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one mile, in a wold: they cannot consolidate if there be marsh or river impassable at any season : if the number be too great, namely, more than a hundred scholars to a teacher, the union is disallowed. Perhaps in this monarchy, the number of children under instruction reaches the most perfect figure. Take its population at 12,726,823 souls, the report of its last census. Of this number there were, in 1831, 4,767,072 children up to the age of full fourteen years. Now the calculation is, that out of one hundred children, from one day old to fourteen years of age, about fortythree are between seven and fourteen years,—which is the appointed period for attendance. This table gives us the sum of 2,043,030 in course of instruction. The official returns are very complete as to the efficiency of the law: for in that very year, there were, 2,021,421, leaving a deficiency of only 21,609: a deficiency we may easily suppose to be made up of children, imbecile, aristocratic, in foreign schools, or in native private establishments. The number is, therefore, generally taken from the estimates of Prussia, which is deemed the true index, or the just ratio, of instruction to population, -one in six upon the whole. These can all read and write, or are learning to read and write.
Does education in the free schools embrace general elements of knowledge ?
Instruction, except in very particular cases, is not confined to reading and writing, -- these humbler ac
quirements are thought much more of in Britain and France. In Germany they are esteemed very inadequate to improve the mind or morals.
Indeed, so universal are these branches of knowledge, that in Bohemia, beggar children are commonly found versed in them. In all the free schools, arithmetic and
general learning, together with religion, must be taught. There are several hundred infant schools, for the reception of destitute and vagrant children, and of those detected in venial offences, where all these instructions are enjoined. In most of the States, education is not limited to the legal course and period of the fourteenth year: it then takes another form, the religious training by pastors in the churches on the Sabbath and the Festivals.
What is taught of religion ?
This is considered the first thing in the universal system. Its matter and vehicle will differ according to the faith of the country. In the Protestant division of the country, the Bible is explained, Luther's Catechism is adopted, and generally a particular catechism belonging to each State. But the catechetical method is almost invariable.
Which are the States of the Confederation most, or least, advanced in the science and diffusion of education ?
Prussia, perhaps, may take the first place: some will contend for Wurtemburg, still more will urge the claims of Saxony, as its rival. Then we may arrange
Baden, Nassau, Weimar, Bavaria, and Austria. Those which are behind in the race are Mecklenburg, the Hanse Towns, Pomerania, some parts of Hanover, and the electorate of Hesse. Good public buildings, for this purpose, are found in almost all the states, but especially in Prussia, Saxony, the Rhenish provinces of Bavaria, Nassau, and Holstein.
Is the system legislative or voluntary?
Though each Country has its own statutes, all agree to make education strictly a business of government. It is as much considered the right of the government to interpose for this end, as to lay a tax and to require military service. It will be a proud day for the freeman when the right of rulers shall only be recognised as another name for their duty. It would be unjust to the great Diet of Germany, to deny that it conceives its education of the people to be both.
Is attendance compulsory or free?
The question which is most serious in a Country like ours, where there are such varieties of opinion and such oaths of liberty, does not excite any considerable jealousy in this. Its States are generally without constitutions. The people are accustomed to see every thing done by an Executive. They do not feel themselves competent, or have never been treated as if they were, to build bridges, make roads, or direct canals. They affect not the temerity of forming libraries and
Others think for them. Be it religion, be it education, --- strangely contrived to be always put
into one manifesto by the politician, and into one category by the philosopher, though two things were never more dissimilar, - they accept it, and quietly submit. The poor man, any man of humble life, is controlled, beyond doubt, in the education of his family. Education is police. Prussia, which seems to leave an opening for discretion in this case, - which only insists, according to law, upon the school attendance of all children if there be not satisfactory proof that this care is attended to at home, really and practically is inflexible. Its code speaks of the infliction of fine, imprisonment, and hard labour, upon the parent, who does not send his family, and upon all masters and guardians who may have the trust of children. It is military muster and parade !
The only exemptions which are allowed from the compulsory attendance, can be pleaded, in privilege, by very few. Domestic education is not of child by parent, but by tutor. The private school to which the child may be sent, involves serious expense. This latter institution is under government control and license. The poor man is left without a choice. It is a great excellence of this system that it is graduated : if the boy be capable, he is passed from the burgher school to the gymnasium, and, if capable still, he is transferred to the university.
How are the schools supported!
The public schools are sometimes possessed of funds; but as these are generally insufficient, they are
assisted by the State. These local funds arise either from a former excess of income, or from private liberality. Though called free, every child must pay. according to the ability of the parent. The Board receives the money, and a stated salary is pledged to the master, irrespective of the receipts from the pupils.
What are the means of obtaining competent schoolmasters ?
Prussia possesses sixty normal schools: a few are found in the smaller states, such as Gotha and Oldenburg: and there are some even in Mecklenburg and Hanover.*
It may be added, that in different parts of Germany there are schools and asylums expressly for the children of prisoners and state-culprits. There is great mercy in the conception of such establishments. A necessity is upon the government to withdraw such parents from their families: it does all it can to compensate for the disasters which follow the execution of its just decree. Such offspring lie under a social ban which devotes them to vice; a prejudice of scorn has already condemned them; the home is broken up; each avenue of success is shut against them ;-how reasonable, how equitable, as well as beneficent and kind, is such a provision !
* Much of the above information has been taken from Works by Dr. Kröger : viz. “ Travels through Saxony, Bohemia, and Austria,” 2 vols. “ Travels through Germany and Switzerland,” 2 vols. “ Remarks on the new French Laws on Education."