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Report of the Select committee on education online

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Printed by Order of the House of Assembly.



CA.9. '07.] EDUCATION.



16th July, 1907.

ORDERED : That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire
into and report upon :

(ft) The curriculum in the public schools of the Colony, and
the provision made for technical instruction ;

(6) The scope and working of the school regulations now in
force concerning public schools under the School Boards;

(c) The grading of schools, and grants in aid ;
((?) The medium of instruction ;

(e) The financial system at present obtaining, more especially
with reference to the mode of liquidating the deficits ;

(/) The practical Examinations supplementary to the Exami-
nations conducted by the University, more particularly
< that of the practical Land Surveyors latterly held :

(</) The Examinations conducted by the University, and the
correspondence between the Education Department and
the University relating thereto :

with instructions to inquire and report as to any Amendments
which may be necessary in the School Board Act, 1905, and the
School Regulations now in force ; the Committee to have power
to take evidence and to call for papers, and to consist of Messrs.
De Waal, Hellier, Jagger, Mclntosh, Malan, Sauer, H. S. van Zyl,
Whitaker, the Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. Fremantle and Mr.

6th August, 1907.

ORDERED : That the Committee, which had adjourned until
Wednesday, 6th August, meet on Thursday, the 7th August, at
10 a.m.

ORDERED : That the Petition presented to the House on the
23rd July, on the subject of the Amendment of the School Board
Act in the direction of relief from the taxation of fixed property,
and the Petition from A. Bresler and others, inhabitants of Porter-
ville and Piquetberg, praying for the repeal of the School Board
Act, presented to the House on the 24th July, be referred to the




15th August, 1907.

ORDERED : That the Petition from the School Board of Stelleii-
bosch, presented to the House on the 7th instant, on the subject
of financial liability to the Rhenish Institute, be referred to the

ORDERED : That the Petition presented to the House on the
12th instant, from the Managers of the Good Hope Seminary
Public Day School, on the subject of the payment to them of the
Government Grant, be referred to t}\e Committee.

19th August, 1907.

ORDERED : That the Petition from J. H. Fourie and others,
inhabitants of Petrusville, praying that the School Boards Act of
1905 may be so amended that rates levied by Divisional Councils
to meet a deficit may be appropriated solely for the use of the
school area in which it was levied, be referred to the Committee.

22nd August, 1907.

ORDERED : That the Petition ot A. C. Meyer and others, on the
subject of Poor and Private Schools, presented to the Hoiise on
the 21st instant, be referred to the Committee.




SELECT COMMITTEE appointed by Order of the
House of Assembly, dated the 16th July, 1907,
to inquire into and report upon

(a) The curriculum in the public schools of
the Colony, and the provision made for
technical instruction :

(b) The scope and working of the school
regulations now in forcp concerning
public schools under the School Boards ;

(c) The grading of schools, and grants in aid ;

(d) The medium of instruction ;

(e) The financial system at present obtaining,,
more especially with reference to the
mode of liquidating the deficits ;

(/) The practical Examinations supplemen-
tary to the Examinations conducted by
the University, more particularly that of
the practical Land Surveyors latterly

(gr) The. examinations conducted by the Uni-
versity, and the correspondence between
the Education Department and the Uni-
versity relating thereto.

with instructions to inquire and report as to
any Amendments which may be necessary in
the School Board Act, 1905. and the School
Regulations now in force.

The Committee to have power to take evidence
and call for papers, and to consist of Messrs; D.B

Your Committee beg to report as follows :

I. The Curricidum in Public Schools and the
Provision made for Technical Instruction.

1. Your Committee strongly recommend the
'development of agricultural and technical instruc-
tion in the ordinary public schools and the exten-
sion of such instruction through industrial schools
and -continuation schools and classes in both urban
and rural districts, where practicable.

2. Your Committee favour the introduction of
moral instruction and of instruction in hygiene
into the public schools.

3. The Department of Education has already
proved its desire to promote education of the kind
referred to in section one by providing for courses
of domestic economy and other directly practical
subjects in the Cape Peninsula and elsewhere, and
it is now engaged in considering a scheme for the
development of the system of school gardens. Your
Committee recognize with satisfaction the spirit
thus evinced by the Department.

4. In the elementary standards .uniformity of
curriculum is to a great extent necessary. In the
higher standards greater elasticity is desirable.
At the present time adequate provision is not
made for this. This is due first to the influence of
the Matriculation Examination and the absence of
a School Leaving Certificate Examination, and
secondly to the fact that hitherto the curriculum
has been fixed not only in its general lines, but
also in its details by the Department of Education.

5. The University has for some time had under
consideration the establishment of a school-leaving
certificate. Its intention apparently was that the
examination should not only be on the same lines
as the Matriculation Examination, but should be
actually the same examination, with the substitu-
tion of alternative subjects for Latin and Mathe-
matics. AVheii this scheme was almost completed,


a difference of view arose between the University
and the Minister responsible for Education, as
shown in the correspondence referred to your
Committee (Appendix B). Your Committee
strongly recommend that there should be an alter-
native course for Matriculation in the C.G.H. Uni-
versity, involving an equal amount of preparation
and mental training with that required by the pre-
sent course, but substituting alternatives for Latin
and Mathematics, suitable to the requirements of
students of both sexes who do not desire to take
the existing course, and that either course should
be accepted by the Department as a qualification
preliminary to the Second-class Teachers' Certifi-

"6. While holding that the curriculum in public
schools should be fixed by the Department, your
Committee consider that due provision should be
made for local circumstances, and therefore urge
that school committees, after consulting the prin-
cipal teachers, should have the right to suggest
alternative curricula for standards above standard
Y. in the schools under their control ; that any
suggestions of this kind made by committees
should be sent to the School Board of the district
in which the schools concerned are situated, and
may be forwarded by' the Board to the Depart-
ment with any comments which the School Board
may desire to make on suggestion made by the
Committees in regard to the curriculum, and alsa
any suggestions which they may themselves desire
to make.

7. Your Committee recommend that School
Boards should be enabled to establish, or take
over, industrial and training schools, so as to
provide for the needs of their districts, and that
provision should be made to permit School Boards
to co-operate in establishing such schools. In
order to carry out this recommendation, it will be
necessary to amend section thirty - three of the
School Board Act of 1905.


8. Your Committee desire to impress upon all
concerned in education the extreme importance of
thoroughness in all instruction, but especially in
instruction in the use of language and in other
elementary subjects. At the same time, it trusts
that in re-organizing the curriculum due attention
will be paid by local authorities and by the Depart-
ment to the subjects referred to in sections one and
two of this report. It believes that the extension
of the principle of class inspection is desirable,
and should be adopted wherever possible. The
preparation of suitable text-books is a necessary
work, which the Government might well encourage
and promote by the offer of prizes for writers of
the best works of the kind.

77. School Regulations.

1. The various regulations of the Department are
now published in the form of a series of pamphlets,
and it appears that a new edition of Pamphlet No.
13, which deals with the issue of grants, has not
been printed since its publication in 1904. Your
Committee consider it important that all regula-
tions governing the payment of grants should
be readily accessible and recommend (1) hat
those pamphlets affecting such payments should be
kept up-to-date, and that at the end of each
Parliamentary session such fresh editions should be
published as may be necessary embodying any
new regulations that may have been passed i
(2) that where payments are made under regula-
tions not specially sanctioned by Parliament, and
the continuance of such regulations is desirable,
they should be duly submitted to and authorized
by Parliament at its next session.

2. Your Committee have had under considera-
tion the regulations referring to grants for Farm
Schools and have considered section thirty-six of
Act 35 of 1905, and are of opinion : (1) That the
principle that grants shall not be made unless the
farm school is three miles distant from any other


school is a sound one. but that there may be
circumstances in the topography of the country
which might render it advisable in special cases to
depart from this general rule, and therefore that
the regulation should be modified to meet such
cases : (2) that the last clause in sub-section (1)
of section thirty -six of the School Board Act
providing that the farmers " shall not be re-
sponsible for the salary of the teacher," be
repealed, and that a regulation be introduced
allowing School Boards to make such arrange-
ments as they think fit with the farmer,
subject to the approval of the Department, and
providing for quarterly advances of the Govern-
ment Grant to the School Board, such advances to
be refunded if the school is closed prior to the
annual inspection.

///. The Grading of Schools and Grant*- in- Aid.

Your Committee recommend that in the pamph-
let on grants there should be a statement of the
general differences between Public Schools of
the First, Second and Third Class. They are not
prepared to recommend at the present time any
general alteration in the present system of Grading
and of Grants as approved by Parliament. With
reference to the petition of A. C. Meyer and others
(Appendix K), they would discountenance any-
thing tending to encourage teachers to concentrate
attention on a few exceptional pupils, and consider
that School. Boards should endeavour to grade the
schools in their districts with a view to the greatest
economy and efficiency, and they advise that
School Boards should be empowered, subject to the
approval of the Department, to supplement the
grant now payable by the Government towards the
maintenance of children who arc boarded at board-
ing schools and whose circumstances require such
assistance. It regards the name ' Poor School " as
unfortunate, and would suggest that it would bo
Advisable to find another designation.


IV. The Medium of Instruction.

The use of either English or Dutch as the medium
-of instruction has been legal since 1882, when the
following regulation was passed : " So much of the
School Regulations contained in the Schedule to
the Education Act. 1865. as may be repugnant to
or inconsistent with the foregoing Regulations,
and so much as provides that the instruction
duirng the ordinary school hours shall be given
through the medium of the English language only,
is hereby repealed." In accordance with this regu-
lation, the following introductory note appears in
the official publications, containing the school
.curriculum : ' Pupils may take their standards
either in English or in Dutch. If both English
and Dutch be taken, only half of the English
and half of the Dutch Reading Book need
be prepared." The choice of the medium
of instruction is in the hands of the School
Committee. Your Committee are of opinion
that for teachers and inspectors a knowledge
of both languages is alw^ays desirable and
nearly -always necessary. It would, therefore,
recommend that, at any rate, all inspectors ap-
pointed in future should be required to show an
adequate knowledge of both languages, before their
appointment, if possible, and, if not, within a year
of their appointment. Your Committee would
point out that the Department has for many years
past instructed inspectors who were not qualified
in the Dutch language on appointment, to qualify
in that respect as soon as possible.

V. Finance.

1. Your Committee have it in evidence that the
'Government will not be able during the present
financial year to sanction increased expenditure on
school staffs or buildings or the lowering of fees.
It recognizes that the administration of the School
Board Act has been gravely prejudiced by the

financial and economic conditions of the country,
and the restricted amount consequently voted by
Parliament for educational purposes, and that the
present time is therefore unsuitable for con-
sidering the desirability of any large alteration of
the proportion of educational expenditure borne
by the central and local authorities respectively.

2. ^o complete statement of the accounts of all
the School Boards is procurable at present. It
appears that the initial deficiencies include in
many cases deficiencies of old School Committees.
Care has been taken not to include in these de-
ficiencies liabilities properly carried over to capital
account, but in some cases the deficiencies of the old
Committees were partly caused by charges on build-
ing loans, including redemption, and in such cases
these charges have been included in the initial de-
ficiencies of the School Boards. All the debts of
the old School Committees which have come under
the Board have been liquidated. Your Committee
approve of what has been done in this respect.

3. The regulations sanctioned by Parliament
under the Act of 1865, lay it down in regard to
manv grants from the Treasury that they are to

%f / /

be given on the for principle, the local sources
contributing the other half. This principle has
been departed from since the passing of the School
Board Act, the amount which should have been
contributed locally having been frequently re-
presented, in part at least, by an increase in the
deficit, half of which is defrayed by the Treasury.
On the other hand the Department itself has
not always paid the usual amounts until they
have appeared in the form of a deficit. Your
Committee find that there is some doubt as to
whether section seventy-two of Act 35 of 1905
overrides the regulations governing the payments
of the grants made under the Act of 1865, and
call the attention of Government and Parliament
to the position which now arises. Your Committee
are not prepared to submit a proposition dealing
with this point at the present time.


4. In estimating the deficits a purely cash basis
has been adopted. Your Committee do not see their
way to recommend that outstanding^ such as
school fees should be allowed for in the current
account of School Boards, but consider that
Government grants outstanding should be so
allowed for.

5. In the opinion of your Committee local
authorities should be required to pay any sums
owing by them to the School Boards within a
reasonable time of the presentation of the audited
account. This would involve the amendment of
Section seventy-two of the School Boards Act.

6. Under the present system School Boards have
a constant deficit. Your Committee recommend
that this evil be reduced by the payment of grants,
which shall not exceed 1 by Government for
every 1 contributed locally for maintenance and
for the salaries of School Board officers, and by
the payment of advances on account of the
Government's share of the probable deficits.

7. As regards the local contribution, sections
thirty-nine and seventy give the School Boards
power to fix the scale of school fees, subject to the
approval of the Department, in each school,
and section seventy-three allows the Divi-
sional Council or the Municipal Council to
impose an owner's rate, or an OAvner's and tenant's
rate combined. Considerable dissatisfaction ap-
pears to prevail among landowners in regard to a
system which in effect throws the rate entirely on
to the shoulders of property-owners. ( Vide Peti-
tion from A. Bresler and others. Appendix E.)
Your Committee recommend :

(a) That every School Board be required to

send a copy of its annual estimates and
accounts to the Divisional Council, or the
Municipal Council, as the case may be.

(b) That the books of every School Board bo
open to the inspection of every ratepayer.


8. Your Committee ha,A T e considered the Petition
from J. H. Fourie and others (Appendix I) and
approve of the proposal that where a fiscal divi-
sion is divided into two or more school districts,
the educational rates or taxes should be appro-
priated solely to that school district in which they
*ire collected. They also recommend, that section
four of the School Boards Act of 1905 be amended,
KO as to provide that the Governor should be
empowered, at the request of the School Boards
concerned, to unite as one school district separate
school districts in a single fiscal division. They
would not approve of the formation of school
districts, the boundaries of which are not coinci-
dent with those of any field-cornetcy.

9. Considerable difficulty appears to exist with
regard to the exemption of owners of property
occupied by persons of other than European
extraction from liability to pay the education rate
where there are no schools for persons of other
than European extraction. It appears to your
Committee that it is necessary to amend section


seventy-four of the Act. so as to provide that
where an education rate is collected in such cir-
cumstances, owners of property occupied by per-
sons of other than European extraction, should
have the right to demand a refund.

10. Your Committee recommend that the regu-
lations for the audit of School Board accounts
should not be issued until approved of by the
Auditor- General ; and that the audit under section
seventy-one of the School Board Act should be con-
ducted as therein stated. The accounts will then be
forwarded in the ordinary course to the Auditor-
General, who will report to Parliament as he sees
fit. A yearly statement should be presented to
Parliament showing for each School Board the
chief sources of revenue and the chief heads of
expenditure, and also the amount and nature of
.the assets and liabilities.


VI. The School Board Art of 1905.

1. Your Committee have been unable to deal wit li-
the important subject of native education. They
recommend that an inquiry into this subject
should be made as soon as possible.

2. There are other matters with which your
Committee do not at present feel able to deal.
Among these are the questions of the method and
form of local taxation for School Board purposes,
of provision for necessitous districts, and of ward
elections, and the right of members of School Boards
to contract with their respective Boards. Your
Committee feel that it would be undesirable to
alter the present system except where there is
ample evidence of the need for amendment and of
the adequacy of the alterations proposed.

3. There are other matters of a controversial
nature into which your Committee have not in-
quired further, believing that no good purpose
would be gained by discussion 011 these points at
the present time.

4. Your Committee regard it as a matter of great
importance that the legislature should be kept in
close touch with all that is being done in the way
of educational administration, and would recom-
mend the appointment of a Minister of Education
as soon as practicable.

VII. Tltc Land Ghirvey&r'B Examination.

1. Admission to the Surveyor's profession is
gained by passing a theoretical examination con-
ducted by the University and a practical exami-
nation conducted by the Survey or- General, who
now acts in concert with the Surveyors-General of
the Transvaal and Rhodesia.

2. The Surveyor-General has stated in evidence
that formerly the practical examination was
perfunctory and inadequate.

3. It having been decided to extend the range
of the examination, notice of the change was
given on August 2, 1906. At the examination in

March last, fifty- two out of fifty-five candidates
wore unsuccessful, and of the three who passed
two were " condoned."

4. The new arrangements were settled at a Con-
ference of Surveyors-General held at Bloemfontein
in February, 1906.

5. Yoiu 1 Committee consider that the notice given
of the change in the syllabus was inadequate, and
that the system of refusing to supply candidates
with a statement of their marks is unsatisfactory
and should not be continued. Your Committee
recommend that if practicable all who passed the
theoretical Surveyor's Examination before 1906
should be given an opportunity of passing the
practical examination under the old conditions,
and that the Surveyors-General should reconsider
the desirability of handing over the conduct of the
practical examination to the University, it being
understood that the University would work in
concert with the Surveyors- General.

VIII. The Examinations conducted by the Univer-
sity and certain correspondence betiveen the
Education Department and the University.

The correspondence referred to your Com-
mittee is* dealt with in an earlier section of this
Report (I. 5). Your Committee are of opinion that
the appointment of the Minister in charge of
Education as a member of the University Council
would tend to prevent mis-understanding, and,
therefore, recommend that legislative provision
for this should be made.

IX. The Rhenish Institute, Stellenbosch.

1. There are two First- Class Public Undenomi-
national Girls' Schools at Stellenbosch, known as
Bloemhof and the Rhenish Institute, The former
has always been a Public School. The latter was
founded in 1860 fifteen years before Bloemhof
but was a Private School until 1901, when it was
made a Public School. Building loans to the

extent of 23,000 were afterwards given to both
schools. There are now 335 girls at Bloemhof and
150 at the Khenish Institute. While the former is
able to pay its way, fears are entertained that the
latter cannot.

2. It appears that while the two girls' schools
in Stellenbosch could exist without difficulty but
for the large building loans, present circumstances
do not warrant the existence of building loans
amounting to 46,000 for these two schools, and
that for many years the Department has held the
opinion that the two schools should be managed

3. Under these circumstances, your Committee
recommend that the Government should consider
whether the Ehenish Institute building cannot be
used for some purpose other than that for which it
now exists, such as a Training Institute, but do
not recommend that any exception should be made
in the taking over of public school buildings in
any district by School Boards.

X. The Good Hope Seminary.

1. The Good Hope Seminary was established in
1873, and became a public school in 1888. Of the
original trustees only one, Mr. W. E. Moore, now
survives. The Board of Directors who control the
Boarding Department consisted originally of the
trustees and has been recruited, as vacancies have
occurred, by co-option of the surviving Directors.
The Directors are also managers of the school,
which is managed by a committee composed of

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Online LibraryCape of Good Hope (South Africa). Parliament. HousReport of the Select committee on education → online text (page 1 of 19)