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Bohemian Language and Correspondence 2 ... 2 ... 2

Practical Chemistry ... ... ... ... — ... — ... 4

Stenogi-aphy ... ... ... ... ... 2 ... 2 ... i

In Switzerland commercial education has taken much
the same direction as it has in England, that is to
say, the attempt has been made to graft it on to existing
institutions, and with only partial success. The three
best known of the Swiss Schools of Commerce are those
of Berne, Basle, and Geneva. The Berne School is simply
a higher department of the cantonal High School.

14



2l8 SCHOOLS AT HOME AND ABROAD

The boys of the age 10-15 years all pursue the same
course, which, including as it docs French and English,
gives them a good grounding in languages before they
commence their special commercial training when 15
years old. The subjects of instruction in the commercial
department, which course extends over two years, are : —
Physics, chemistry, knowledge of merchandise, drawing,
calligraphy, gymnastics, science of trade, history, geo-
graphy, counting house work and book-keeping, mathe-
matics, commercial arithmetic, German and religion.
Total number of hours of instruction each week is
37 in first, and 36 in second year. The tuition fee is
£2 8s. 4d. per annum.

At Basle a similar system is adopted, except that the
course extends over three years instead of two ; and is free.

In the year 1887, the city of Geneva established a
school of commerce quite distinct from the cantonal
High School. One-fifth of the annual expense of this
school is defrayed by fees, another fifth by the canton,
the remainder by the city itself

The subjects of instruction are French, German,
English, Italian, Spanish (last 3 optional), calligraphy,
drawing, book-keeping, mathematics, geography, his-
tory, physics, chemistry, civil law, insurance and tariffs,
and knowledge of merchandise.

A system of visiting and reporting upon various
mercantile establishments in the vicinity is in vogue,
and 8 hours a week are spent in the model counting
house. Total hours per week are 33 in first and second
years, and 34 in third year.

"As a model of a commercial ^continuation' school
may be mentioned the school in St. Gall, where French is
taught three hours a week throughout a four years' course.
English, Italian, German, penmanship, commercial



COMMERCIAL EDUCATION 219

arithmetic, discount, civics and other branches. In
summer the school is held from 6 to 8 a.m., in the
winter from 7 to 9 a.m., and from 6 to 9 p.m. in both
winter and summer. All utensils and stationery used in
the school are furnished by the teachers, for which, in
summer one franc, in winter two francs, are paid by
the student."

The commercial schools of France are of two kinds.
There are seven higher institutions corresponding closely
to the Austrian academies ; of these, two are in Paris,
and one each in Marseilles, Rouen, Havre, Bordeaux,
and Lyons. The lower class of commercial schools is
made up of four intermediate and primary Schools,
three of which are in Paris, and one in the provinces.
We take no account here of the French higher primary
schools, which give an excellent preliminary commercial
education.

Altogether there are in France eleven purely com-
mercial schools. Three of these are under the direction
of the Paris Chamber of Commerce, four are maintained
from private sources.

At Rouen the commercial school is connected with
the city school of science and art ; the Bordeaux
school is connected with the industrial school of that
city ; whilst the school of commerce at Rheims is directly
controlled by the Minister of Education. All these
schools, with the exception of the last, which has lost
all elasticity and become stereotyped, are leading a very
precarious existence, and everything points to the
management and support of these institutions being
taken over by the State. The schools are all subsidised
by the State to a certain extent — aid being given in the
form of maintenance scholarships and bursaries. A very
considerable proportion of the scholars are foreigners.



220



SCHOOLS AT HOME AND ABROAD



The age of admission is 15 years, and the complete
course extends over 3 years. To those candidates who
complete the stipulated course and pass the necessary
examinations, a diploma is awarded, whilst gold and
silver medals distinguish the clever students.

Those graduates who obtain this diploma, are by the
State exempted from one year's military service, whilst
all the resources of the schools are utilised to secure for
such good berths in the mercantile world.

The curriculum of these French Schools of Commerce
is



Su/'j'ects.



Hours per Week for each Course.





Second


\ Seeond


First


J 'ear :


Year:


Vear.


First


Second




Half.


Half.



Third
Year.



French ...
Mathematics
Accounting
Penmanship
Commercial Correspondence
Physical Geography
Commercial Geography
History ...

Commercial History
Physics ...
Chemistry
Mechanics
Natural History
Raw Materials
Technology
Commercial Law
Fiscal Legislation
Political Economy
Drawing-
Stenography
German
English ...
Spanish...
Italian ...
Industrial Visits



9

3
2



4i


2


44


3^


3
- >


3f
29


I


I


2





3


3

I

4


I


^\


I


I
I


3


3


4


4


3


3
I





I









a

4
I

2
I



- - 4



3i

I

I

3h



COMMERCIAL EDUCATION 221

This is how these French boys spend their day : —



5.30 to


6 a.m. ...


... Rising and making toilet.


6 to


8 a.m. ...


... Study in the class-rooms.


8 to


8.30 a.m. ...


Recreation and breakfast,


8.30 to


II. a.m. ...


Lessons.


n to


12.30 a.m. ...


... Luncheon and recreation.


12.30 to


2.0 p.m. ...


... Lessons.


2 to


2.30 p.m. ...


Recreation.


2.30 to


5 p.m. ...


... Lessons.


5.0 to


7.0 p.m. ...


Dinner and recreation.


7.0 to


9.0 p.m. ...


... Study in the class-rooms.



With such a time table as this can there be much wonder
that " Jacques " often appears to be a very dull boy ?
Here, as in Germany, the effects of overpressure in the
schools, both primary and secondary, are very visible,
and one cannot but thoroughly sympathise with the
German Emperor's appeal to his schoolmasters to lighten
the task, so that the physical powers of the children may
not be dwarfed and atrophied by this unnatural cultiva-
tion of the mental faculties. At Cassel, where the
Emperor attended school, there was a class, he once
said, where, out of 20 boys, only he and another boy did
not wear spectacles !

The most famous commercial school on the Conti-
nent, not so much for the number of pupils (it has about
1 50 at present), as for its age and the thoroughness of
its course, is I'lnstitut de Commerce at Antwerp. It
was founded in 1853 by a former Minister of State, and
has educated over 4,000 students. Its cost of mainten-
ance and management is undertaken by the City Council^
but the State also contributes towards it. The students
live in private houses, and are not admitted until they
have reached the age of 16^ years. The examination
for admission comprises papers in French, English,
German, book-keeping, geography, mathematics, chem-



222



SCHOOLS AT HOME AND ABROAD



istry, physics, history, commercial law, and political
economy. The full course extends over two years.

" The most important place in the course for the first
year of the Institute is the practical work in the model
counting house. Here the more theoretical branches
have their focus. Here is utilised that which is taught
in the scholastic branches. In the counting house the
mercantile practice is imitated in its smallest details and
widest bearings. Regular business transactions take
place, and every student in turn is made to participate
in all kinds of transactions and occupations. Business
correspondence is first carried on in French, then in the
other languages taught. Every month stock is taken
and a balance sheet furnished. During the first year
business is done only with European countries ; in the
second year the business is extended to transmarine

Curriculum.





Hours per week.


Subjects.


First
Year.


Second
Year.


Counting House Practice


12


12


Commercial Arithmetic


3


3


Chemistry and Knowledge of Merchandise
Political Economy


2
I


2
2


History of Commerce ...


2





Geography of Commerce

Commercial and Maritime Law




3

I


Elements of International Law







Tariff Legislation







Knowledge of Shipbuilding

Dutch Language

German


2

3


2
3


English ...

Spanish or Italian Language


3
3


3
3


Total


36


34



COMMERCIAL EDUCATION 223

countries. All the bearings of trade are taught, so that
the students gain a clear view of commerce and its
ramifications all over the world."

I here append the curriculum of this school, which
has served as the prototype of so many Continental
schools of commerce.

The students are examined at the end of each year.
The successful students at the completion of the second
examination receive the diploma of " Licentiate in Com-
merce," and are then offered travelling scholarships
tenable for three years. They then select a foreign
country, where they take up their abode, and study the
system of commerce there in vogue. These students
often open up for Belgian houses very valuable agencies
in these countries, and so a quid pro quo is often quickly
evident. Of late years, South America, Japan, China,
and India have been favourite fields for these Belgian
students, many of whom have obtained Belgian consul-
ships in those countries.

In Germany there are 55 commercial high schools
with 5,681 pupils. Many of these German Schools are
supported and managed entirely by Trade or Merchant
Guilds, others again by the cities, and only a compara-
tively small number by the State, but I do not intend
here discussing in detail the complete system of German
commercial education. The German Real and Ober-
realschulen give their pupils a magnificent preliminary
commercial education, particularly as regards modern
languages. As Mr. Sadler puts it : — "Apart from its purely
educational significance, it is clear that this form of
curriculum has a very close bearing on commercial
questions. The schools do not impart what would be
called, in the narrow sense of the term, technical educa-
tion. But they do fit their pupils to acquire very quickly



224 SCHOOLS AT HOME AND ABROAD

on leaving school an accurate and intelligent knowledge
of their business. These schools naturally lead up to
commercial life. When a boy leaves the schools and
enters a commercial house, there is no abrupt change in
the subjects which he has to think about. He has a
firm grasp of the grammar of the two foreign languages,
and can, within natural limits, fluently write and converse
in both of them. He is familiar with geography and
with the conditions of life in different parts of the world.
He is well grounded in advanced arithmetic. He has
facility in composition. He has been trained in accurate
habits of observation. His reasoning powers have been
abundantly exercised on subjects similar to those which
present themselves to him in his daily life. When he
comes to London or Paris, he can fully understand what
is said to him, and finds himself familiar with the con-
ditions of life which prevail there. In other words, he
has been prepared to take advantage of all opportunities
of getting commercial experience. These schools may
not be the best fitted to prepare lads for those occupa-
tions which are concerned with making things, but they
are excellently well designed to prepare them for occupa-
tions which are concerned with .sy'/Zz'//^ things. Just as
in industry a man needs constructive skill, so in com-
merce he is all the more likely to succeed if he possesses
practised powers of apt expression, and it is the latter
which the linguistic studies of the Realschulen are
specially fitted to train."

In 1 83 1 was founded the public Commercial Institute
of Leipsic — due to the City Merchants' Guild. It is
now under the control and supported by the Chamber
of Commerce, and during the year 1892-3 had 681
pupils. The school is divided into three portions.

I, The school for apprentices. This school is open



COMMERCIAL EDUCATION



225



only to apprentices in the city of Leipsic, and to them
the State concedes the highly valued privilege of attend-
ing this school in lieu of the ordinary compulsory con-
tinuation school. The curriculum of this apprentice
school is : —



Sl'bjects.



German

English

French

Commercial Arithmetic

Commercial Science

Office Work and Book-keeping

Correspondence

Geography



Penmanship



Total



Hours per Week.


Third
Class.


Second
Class.


First
Class.


2


I


I





2


2


2


2


2


3


2

I


2
I
I


I


I


I


2








10


10


10



The hours of instruction are from 7 to 9 in the morn-
ing, or two to four in the afternoon, and the tuition fee
is £4 per annum.

2. The next section of the school is open to all boys over
14 years of age who can pass the qualifying entrance
examination in German, French, geography, history,
and arithmetic. This is called the Higher Division,
and is likewise a three years' course.

Graduates of this course are exempted by the State
from one year's military service. The tuition fee is from
^12 to £16 per annum.

3. There is finally the third section, or " professional
course," open only to those who have already obtained
their military exemption, but who wish to specialise in



226 schools at home and abroad

Curriculum.





Hours per Week.


Subjects.


Third Second


First




Class.


Class.


Class.


German


4


3


3


English






5


4


4


French ...






5


4


4


Mathematics






3


3


4


Commercial Arithmetic






s


3


2


Physics ...






3


2





Mechanical Technology











2


Chemistry









2


2


Study of Products












I


Geography






2


2


2


History ...






2


2


2


Commercial Science ...









2





Commercial Law












I


Office Work






- —


2





Correspondence












2


Book-keeping












3


Political Economy












2


Penmanship






3


2





Drawing






2


2





Athletics






2


2


2


Total


36


35


36


some particular branch (


:>{ commercij


il


educa


tion.


This



course lasts one year only.

Out of the 681 pupils in this school in 1892-3, 454
were in the apprentice school taking a course of 10 hours
a week for three years, 155 were in the three years' course
of the Higher Division, whilst 72 were attending the
professional course.

There can be no doubt, I think, that this Commer-
cial School of Leipsic meets the modern requirements
of a great city in a very complete and satisfactory
manner. Those lads who, leaving the public elementary
schools at the age of 14, become apprentices, doubtless



COMMERCIAL EDUCATION 22/

find in this apprentice school that special training in the
theory and practice of their daily work, which was, of
course, absent in their previous training, but which that
training well fitted them to receive. Then the Higher
Course of three years would admirably meet the require-
ments of the sons of well-to-do tradesmen and merchants,
and whilst qualifying them for partial exemption from
military service would give them a thorough grasp of all
the details, both practical and theoretical, of their future
career. The necessities of the brilliant pupils — the future
merchant princes — are fully provided for in the pro-
fessional course.

May it soon be that our large towns will be able to
ofifer similar commercial advantages to their young men.
Let us note, in conclusion, that all this good work has
been done mainly by local effort, and, also, that however
satisfactory our grammar school system may be, our
educational panoply is very incomplete and vulnerable
whilst so much is left undone.



A GERMAN COMMERCIAL SCHOOL.



Upon no branch of our national system of education are
more diverse views held, or panaceas suggested than
upon our system of technical education.

It is invariably assumed that the present system of
technical education in England is utterly inefficient and
inadequate : yet this is not the opinion of observant
foreigners. " L'Angleterre a, dans ces dernieres annees^
progresse a pas de geant .dans la diffusion de I'enseigne-
ment professionnel, si bien qu' aucune des monographies
ant^rieurement parues sur ce point ne peut nous donner
une id6e exacte de la situation actuelle. Cela est si vrai
que sur le Continent on se figure souvent que TAngleterre
en est encore aujourd'hui au meme point qu' il y a dix
ou vingt ans. Les Anglais eux-memes ne cherchent pas
a faire ressortir ce qui les avantage dans la lutte com-
merciale avec 1 etranger, et declarent qu'ils sont en retard
pour I'enseignement professionnel. Nombre de mes
interlocuteurs au cours de mon enquete m'ont tenu ce
langage. On aurait grand tort de les croire." (Report
by M. Pyfferoen to Belgian government). This opinion
will be confirmed by a perusal of M. Vachon's report to
the French government. " The English schools are of
a higher grade than the Amsterdam school, for they
will only receive students who have already finished



A GERMAN COMMERCIAL SCHOOL 229

their elementary education, who have ah'eady acquired
the elementary principles of art, of science and of
literature. These schools are very prosperous and render
great service to local industries. Day by day they grow
and are constantly serving as models to new schools of the
same nature that are being created in different parts of
the three kingdoms." Indeed, if one is to believe M.
Demolins, much of this blatant pessimism is not even,
sincere. " Des que les Anglais se sont aper^u des
premiers symptomes d'envahissement du commerce alle-
mand, leurs journaux ont pousse un cri d'avertissement,
comme devaient le faire des sentinelles plus vigilantes
que les notres: Made in Germany\ Ce cri preuve seule-
ment a quel point lis sont en eveil, a quel point ils sont
sensibles a tout ce qui peut menacer, meme de tres loin,
leur redoutable superiorite industrielle et commerciale,
Notre erreur profonde est d'avoir pris ce cri d'avertisse-
ment pour un cri d'alarme jetant le sauve-qui-peut."

However, be that as it may, there can be no doubt
that the native pessimism of the Saxon has in this as in
most branches of our system of education led him to
take an unreasonable and despondent view of the future.

Of course some of us must give up that belief in the
divine monopoly of the Saxon. We have in the near past
enjoyed what I venture to think was an unfair advantage
over our rivals, and one that we could not hope to retain.
The world-shrinking of the latter half of the nineteenth
century gave England a peculiar but only temporary
advantage over her commercial rivals. Matters are now
righting themselves, an unstable is now giving place to
a stable state of equilibrium.

Much of the confusion in which the discussion of
English commercial education is at present carried on
arises from a slipshod and unscientific use of the term



230 SCHOOLS AT HOME AND ABROAD

" commercial." For example, the provision of courses
in Shorthand, bookkeeping or commercial arithmetic
seems sufficient sometimes to justify the use of the name
" commercial education." That this equipment of a lad
with certain technical accomplishments should be
dignified with the name commercial training, only
serves to show how vague our ideas on this matter are*
That the possibility of turning a primary school into a
commercial school by adding certain technical accomplish-
ments to the curriculum should occur to a level-headed
community is proof not of educational enthusiasm only
but also of misguided ingenuity. The curriculum in
such a case is merely a more or less fortuitous concaten-
ation of technical accomplishments that it is hoped may
prove subsequently useful in office work. The absence
of a solidarity of curriculum is the inevitable result of
such patchwork.

A bright promising occupation here or a facile accom-
plishment there, appeals immediately, and in virtue of
its monetary value to such pedagogues as fail to look
for the underlying significance of the whole curriculum.

Such a school will turn out an unlimited supply of
clerks with various useful accomplishments but directors
of commerce must not be looked for here.

It cannot be too often asserted that commercial educa-
tion is in no respect a matter for the primary school.
All commercial training to be of any value postulates a
sound liberal culture, which only a secondary training
can fully develop. That a national system is not, how-
ever, complete without schools where such technical
ability can be given to the primary scholar it is unneces-
sary to assert; the experience of Germany and France
confirms us in this view.

There is, too, the higher type of commercial school



A GERMAN COMMERCIAL SCHOOL 23 1

Such as those of Antwerp and Leipsic, where young men
of 18 to 21 years of age are trained in the higher technique
of commerce, and where are turned out those future
officers of the commercial army whose role in life it will be
to add more and more conquered territory to their country.

But to my mind of far greater significance and sug-
gestion to our people is the modern Commercial School
of Germany, which is a recent creation but which bids
fair to become a characteristic if not predominant feature
of the modern German school system.

These schools are pure Secondary Schools, just as much
as Rugby or Clifton are. This must be emphasised —
their promoters deliberately state that the curriculum
is designed primarily for the development of character
but it is conditioned by the vocational aim of the school.

A headmaster of such a school told me that his hope,
his ambition was to build up quite as fine men as those
reared on a classical training. All that is good and
ennobling in modern literature, in modern life, in modern
ideas will be utilised for the building of character. No
sordid aim shall colour the curriculum. We do not
believe that the making of all good literature ended with
the sack of Rome, nor do we so despise modern life as to
deny to it all power of good training. It cannot be too
often emphasized that from a pedagogic standpoint the
past has no superiority over the present, but the present
has an immense superiority over the past in its vocational
value and its power of responsiveness to the personality
of the pupil.

These German commercial schools are of recent date
and are supported generally either by the Municipality
or the Chamber of Commerce. The State has done
little for them as yet. Saxony led the way in the
establishment of such schools, but they are now spread-



232 SCHOOLS AT HOME AND ABROAD

ing throughout Germany. Recently a Commercial
University has been inaugurated at Leipsic which it is
intended shall be the final training-ground for the com-
mercial secondary scholar. The Rhenish province is
about to follow this example.

At Aix-la-chapelle the commercial school has been
built and managed by a local Insurance Society, which
thus dispenses its superfluous funds.

At Cologne the new commercial school cost the
Municipality quarter of a million pounds sterling to
build. It is a magnificent building fitted with every pos-
sible convenience for teaching, and with accommodation
for 600 pupils.

The curriculum of these schools is intended to cover six
years, but as the first three or four years 'course is practi-
cally identical with that of the Realschule, it sometimes
occurs that the commercial school is an outgrowth, so
to speak of the Realschule course. Nevertheless, such a
state of things is merely transitory. The tendency is
for such to develop into full six year commercial school
courses. The idea of a school possessing a variety of
curricula is utterly repugnant to the German teacher.

The curriculum of such a school is based upon linguistic
training. It is held that for modern life two methods of
training are possible, either a linguistic training or a
training in practical science. The latter is admittedly
much the more expensive of those two, and so it is not


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Online LibraryR[obert] E[dward] HughesSchools at home and abroad → online text (page 16 of 24)