. Again, we find that in Scotland 1,036 certificated masters, out of a total of 1,549, or about two-thirds, have houses rent-free ; in England, the proportion is 3,920 out of 7,629, or a little over one-half ; in Ireland, it is only 807 out of 3,610, or considerably less than one-fourth. Scotland, therefore, pays her teachers very nearly two pounds for every one Ireland pays, and of the teachers thus doubly better paid, she houses nearly three rent-free for every one that Ireland so houses. In the case of the Female Teachers the disparity is not so great as in that of the males, though it is still very great. The women's salaries are,—England, certificated mistresses, £62 9s. 11d. ; certificated infants' mis- tresses, £60 8s. 7d. ; Scotland, £58 14s. 4d., and £60 13s. ld. It appears, therefore, that in Scotland infants' mistresses are paid more highly than the teachers of elder girls. And it appears further that in absolute amount the English salaries of teachers of elder girls are higher than the Scotch. But allowing for the greater cost of living in this country than in Scotland, there can be no doubt, we should think, that even in this instance the Scotch salaries are really the most remu- nerative. In Ireland, the average salaries of head female teachers are only £45 14s., or about three-fourths of the salaries of infants' mistresses in Great Britain. The proportion pro- vided with rent-free houses in Ireland, as before, is under one-fourth. In Great Britain it is twice as high in the case of certificated mistresses, but in the case of infants' mis- tresses it is not very much higher than in Ireland. In Eng- land, however, the infants' mistresses are only about half the number of the others, and in Scotland less than the quarter.

At their first institution, the Irish National Schools wer a great improvement on the old Hedge-schools, which at the time were almost the only places of instruction open to the Catholic population, but it is idle to deny that they have long ceased to meet the requirements of the country. More than an entire generation has now passed away since they were first established, but a considerable proportion of the people are still unable to read. A very large number of boys and girls at this moment are growing up without instruc- tion of any kind, and even of those whose names are on the school registers the attendance is so irregular that two out of every three receive practically no edu- cation. And the quality of fhb teaching given even to the third is so poor that not only are the sectarian schools, such as those of the Christian Brothers, on the one hand, and of the Church Education Society on the other, preferred by parents, but in many parts of the country even the Hedge- schools themselves maintain a successful competition with the institutions patronised by priests and Government alike. These Hedge-schools are looked coldly upon by the priests, are dis- countenanced by the gentry, are unaided by the Government, and are regarded with suspicion by the police. They receive no contributions from friends, and possess no endowments, un- less we consider as such the loan of an empty barn, without window, chimney, or made floor, while the farmer does not need it for storing his corn. Yet they maintain themselves in considerable numbers, face to face with the National Schools. And they would push the latter harder even than they do, but for the fact that the Hedge schoolmaster must insist upon a fee, whereas the National School teacher can manage to exist on the salary granted by the Board. The figures we have quoted above sufficiently account for this state of things. The National Board has elaborated a very complete and ad- mirable scheme for the training of Teachers. By means of the Monitorial system, and of the district and central model schools, pupils who distinguish themselves at the ordinary schools can receive a really excellent education. But by the time the young men have completed the course, they have discovered their value in the labour market. Accordingly, some compete for Civil- Service appointments, some enter commercial houses, and some emigrate to the United States and the Colonies, where they speedily carve out for themselves useful and honourable careers. But few enter the service of the Board that has trained them, and the few are yearly becoming fewer. The fact is a capital illustration of our mode of dealing with Ireland. As the Board finds that it cannot retain properly-trained teachers, it has de- vised a plan for drawing such as it can get to Dublin, where in attendance upon a few lectures they may pick up a rudimentary idea of teaching-methods. But even this imperfect training gives the teachers such value in the market, that most of them are no longer content with a pittance which little exceeds that against which our farm-labourers struck the other day. The final result is that out of 9,802 teachers of all classes in the service of the Board last year, only 3,518, or little more than one-third, had received any kind of technical preparation, even the most elementary, for the responsible work of training the dawning intelligence of the future men and women of Ireland. How many of these trained teachers are women we are not told, but we venture to assert that it will be found, when the in- formation is given, that the number of men is extremely small The cause of this failure in the National system is the same as that which has shipwrecked so many of our well-intended efforts for the improvement of Ireland. We have applied to that country principles which work fairly well in England, without first ascertaining that the conditions necessary for success existed at the other side of St. George's Channel. The English population is homogeneous, and the gentry conse- quently take an interest in the affairs of their poorer neigh- bours, and are willing to assist the schools in person and with money. But in five-sixths of Ireland the gentry would much more readily subscribe for the expatriation than for the in- struction of the poor, yet the Irish Government affects to believe that voluntary local contributions will be forthcoming in aid of the Parliamentary grant. The affectation is of the hollowest, for everyone acquainted with Ireland knows very well that no such thing will happen. But apparently it is thought statesmanship at " the Castle " to pretend to ignore in this one matter alone the mutual hatred of Irish landlords and tenants. The result is that while the voluntary contribu- tions in England amount to £539,502 against £772,071 of national funds—or over two-thirds — and in Scotland to £66,594 against £100,370, in Ireland the subscriptions from others than the manager counts for 11s. 74d. in a salary of £56 10s., or for about twopence in the pound. The manager, it is true, subscribes 18s. 5d., but we need not remind the reader that, speaking generally, the manager in Ireland means the priest, and as he has no income but what is derived from the offerings of his congregation, the manager's subscription, in nine cases out of ten, is neither more nor less than a rate im- posed by the priest upon his parishioners. We have accepted the statement of this Return as showing accurately the salaries of the Teachers. We should explain, however, that in the £56 10s. is included an item of £14 which is paid as " results fees." Now these " results fees " were granted for only three years, and though it is wordily possible that they will be dis- continued, it ought still to be understood that unless the grant is renewed, they expire this year. Up to three years ago, then, the average salary of a head male teacher in Ireland was only £42 10s., or less than 16s. 6d. a week, and the increase was expressly made for no more than three years. Again, it ought to be explained that to eke out the £56 10s. there are included, besides the salary proper for day and evening schools and good- service salaries, such items as " gratuities," in their nature essen- tially precarious, commissions on the purchase of books allowed by the Board, and even the profits from school gardens and farms. Again, the whole number of teachers are not provided with schoolrooms ; as many as 263 men and 110 women have to pay rent for their schools. Deduction on this account is, however, made in estimating the salaries. But no deduction is made for the rent of residences, and seventy-eight out of every hundred have to provide themselves with houses out of the wretched guinea a week, or thereabouts, which is thought a sufficient remuneration, without prospect of increase or pro- motion, for the weary and responsible work of forming the minds of boys, and instilling habits of discipline into them at the unruliest period of their lives.