TEACHERS FOR SOUTH AFRICA.
ITO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.")
read a few days ago in an English newspaper that the offer of situations to one hundred trained women teachers for the concentration camps in South Africa came indirectly very recently before the London School Board at its weekly meet- ing. As I read the brief report I confess I felt not a little ashamed of the want of enlightened ideas on the part of the School Management Committee, who seem to stand in great need of a more liberal education themselves, seeing that "they had issued a notice in the official Gazette intimating that they could not hold out the assurance of reappointment to teachers who received one of the Government posts." Government servants, that is, if accepting a temporary post also under Government, and at no little sacrifice, to themselves, may not look forward to reinstatement at home after a year's laborious work amongst Boer children in South African camps. Verily the School Board Management Committee rival the War Office in their short-sighted and illiberal policy. The Yeomanry and the Volunteers have fared badly at the hands of the Government. Are the teachers to go and do likewise ? If ever a nation set an example of humane and enlightened treatment of its opponents in time of war, nay, even of the rebels against it (as the Boers now are), surely, Sir, we English have done so, whether wisely as a means of ending, or rather prolonging, the war is open to question, but the fact remains. There can, however, be no doubt of the immense influence for good on the rising generation of Boers that this policy of "women teachers" must have if carried out, and generations yet unborn will bless the day when their fore- fathers during the great war were cared for as little children by their large-hearted, large-minded conquerors; but what can be said of the narrow, short-sighted policy of the School Management Committee of the great London School Board. They should go to the daughter over the seas and learn wisdom. Why, Sir, I have met repeatedly during my sojourn abroad head-teachers from the normal schools in America, and from Honolulu, to whom the central authorities had granted a year's leave of absence, plus a sum towards travelling expenses, &c., to enable them to travel for twelve months in Europe! Crossing the ocean, in order to visit the best schools on the Continent, and the most renowned art galleries and architectural beauties in Paris, Dresden, Munich, Florence, Siena, and even as far as Rome! And this facility of visiting the art galleries is an especial boon to their art teachers, who also have to spend grants of money on purchasing large and good photographs of the most celebrated pictures and of the most beautiful architecture,. to be after- wards framed and hung up in their schools,_ in order to give the-giildren some idea of the beautiful and the mils- tic works which" the Old World has produced. Who can estimate the amount of good resulting from such a liberal policy? And be it remembered the posts of these head-teachers are kept for them, being filled during their absence by younger teachers, who are only too glad of the opportunity of showing what they can do when placed in responsible positions. If they acquit them- selves satisfactorily (and if you put young people on their mettle, it is usually the case that they respond), their own chances of promotion are increased. Meanwhile the head- teachers return to work with spirit greatly refreshed and mind.greatly enlarged, much to the benefit not only of their particular schools, but of all the schools. Reports are written of the tour and its experiences, and the bulk of the rank-and- file can benefit from the wide outlook over the educational horizon which the travellers have enjoyed. As I write I recall one instance of an art teacher from the Normal School at Honolulu, a little pathetic figure, hump-backed and very frail (one wondered how he ever got up and down the high steps of foreign railway carriages), very thin and spiritual of countenance, but full of the most intense enthusiasm for all the things of art and beauty on which his eye could rest, and of the keenest delight in looking forward to the large amount of "sweetness and light" he would be able to take home with him in the shape of personal reminiscence and record, as well as of beautiful photographic representations to be placed before the eyes of the children and the members of his art classes. How he rejoiced at the thought of the moral and mental culture such would be the means of instilling into the minds of his young compatriots. His wife was equally enthusiastic, and both worked hard at "sight-seeing," and kept full daily record of their holiday life. Would that our Education Department would awake to the fact that there are other and more excellent ways to be learnt from divers