Douglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrie.

The evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors online

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the school it can expect from the State. The national office recom-
mends that the committee try to make it possible for men to begin
their vocational training while they are receiving " functional re-

The notice issued by the national office states further that the de-
partmental committee should open a bureau of information to
maimed men on the subject of any new inventions or improvements
of existing apparatus which come to its notice. It should also give
out information to help men to understand the workings of any laws
from which they might benefit. For instance, to the man who de-
cides to settle on the land it should explain the system of rural
credits; to the town workman, the laws relative to cheap dwellings',
insurance, and workingmen's pensions. Any new laws passed by
the national assembly concerning the mutiles should be made known
to them.

When the work of aiding the mutiles in a department is too exten-
sive for a single committee there should be organized local committees
having the same relationship to the departmental committees as these
have to the central office.

While the excellent plans for an adequate and uniform system of
reeducation which have been worked out by the national office have
not all been carried into effect, they show what French reeducational
experts hope to accomplish and the methods they consider best to
employ. Greater authority will have to be given to the national
office if it is to realize its program. "

No mention has been made in this section of the placement activi-
ties of either the central office or the departmental committees, since
the subject of placement is to be considered in a later section.



Methods of Providing Instruction.

Almost all of the schools in France are boarding schools, and com-
prise workshops, classrooms, dormitories, and dining halls. M. Her-
riot, acting on the principle that good living makes men capable of
good work, adopted the boarding school or internat system for his
school at Lyons. A majority of the schools afterwards formed fol-
lowed his example. This system is generally believed to be the best
suited to the needs of the French mutile. The arguments in its favor
have been summed up by Dr. Carle, the first physician in chief of
the Lyons schools, as follows :

The advantages are incontestable. It affords an opportunity for complete
supervision, and for influencing the pupils morally as well as mentally. It
assures continuous work under the same masters. It makes discipline more
effective since there is a single authority over the men. Principles of hygiene
and right living can be inculcated, and a better chosen diet can be furnished
than is supplied in any workingmen's boarding house. Finally, teachers and
directors are enabled to know their pupils not only as workmen but as men,
and are therefore better able to help them through the difficulties and discour-
agements of the early period of training. 23

The National Institute at Saint-Maurice and the large schools at
Bordeaux, Montpellier, Saint-fitienne, and Rouen are examples of
the successful working of this system. Organized as internats, such
schools nevertheless receive as externes men living in the town and
in the adjoining convalescent institutions. 24

The comparatively few days schools which exist are largely guild
schools which have opened their doors to disabled men. 25 Among
these are the workrooms for mutiles organized in the rue des fipi-
nettes in Paris by the unions of tailors and shoemakers, and jthe
special courses started in their own school for apprentices by the
union of jewelry makers. Some other schools organized in Paris by
private philanthropists have also chosen to be purely externats.
Mme. David-Weill's school for woodworking is one, and the ficole
Eachel, for mechanics, founded by M. Rosenthal, is another. 28 These
schools furnish excellent instruction, but they are unable to super-
vise the living conditions or habits of their pupils. The danger is
that men living in cheap boarding houses will be distracted from
their work by the temptations of the town and will become irregular
in their attendance or discontinue their training altogether. Some-
s' Carle, M. : Les ecoles professionnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915, p. 28.

* Bourrillon, Maurice : Comment re'e'duquer nos invalldes de la guerre. Paris, 1916,

* Office national des mutiles et reformed de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1917,
p. 159.

" Weill, Mme. David : Les mutUGs et estropies de la guerre dans la menulserie et
quelques autres Industries du bols. Paris, 1917, p. S. ficole Rachel. Bapport. 1917.

57710°— 18 3


times an offer of employment which promises immediate support
causes them to give up the training which would place them eventu-
ally in a much better situation. Some of the disadvantages of the
day school are nullified when the men live in the town with their
families. 27

A third type of school, or rather a third method of furnishing
instruction, consists in placing men as apprentices in private shops
and in providing living accommodations for them in a general lodg-
ing or boarding house. A lodging house of this kind is maintained
in Paris, at 4 rue Rondelet, as an annex of the National Institute of
Saint-Maurice, for the benefit of men who wish to learn trades not
taught at Saint-Maurice. Special arrangements are made by the
National Institute with the employers in order to assure to the ap-
prentices a favorable reception and good instruction. 28 The system
has also been established at Tours, where the reeducation work was
organized by an association known as the Assistance aux convales-
cents militaires. Excellent results have been achieved here by reason
of the thorough supervision maintained over the apprentices by the
director of the work. 29

There also exists the system of placing men as apprentices in pri-
vate shops without providing living accommodations for them. Aid
societies which adopt this method of helping men to learn a trade
grant them a daily allowance for their maintenance during their
period of training. The Federation nationale d'assistance aux mu-
tiles and the Aide immediate have helped men in this fashion. 80

Many objections have been urged against the apprenticeship system
by the advocates of the schools. Certain advantages in the system are
conceded — workshops do not have to be acquired and fitted up; an
infinite variety of trades can be taught; there is immediate place-
ment ; and the men live and work under more or less normal condi-
tions. But the prevailing opinion is that the disadvantages outweigh
the advantages ; that trade training can be profitable to disabled men
only when it is carried on in a regular school. Unless men are housed
in an institution, there is a complete absence of supervision over their
habits of life. Irregular attendance and an interrupted course are
the danger here, as they are in a day school. Furthermore, men
placed with private employers may or may not secure good instruc-
tion. In order to make sure that each one of, say, a hundred men
placed with a private employer does receive the proper training there
must be a very complete system of inspection and control. An em-
ployer or foreman may h ave good intentions toward an apprentice

* Carle, M. : Les ecoles professionnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915 p 27

* Bittard, A. L. ; Les ecoles de blesses. Paris, 1916, p. 108.

"Harper, Grace S. : Vocational reeducation for war cripples In France. New York
1918, pp. 59 — 60. *

" Musee Galliera. Paris, 1916, pp. 18, 24.


and yet not take the pains to arrange the man's work so that he will
learn all the steps of the trade in a reasonable length of time. Or an
apprentice may be considered simply as another hand — cheap labor
to be used for all he is worth. 31

Pupils: When and How Obtained.

There is not a perfect agreement in France as to when a man
should begin his vocational reeducation. Should the reeducation
schools accept as pupils only those men who are completely cured of
their wounds and who have either received their discharge from
the army or are on indefinite leave awaiting their discharge? Or
should men be allowed to take up training during their convalescence,
while they are inmates of a military hospital? A number of the
schools announced definitely at first that they would accept as pupils
only men who were cured. The Eeole Joffre. the Ecole de Tourvielle,
and the schools at Saint-Etienne, Rouen, and Montpellier, among
others, took this stand. 32 Their guiding principle in this decision was
their belief that a man can not devote all his energies to learning a
trade while he is undergoing treatment for his injuries. Mme. Weill,
in a report to the interallied conference, expressed her fear that men
who start work at a trade too soon will find it so difficult or so pain-
ful that they will give up the attempt for good. 33 On the other hand,
the medical service, as has been seen, has annexed schools to hospitals
of physiotherapy in order to make it possible for men to start their
training while undergoing the final stages of their treatment. Exist-
ing schools utilized for this purpose have, therefore, had to revise
their rulings. Some of the most distinguished specialists in France,
among them Prof. Amar, Dr. Bourrillon, and Dr. Gourdon support
the Government in its belief that functional and vocational reeduca-
tion can be dovetailed. 34

Cooperation between hospital and school has from the beginning
been successfully carried out at Saint-Maurice and in the schools
organized by the Union des colonies etrangeres at the Grand Palais
and Maison- Blanche. And the schools at Montpellier and Bordeaux,
since their annexation to hospitals, have _ found their usefulness

31 Carle, M. : Les <5coles professionnelles de Messrs. Lyon et Paris, 1915, pp. 22-26.

32 Ibid., p. 32, and Breuil, I. . L'Ecole professionnelle des blesses de la guerre a Rouen.
Rouen, 1916, p. 19. Jeanbrau, fimile : L'Ecole professionnelle des blesses de la XVI e
region ft Montpellier. Montpellier, 1916, p. 32. Ecole professionnelle des blesses mili-
taires du departement de la Loire. Saint-Etienne, 1917, p. 10.

38 Conference interallied pour 1' etude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui interessent les lnvalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 167.

M Ibid., p. 167, and Bourrillon, Maurice : Comment r^Sduquer nos invalides de la guerre.
Paris, 1916, p. 93. Office national des mutiles et retoimes de la guerre. Bull. No 1.
Paris, 1917, p. 51.


increased. 86 A statement is found in a recent book on the Ecole de
Tourvielle by its director, M. Gustave Hirschf eld, that " it is to be
hoped that some day physiotherapy will be installed at Tourvielle, as
the combination of functional treatment with trade training has
everywhere yielded good results." 36

According to present French opinion there are very great advan-
tages to the men themselves of commencing their training as early
as possible in their convalescence. For one thing, the men are set
to work and made interested in a trade before they have had an
opportunity to form bad habits of idleness and intemperance. 37 For
another their cure is often hastened by the lift to their spirits and
the exercise of their muscles occasioned by the work. 38 Then, too,
many more men can be induced to take up training at this stage
than later, when they have returned to their homes.

Schools which take only discharged soldiers have found it difficult
to get men to embrace the opportunities offered. A few schools, as,
for instance, the famous Lyons schools, which have attained a great
reputation throughout the country, may have a waiting list of appli-
cants, but in general the schools have had to resort to all kinds of
advertisement in order to obtain pupils. They have used advertise-
ments in newspapers, notices posted in hospitals, handbills, and
postcards, and have still been disappointed in the response. 39 In an
endeavor to increase the schools' sphere of usefulness the minister of
the interior presents to each man discharged from the army a booklet,
which informs him of the schools in the different parts of the country
to which he can go for training and urges him to take advantage of
one of them. The booklet contains a list of the trades taught in
each school and the average wages in each trade, and men are told
exactly what steps they should take to secure admission to any
desired course. Three photographs in the booklet show maimed men
at work. 40

In order to reach men who have returned to their homes the Gov-
ernment conducts reeducation propaganda in the form of illustrated
lectures, moving pictures, and posters. 41 And it urges prefects and
mayors to do everything possible to induce men to take up training.

" Gourdon, J. : Rapport general sur l'ecole pratique et normale de reeducation profes-
sionnelle des mutiles et estropies de guerre de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1917, pp. 7-8.
Bulletin de l'oeuvre des mutiies de la guerre de la XVI" region, 1" Octobre, 1916.
Montpellier, 1916, p. 36.

" Hirschfeld, Gustave : Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, p. 72.

" Office national des mutiles et rtformes de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1917, p. 50.

» Reeducation fonctionnelle et reeducation professionnelle des blessfe. Paris' 1917
p. 193.

» Conference interallied pour letude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui intereressent les lnvalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 164. OSuvre nlvernaise des
mutiles de la guerre. Nevers, 1917, p. 13.

40 Norman, Sir Henry : The treatment and training of disabled and discharged soldiers
in France. London, 1917, pp. 32— S3.

«Ibld.. p. 8.


In some of the departments the prefect collects from the mayors of
the different communes in his department the lists of disabled sol-
diers and their present means of existence. He then summons to-
gether at the prefecture those who could benefit from reeducation
and explains to them what opportunities are open to them. 42

In spite of the campaign of propaganda and the obvious advan-
tages to be gained from trade training an investigation conducted
by the national office showed that in June, 1916, the number of men
in reeducation schools was extremely small when compared with
the number of mutiles incapable of resuming their former occupa-
tions. Lack of facilities for reeducation was not the cause of this
situation, for the national office further reports that the existing
schools could take care of all the demands for training that might
be made on them. 43

The difficulty lay rather with the men themselves. Many men
refused to enter upon a course of training through fear that if their
earning capacity were increased their pensions would be correspond-
ingly diminished. Others became demoralized by the adulation and
pity of their family and friends and thought that no work should
be expected from men who had sacrificed so much for their country.
Still others looked forward to obtaining a small place with the
Government, a sinecure in which they could putter comfortably for
the rest of their lives. For the widely current belief that reeduca-
tion would affect a man's pension there was absolutely no foundation,
and the Government has recently contradicted it in public announce-
ments by the different ministries and in notices to disabled soldiers.
A definite statement that "in no case shall the amount of the pen-
sion be reduced because of vocational reeducation or readaptation to
work " is incorporated in the Eameil law, which first passed the
Chamber of Deputies in April, 1916, and finally became law in
January, 1918. 44 Furthermore the minister of the interior has
ruled that the final adjustment of pension claims shall be effected
more rapidly for men in vocational schools than for any. others. 46

After it was decreed that schools should be organized in connec-
tion with hospitals of physiotherapy and prosthetic equipment and
that certain existing schools should be annexed to hospitals it became
easier for those schools to recruit their pupils. In the combined
centers, as they are now managed, a list of the entrants in the hos-
pital is turned over to the director of the school. The director then
calls the men together, talks with them in a friendly way, and secures

43 Conference interallied pour l'fitude de la reeducation prefessionnelle et des questions
qui Interessent les Invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1917. p. 164.

« Office national des mutiles et r&ormes de la guerre. Bull. No. 1. Paris, 1917,
pp. 10, 22.

"Journal des mutiles, rSformes, et vlctimes de la guerre. Paris, 1918, No. 50, p. 2.

* Office national des mutiles et rtformes de la guerre. BuU. No. 1. Paris, 1917,
p. 167.


the promise of as many of them as possible to take up some course
of training suited to their tastes and abilities. Often those who
hold out have their resistance overcome by the example of their com-
rades. Dr. Kresser, head of the school at Maison-Blanche, writes :

The best recruiting agency for the schools is the example of the man who
works at a trade during the day and who, on his return to his pavilion in the
evening, tells his companions what he has been doing and what he has earned."

Men in hospital can also be influenced by doctors and nurses and
by the visitors delegated by the departmental committees.

As proof of the increased usefulness of schools when attached to
hospitals, Dr. Gourdon, who is head of the reeducation school at
Bordeaux, states that at its beginning, when the school received only
discharged soldiers, 80 per cent of the men to whom it offered an
opportunity for training refused to avail themselves of it, whereas
after the school was attached to the hospitals of physiotherapy and
prosthetic equipment in the city, the number of refusals was reduced
in two months to 6 per cent, and at the present time is zero. 47 Testi-
mony to the same effect is supplied by M. Chancrin, in his report on
agricultural reeducation contributed to the interallied conference.
The National Agricultural School, he declares, was able to render
really valuable service only after a hospital of physiotherapy was
installed in the vicinity and the men undergoing treatment there
were received as pupils.* 8

When men in hospital who are taking training in an annexed
school have completed their functional cure or received their pros-
thetic appliance, they are recommended for discharge from the army.
They can then, if they wish, demand to be sent to their homes, in
which case their training will be broken off; or they can ask to be
sent to some other school not annexed to a hospital; or they can
remain until they have finished their course. 49

Support of Men During Training.

Before men are recommended for discharge they, are, of course,
still soldiers, and their support is borne by the ministry of war. If
after their recommendation for discharge they enter or remain at a
reeducational school, some other agency provides their maintenance.

The greater number of the large schools on the internat v plan
furnish instruction, board, and lodging, and usually clothing and

" Conference interallied pour retude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui interessent lea invalldes de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 164.

« Gourdon, J. : Rapport general sur l'ecole pratique et normale de reeducation profes-
sionelle des mutlies et estroples de guerre de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1917, pp. 7-8.

«• Conference interallied pour retude de la reeducation professionnelle et des questions
qui lnteressent les invalldes de la guerre. Paris, 1917, p. 213.

« Journel des mutiies, reformes, et blesses de guerre. Paris, 1916, No. 13, p. 5.


laundry free of charge. No deduction is made from a man's pension
for these benefits, but if instead of a pension he is drawing the tem-
porary allowance of 1 franc 70 centimes a day granted to men await-
ing their discharge at home, he has the sum of 1 franc 20 centimes
a day deducted from his allowance. 60 This would seem to be an
injustice to men, the settlement of whose pension is pending, but the
minister of the interior has ruled that as the sum is granted for
maintenance to men awaiting their discharge at home instead of in
a hospital, it can not be given to men who are being supported by the
State in a reeducation school. 61 As soon as their pension begins, no
deduction is made from it to defray the cost of their training. Up
to that time the family continues to draw the separation allowance.
Afterwards, if the separation allowance was larger than the pension,
the difference between the two is added to the pension during the
man's period of training. The length of the period of training dur-
ing which the family draws this benefit is determined by the depart-
mental committee. 62

The large internat schools have found that the average cost per
pupil per day for maintenance and instruction is about 5 francs. 68

In the day schools instruction is free, and maintenance is usually
provided by one of the large aid societies, such as the Federation
nationale or the Aide immediate. No deduction is made from either
the temporary allowance or the pension and the society grants in
addition 3 francs 50 centimes or 4 francs a day. It holds up its grant
if the pupil is absent from school without cause. 54

The present scale of pensions in France is based on an old law
dating from 1831 and is admittedly inadequate to present-day needs.
The Government has recognized the deficiencies of the pension sys-
tem and has brought forward a bill embodying a comprehensive
scheme of revision, but for one reason or another the passage of the
bill has been delayed and it is still under consideration by the Na-
tional Assembly. Under the old law now in force the permanent
pension of a common soldier is from 600 to 975 francs a month, ac-
cording to the degree of his disability. 56

» Hirschfeld, Gustave : Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, p. 62. Jeanbrau, fimile : L'ficole pro-
fessionnelle des blesses de la xvi e region a Montpellier. Montpellier, 1916, p. 55. Bour-
rillon : Comment re^duquer nos invalides de la guerre. Paris, 1916, pp. 96-97. C3uvre
nivernaise des mutlliSs de la guerre. Nevers, 1917, p. 8.

51 Carle, M. : Les ficoles professlonnelles de blesses. Lyon et Paris, 1915, p. 104.

M Journal des tnutiles. r6form£s, et victimes de la guerre. Paris, 1918, No. 60, p. 2.
Lol du 2 Janvier, 1918.

»» Bourrillon, Maurice : Eapport sur l'lnstltut national de Saint-Maurice, 1917, p. 13.
Devllle, A. : Eapport sur le fonctlonnement de l'ecole de reeducation de la place du Pults-
de-1'Ermlte. Paris, 1916, p. 20. Hirschfeld, Gustave : Tourvielle. Lyon, 1917, p. 72.

" Musee Galllera. Paris, 1916, pp. 18, 24. ficole Rachel. Rapport. 1917, p. 1.

" Harper, Grace S. : Vocational reeducation for war cripples in France. New York,
1918, pp. 19-22.



In many sehools wages are paid, beginning with 50 centimes or 1
franc a day and reaching later 4 to 6 francs a day. In others the
product of the workshop is sold and the proceeds, less the cost of the
raw materials, are divided among the workmen. 66 . This is the case at
Saint-Maurice, where a half of the sum thus earned is paid out at the
end of every fortnight, and the other half saved by the school and
paid to the man in a lump sum when he leaves. At Tourvielle the
value of the labor put into articles made in the shops is paid for
whether the articles are sold or not, the money being divided among
the workmen at the end of every month according to their productive
capacity. Men are encouraged to save at least a part of it so that
when they leave they will have money to buy needed tools or equip-

At Saint-Claude, in the school for diamond cutters, pupils are paid
2 francs a day during the first month, and then a gradually increas-
ing sum until during the sixth month they earn 4 francs a day.
During the next three months they receive 75 per cent of the average
wages of a workman outside, and during the eleventh and twelfth
months full wages, less 50 centimes a day for the running expenses
of the shop. In this school, however, pupils are required to pay a

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 4 of 38)