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PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.

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The first edition being exhausted, this volume is reprinted with a few trifling corrections, for the convenience of those who may still wish to refer to the experience gained at Exeter in 1857. I have added the Regulations adopted by the Universities of Cambridge and Durham, together with such information as I have been able to obtain of similar measures in progress under the authority of the Board of Trinity College, Dublin, in order to complete the record of the first attempts to bring the honours of the Universities to bear on what is called “ Middle Class Education.”

The general similarity between the Regulations of the two elder Universities in England is a gratifying result of the unreserved intercourse which took place between the Oxford Delegates and the Cambridge Syndicate last autumn,

The Cambridge Regulations are remarkable for the elegant precision which is characteristic of all that emanates from that University. The mathematical subjects so clearly marked out, and the text-books in literature so well selected, cannot fail to give useful direction and support to the efforts of teachers hitherto beyond the range of University influence.

* The following extract from an article in the College Magazine, Dublin, written by Dr. Shaw, Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, Dublin, gives, in a few words, a striking explanation of this vague term :

“ The phrase • Middle-Class Education’ may seem at first sight to be indefinite in meaning, inasmuch as the different sections of our middle class exhibit the widest diversity in the kind and amount of education which they receive. But much of this indefiniteness will disappear from the expression when the adjective • middle-class’ is understood to apply, not so much to the individual educated, as to the education itself,—as one lying between the high culture attainable at a University and the humble rudiments acquired at a parish school. It is an education, then, which, while it does not aspire to make philosophers or scholars, yet aims at qualifying a man for higher work than that of hewing wood and drawing water ; one which fairly develops his faculties of observation, of judgment, of reasoning; which enables him to bring some intelligence to the affairs of his office, his shop, or his farm; which prepares him for the ordinary duties of a citizen in a free state, and gives independence to his vote and weight to his opinion. Such an education need not involve a knowledge of Greek, of Metaphysics, or of the higher Mathematics; but it ought to bestow some command over English and French, some insight into History, Political Economy, and Physical Science, and some power of enjoyment in the fields of Literature and Art.”

The difference in some of their details between the Cambridge and Oxford Regulations has been made the subject of public comment at one of the most important centres of local examination. It

may

therefore be well to state what they are. I. As regards the conditions and the results of the Examination, there are three points to be noted : the age of the Candidates, the fees to be paid, the honour to be awarded to successful Candidates.

II. As regards the matter of the Examination, the Cambridge scheme differs from that of Oxford chiefly with reference to the examination in Religious knowledge and (as regards the junior candidates only) in English.

Age of Candidates.The age of the senior Candidates is in both cases the same, namely, under eighteen years. Both Universities refuse to affix their stamp on education, after eighteen, without residence.

Cambridge allows the junior Examination to be passed till the age of sixteen, yielding, it is presumed, to the strong representations which reached both Universities in favour of extending the period fixed by Oxford at fifteen. These representations are supposed to have come chiefly from the higher or classical schools. The effect of allowing an extension of age to the boys will probably be to let in a large number of candidates from the grammar-schools to compete with the best boys from commercial schools. It may be doubted whether this is an advantage, and whether, as regards one primary object of the Examinationviz. the improvement of schools for those who are preparing for trade and agriculture—the results of change will not be in the wrong direction. After a few years, if it shall be found that the effect of the University Examinations has been to elevate the general standard of commercial education, and that adequate motives exist to induce parents in the lower middle ranks to spare their sons from trade for another year, the line which is now drawn, in consistency with real distinctions in society, at fifteen, may perhaps be drawn more correctly at sixteen. I have reason to believe that the age at present fixed by Oxford is satisfactory to eminent commercial schoolmasters.

Fees.-It is a natural consequence of the nearer approximation of the ages of the senior and junior Candidates in the Cambridge scheme that a uniform fee of 20s. has been fixed for both classes, instead of two fees—one of 30s., the other of 10s. If it is thought desirable to discourage commercial scholars among the

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