EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.

I beg to move —"To omit all after the word `Dáil' and to insert:— `regrets that the programme of legislation outlined in the speech of the Governor-General contains no proposals for the reform of the present educational system, including the provision of an effective scheme of compulsory school attendance."

We have had since our first meeting here last autumn many debates on various subjects of importance, and on most of these subjects we have had divided opinions, but whenever the question of education came before the Dáil, I was always pleased to note the practical unanimity with which it was put forward from all sides that a very grave necessity existed for educational reform. That was nothing new. It is a matter, I think, on which there has been general agreement for very many years. I was pleased to hear during the course of the debate on the last amendment my friend, Deputy Gorey, making the statement that education was all wrong—I took note of it at the time— and that most of the present evils were due to the want of education. I think it was Deputy Milroy who spoke of the necessity for a great scheme of national reconstruction. The foundation of any scheme of National reconstruction must be a thorough scheme of educational reform in the country. It was, therefore, with very great surprise, indeed, and with very great regret that I discovered in the programme of legislation outlined by the Ministry, that no reference whatsoever was made to the question of educational reform. I had hopes from the debates which took place in the Dáil or from the statement from the Government side that this would be one of the first questions to be tackled. I might quote as a sample the statement made by the Minister for Education on the occasion of a recent debate. Speaking of some things that had to be dealt with, he said:—"I trust that the Deputies belonging to this Assembly will bear it in mind that one of the heavy responsibilities that will lie upon them in the future will be to make all the provision, financial and otherwise, that is necessary, and that, in their judgment they can make to remedy this very faulty state of things." I regret this Dáil has not been given an opportunity of doing what the Minister is anxious should be done. In the course of the debate on the Estimates it was pointed out and admitted by the Ministry that we had in educational affairs in this country a very anomalous state of things, inasmuch as we have four, five, or more different departments — different branches of the Government service dealing with educational matters. We have what is called Primary Education, and what is called Secondary Education, and Technical Education, all at the present time controlled and administered by what are practically watertight compartments quite independent of one another. We have also had Estimates before us for Industrial Schools and, I think, there were one or two other branches of Departments like the Endowed School Commissioners. The first and great and urgent necessity if we are to prevent the uneconomical working of the systems of education, and if we are to prevent needless overlapping, and needless waste of energy and effort and money is to unify and bring under one control all the Departments of the State which deal with education. To show the necessity that there is for urgent action let us take any of these divisions—these arbitrary divisions I might say, for I regard them as arbitrary divisions. In the Primary Departments at the present time, they are simply carrying on. We do not know exactly where we are in the matter. We do not know what is the exact legal position. We do not know what is the position with regard to the Commissioners of National Education. I believe it is essential that their position should be regularised at the earliest possible opportunity. There is at present no educational code properly speaking. The code in existence, I believe, is five or six years' old, and if anybody unacquainted with Irish education at the present time found themselves in the position that he had to inquire as to what the situation was with regard to our educational code he would find himself in very great difficulty, indeed. For all the regulations, or most of them, which are printed in the present code — at all events a very large number of them are — obsolete. That Department is administered at the present time through the Regulations which are contained in the various circulars issued from time to time by the Department. It tends to very great confusion in the case of both the Administration and those who carry on the work of Education. That is one of the first things that the Ministry should tackle. We have heard a lot in this Dáil about Secondary Education. There is, in fact, really no Secondary system— no system of Secondary Education. It is not correct at all to speak of the Secondary Education system, because we have no such thing. I need not, I think, dwell on that particular phase of the question. That surely is admitted. Technical Education is under the control of, or administered by, the Department of Agriculture. I think it is necessary that this branch of education should be taken from the control of the Department and put under the control of the Ministry of Education. Then we have attempts made in various parts of the country at a so-called Scholarship system. Various County Councils and other bodies strike rates to establish Scholarships from the Primary and Secondary Schools. They have done that within the last year I understand. I do not know what is the position of the law regarding that. I doubt very much whether that position is regular. I would like to say with regard to the Scholarship system generally what may appear to be a heresy coming from people who from time to time did advocate this scheme of Scholarship or a scheme of Scholarships, that I at any rate have ever regarded the Scholarship scheme as a makeshift scheme. I do not believe in the system of taking boys or selecting from a class of boys or girls at the early age of 12 or 13 years; I do not believe in selecting precocious boys and taking them away from their homes perhaps and sending them to a Boarding School. I do not believe that is good; I do not believe it is good for education. I do not believe it is good for the boys themselves. I never could feel satisfied that boys so selected were the right selection. Because I hold that at that age it is not possible to judge fairly the boys or girls who will benefit most by Secondary or Higher Education. But apart from that I hold that those who are left behind are equally entitled to receive the benefits of Higher Education. It might be asked if they cannot be awarded scholarships or sent away to Boarding Schools for their Secondary Education, what is the alternative? My alternative, in any case, would be to bring the facilities. Rather than to send the boy to the school, I would bring the school to the boy. I would bring the facilities within the reach of the children in their own homes, and I believe that can be done, and that it is quite practicable. I believe we have the machinery already, and that is why I said, earlier in my remarks, that I believe this distinction between primary and secondary education is very largely arbitrary. I believe the village school should provide a good and sufficient education for a boy or girl up to the age of 16, 17 or 18 years. I believe that is possible, and it is the right way to tackle this question; that rather than set up a system of so-called Colleges or Boarding Schools or Secondary Schools, we should develop the existing schools as we find them, so that the children could find in their village school all the education which it is proper they should receive up to the age of 16, 17 or 18 years. That does not necessarily mean, and I do not intend it to mean at this stage, that education should be compulsory up to that age; but if boys or girls are prepared to attend school, or their parents are prepared to do without their services and give them the fair chance they should get in life, the facilities for availing of that should be at their doors. It does not mean either that every little school should provide these privileges. Certainly the schools established in our towns or villages should provide these facilities, and the grown pupils in the smaller schools, when they come to the age of 14, 15 or 16 years, could very easily go to the central school in the town or village at a distance of five or six miles. It would have many advantages, but the greatest advantage I see is the boy would not be rooted out of his home at the early age of 12, 13 or 14 years. He has to leave his home at the present time, if he seeks a secondary education or an education higher than that up to the compulsory attendance age, and I think that is bad for the boy, for the country, and for education generally. Another phase of the educational question that I would like to see tackled is the question of administration. I believe we have had too much centralisation in the past. Everything has been done from headquarters in Dublin. There is the necessity, undoubtedly, for directional control, if I may say so, and in some aspects national control is important and necessary. But there are many aspects connected with education in which the local people should be brought into much more direct touch than has been done in the past. The only branch of education in which local interest has been touched, and in which the local people have been encouraged to interest themselves, is on the technical side. So far as my experience goes, I think it is generally agreed that on that side the work of the technical branch is much more satisfactory, and has been on the whole more successful than in either of the other two branches, and it is quite possible this bringing of the local people into touch with the educational problems that present themselves may be responsible to some extent for that. I do not know what was the reason—it may have been historical; it may have been otherwise—but the fact remains that the ordinary layman regarded education as forbidden ground, something that was outside his purview, and that he was not to touch. It was too thorny a problem for the layman to touch, and he kept clear of it. The net result of that is that there has been and is very great apathy indeed on the part of the people generally with regard to educational questions, and, while they may have general ideas as to the necessity and advisability of education and educational reform, they have never come down to tackle this problem in a practical way or interested themselves in the matter. Who ever heard of a meeting of people to deal with the question of education unless it was got up by people who might be supposed, rightly or wrongly, to be directly interested in the question? There are some matters which should, in my opinion, specially interest the local bodies and the local people— questions such as the provision of material for school buildings and the finding of buildings. I do not mean that the cost of the building should be met by the locality. That would be impracticable, and I think that should be the duty of the State. What I mean is the type of school, and, above all, the maintenance of the fabric when it is provided. That surely should be the duty of the local bodies. Most of us in the Dáil know that you have all through the country buildings doing duty for schools which are little, if indeed anything, better than barns—miserable hovels called schools which are repellant even to the children, and which beget disgust with everything connected with the school on the part of the children who come and spend the greater part of the day in such buildings. Apart from that, there is the question of the health of the nation, and we know the foundations of many of the diseases which attack children and growing people are laid in these insanitary hovels which serve at the present time for schools. Nobody has any interest in these things; it is left largely to local voluntary effort. The clergyman of the district is supposed to collect or raise funds in any way that seems to him best to provide or maintain these public buildings. On a former occasion I paid a tribute to these men, who for many years have undertaken this onerous task, and I do so again here. They have done their best, on the whole, to meet the situation and to carry out a duty which should never have been placed upon their shoulders. But this voluntary system of carrying on the ordinary repairs of schools, of keeping them sanitary, has, in my opinion, completely broken down; and it is necessary that steps should be taken to make provision by which this important work should be carried on. That can only be done by legislation. It should not be left to voluntary effort. It is simply and solely a question of rates. That may frighten some people, but when we come down to examine it we find that that is the only solution. It is not fair that the parents of the children should be asked to pay subscriptions from year to year for the maintenance of these buildings while the man who may be in the fortunate—or unfortunate—position of not having any children at school gets off scot free. You may have poor parents having to contribute to such collections, while the big landholder, or the company perhaps, that owns property in the district does not contribute one penny. I certainly think it would be more equitable, and certainly it is necessary, that legislation should be introduced at as early a date as possible to meet these needs. I might add to that the necessity for the provision of suitable playgrounds. We know that in many of the schools there are no playgrounds provided. The children play on the road, to the very great danger and risk of their lives; either that or they play in a muddy schoolyard, and in winter time they have to stay inside rather than be admitted to the playgrounds. The local bodies should also provide for school plots in rural districts, especially school plots which could be made, and it is necessary that they should be made, where there is a rural population such as in this country, of very great educational advantage. Then there is the question of school meals. That is a very urgent question indeed in some of our poorer districts; but I personally would be glad to see provision made whereby all children could have a meal provided for them during the school interval. Some days ago I came across an interesting extract from a statement by Michael Davitt in this connection. He says that "up to the age of fifteen I would have all education compulsory and free, and, moreover, I would provide a free meal in the middle of the day for all the children. This latter provision I hold to be an indispensable one in any scheme of enlightened educational reform."

Now, there is also a matter which I mentioned some days ago, and which perhaps would arise more correctly in connection with the question of health; but it touches the school and educational question intimately, and that is the provision of medical and dental inspection of school children. I do not see any reference to these in the proposed scheme of legislation. I only hope that it may not be necessary to pass legislation. I hope it may be possible to adapt an Act which I understand is already there, in order to introduce medical and dental inspection in our schools. There is also a question—and this surely causes me surprise—with reference to the subject of compulsory attendance. I wonder how it was that the Ministry forgot the unanimous resolution that was passed in the Dáil on, I think, the 17th of November last. Perhaps I should read it. This was the resolution:—

"That, inasmuch as the attendance of children at school has of late been notoriously irregular, and as the present Compulsory Attendance Law has proved to be inadequate to deal with the situation thus created, it is the desire of this Dáil that the Compulsory Attendance Clauses of the Irish Education Act of 1892 should, at the earliest available opportunity, be amended."

Yet, while we have a long programme of legislation outlined, we have no reference in that programme, or no intention set forward in that programme of giving effect to this resolution which the Dáil passed on the 17th of November. I need not go into the necessity of that again. It was fully debated on that occasion, and the opinion of the Dáil is expressed in that resolution. I shall only content myself by expressing my surprise that a resolution so definite, so clear, and, above all, a unanimous resolution of that kind seems to have been forgotten by the Ministry in arranging their programme of legislation. Now, in view of this, I think the amendment which stands in my name, and which I am proposing, is eminently justified, if we are not to take it that, like all the other plans, schemes, and proposals which used to be the stock arguments of those who now sit in the Government benches before they came to sit on these benches, are not to be regarded as all wiped away, because they have got control of the Government into their hands. Perhaps in connection with this matter, especially in view of some statements that have been made from time to time in this Dáil and elsewhere, it might be of interest to refer to what is sometimes spoken of as an educational objective. There is hardly any question, I think, on which there are so many varied opinions, even amongst those who pose as experts, as on this question of an educational objective. The examination of these opinions and statements made from time to time shows, further, that these varying ideas range themselves largely under two heads. We have those who believe that the chief aim of education should be to train the child to take its place in the army of workers, and that all educatinal schemes and curricula should be directed towards producing a skilful and competent industrial unit, one who will be ready and trained to do useful work, either as a mechanic, or craftsman, or a professional man, in adding to the wealth and comfort and prosperity of the country as a whole. That is what I might call the utilitarian idea of education. Then we have, on the other hand, a smaller body of opinion, who believe that education and all that true education connotes, the pursuit of knowledge, is in itself an object eminently worthy of attainment, quite apart from, and independent of, its utilitarian aspect altogether.

Now, we may ask which of those is going to obtain in this country, because it is necessary, if we set out on the road to educational reform, to have an objective before us. To my mind in any case, it will depend entirely on the nature of the civilisation which we hope to establish in this country under our new-found liberty. If we are to have what Deputy O'Brien spoke of earlier this evening, the industrialism of America or England, if that is our aim in life, if the pursuit of what is now called wealth, and the comforts and pleasures which such wealth brings in its train, if that is to be our object, we must obviously shape our educational outlook, so as to attain that object, and in that case the utilitarian ideal will be uppermost, and will prevail. If, on the other hand, we are anxious to have a distinctive Gaelic State, a distinctive Gaelic civilisation, different from the industrial States of England or America, or even of Belgium, if we are to have a self-contained nation, that will be little influenced by the industrial movements or the markets of the world, if we are to have a country, or if we hope to build up a country, in which wealth and the products of wealth, as we know and speak of wealth at the present time, will be subordinate to the higher things, the higher spiritual things, and a community in which spiritual ideals of existence will count for more than what might be regarded as physical or bodily comforts; if that is to be our aim, we will come to realise that the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge and the shaping of our system of education so as to provide for mental and moral training and the formation of character, the mental training of the citizen in the higher things of life, and not only individual character, but national character, if that is to be our aim, then that must be our objective, and we must discard the utilitarian idea. I think that if we come to examine the matter fully that there can be no doubt which of these ideals ought to be our aim and our object. In this connection I might be permitted to quote from an article that appeared in Sinn Fein so far back as 1906.

"The ancient Irish," it says, "like the modern French, recognise an aristocracy of intellect as distinguished from an aristocracy of birth, and did not recognise an aristocracy of wealth at all. Into the first aristocracy they have afforded every man an opportunity of entrance by making education free to all. It never entered into our ancestors' heads that higher education was a thing to be set apart for those whose fathers were wealthier than their neighbours, or that the end of education was to qualify a man to earn money. Like the Greeks, they knew that the one end of education is to perfect the man."

There are some people in this country who think that the one and only ideal of education is to qualify a man to earn a living and become a better unit and a better machine in the industrial system. As I say, I hope that will not be our ideal. Our independence, our separation from England, which has been the object of our struggles for the past centuries, will not make any distinctive mark in history if we are simply going to use that independence and that separation in order to cultivate the same ideals, or, rather, cultivate the ideals that have been planted in this country during the years of the British occupation. It is our duty to show to the world that we here in Ireland are a distinctive race. It will be necessary in order to prove our age-long claim to independence, to show that we are a distinctive race, a distinctive nation, and a people with ideals and aspirations differing widely from those who held us in bondage through the centuries. We can only do this by building up within this country a distinctive Gaelic culture and giving our people a new outlook in life, and showing that, after all, the attainment of wealth and riches is not the ultimate object of human existence. I hope that the Ministry will see the necessity at the earliest possible opportunity of taking up this whole problem of education in a constructive and thorough way, and this to my mind is not one of the matters, although it is a very big and important matter in which it is necessary to adopt the usual method—what has come to be the usual method—of setting up a Commission. I have stated before, and state again, that in my opinion there is no necessity for setting up a Commission, especially on the lines of some of the Commissions that have already been set up, because the material is there and the evidence is there as a result of previous Commissions, out of which nothing came. It may require, perhaps, a small representative Committee which will collate material at hand and advise the Ministry as to the best way in which the very urgent question of Educational Reform might be tackled.

I beg to second Deputy O'Connell's amendment. As regards this amendment, my attitude must be wholly different from that which I was obliged to take up with regard to Deputy Johnson's. There I was overwhelmed with a sense of the unreality of the discussion. Here I feel I am justified in joining Deputy O'Connell in pressing on the Ministry attention to what, I think, avoiding the use of strong language, I might describe as proleptic dereliction of duty, because when I read the legislative Programme I found these words which, had they been used in regard to Education, might have been adopted by myself: "Considering and establishing under the Constitution a judicial system specially adapted to the requirements of this country is a matter of immediate necessity. As soon as possible a Bill for the establishment of an Irish Judiciary will be submitted to you. Notwithstanding the state of rebellion, and notwithstanding the imminence of a General Election, the Ministry recognises that life must go on, and the requirements of the Public Service and of the future, too, must be attended to. They are alive to the necessity of a Judicial procedure, of the hearing and consideration of cases, but apparently, if we were to judge them by this programme, they do not realise that the country has been, and is, perishing for want of attention to education. There is no educational system in this country, and that is why we stand here to plead for the construction and establishment under the Constitution of an Educational System specially adapted to the requirements of this country, and we say it is of immediate and urgent necessity.” I adopt the phraseology of the address. There is a great deal of criticism about the educational system of the country which gives the false impression that there is a system, and what we protest against, and what I have protested against for more than a quarter of a century, is the entire absence of anything entitled to be called a system which has coherence and co-ordination. The only slightest trace of co-ordination is myself. I cannot make the thing more concrete or more ludicrous than by putting it in that form. There is no point of contact between Primary, Secondary and University Education except what is constituted in my own person. I do not say that by way of making a boast. On the contrary, I put it before you to show you how pitiful is the condition of education in this country. I happen to be a member of the National Board for Primary Education, a member of the Intermediate Board, that concerns itself with Secondary Education, and a member of the Senate of the National University, which concerns itself with Higher Education, in so far as that comes within the bailiwick of the National University. Except for that, there is no contact, artificial or vital, between these different Departments. Now, Primary Education hangs loose at both ends. It leads nowhere as education. It leads a long way, I admit, so far as regards instruction, and what the public mind has not grasped is the vast difference between Education and Instruction. We cannot get the public to evince any interest in the problem of Education itself. It is notorious that in other legislatures you have empty houses when the Educational Estimates are under consideration, just as we have an empty house here now, or practically an empty house. The apathy is due to the conceit of people that they themselves have done very well without education, to the sophistry that education is a luxury for the few, and that practical men can dispense with it. They see that Higher Education is regarded as making for a vague thing called Culture. They do not inquire or wish to know what culture is. They believe it is the privilege of the so-called higher classes, and that it is bought somehow at the expense of the worker, and it is supposed too to be hostile to the worker, and when we make a claim for the workers' share in culture we are regarded as dreamers and visionaries. My indictment against the “National System” is not merely that the system was not national, but that it was denationalising, and that it was not education at all. We devoted huge sums of money, three millions annually, for imparting instruction, and here and there, where the education was given, it was because of the personality of the teacher, and it was in no way attributable to the State organisation itself. I have always believed that the British Government did not care how many millions it spent on education in Ireland so long as it was not productive, so long as the money did not produce men who, in the realm of commerce, industry and manufacture might compete with England. So long as it provided Civil Servants for the Civil Service of the Empire and clerks who could go into the large towns of Great Britain and be of service to the big business men, it was quite satisfactory. Secondary Education has been largely starved and ignored. The attempts by the Intermediate Commissioners to create it have been nullified or very much impeded by want of funds, and want also of sympathy from the educated classes of the country. Now, the Deputy who has spoken devoted himself almost exclusively to the question of Primary Education.

I said almost. Of course it is an exaggeration to say that he devoted himself only to it. But he did not take into consideration the question of University education, and, therefore, I think I ought to concentrate on that. Now, first I complained that Primary education does not lead to Secondary,—Secondary in some respects does lead on to University education. There was a certain amount of organisation there, but that was due to the fact that the Intermediate Commissioners had fashioned it so. Where failure lay was in not providing for adjustment between Primary and Secondary and Technical education. Here, happily, we have the support of one Minister, fortunately the Minister most concerned. The Minister for Agriculture told us on a recent occasion that he advocated the removal of the Technical Education Department from the administration of his Ministry. That would be better for agriculture, and certainly it would be better for technical education. Now, the majority of people in Ireland who have ever given any attention whatsoever to the educational problem have read speeches in which this illustration occurs repeatedly that we have a building with a foundation and walls, but the roof is absent. That has been reiterated so constantly that it becomes absolutely necessary to counteract the effect of that illustration at every possible opportunity. Those who framed that illustration had in view the order of time in which instruction is imparted. The child begins with Primary education, and if he is fortunate enough he goes on to the Secondary School, and after that to the University, but in the creation of an educational system that is not the order, and, unfortunately, politicians who have been sufficiently large-minded and tried to come to the aid of educational reform have been misled by it, and have made confusion worse confounded in a well-meant effort to do good. You must, as the present Minister for Education put it, in a recent debate, work from above. He used the illustration of the sunshine —the vivifying effect of the sunshine upon all beneath. I have used, and may be pardoned for using again, a different illustration: What the brain and the nervous system are in the organisation of the human body, that to the education of the nation is the relation which the University bears. If we are to make a Gaelic State and to construct Irish civilisation again, it must be through the University. When we who represent the Universities use this language we are regarded merely as the ordinary advertiser of wares, who claims that his stuff is the only thing that should be allowed upon the market. All those who have given close attention to educational matters are well aware that unless the teacher in the Primary School is something more than a mere retailer of goods in handing out information that other men have achieved, unless he is an influence educative in the better sense of education he is not fit for his position. I include a great deal more than intellectual development in education. Education regarded rightly is to make a man a real man, and the education that is primary should largely consist in imparting instruction in such wise as to train the mind of the recipient, so that when he leaves the school he is able to teach himself. The ideal teacher, not merely in primary education, but all through every grade of education, is the teacher who makes himself most easily dispensed with at the earliest possible moment on the part of the student. The growth of the individual, the growth from within, is the aim of education, and the whole machinery of education is to help that growth to go on. Hence education is an Art, and it is an Art best learned in University. What has been done for University education in Ireland? Any money given at first was given grudgingly. I speak here of the National University. When as a result of half a century of continuous propaganda work and continuous agitation and great sacrifices on the part of our people, at last the University was created of which we could make use, it was at first starved. The funds provided were entirely insufficient. Mr. Birrell, when he was creating the National University with three constituent Colleges, admitted privately that was so when some of us made representations as to the utter impossibility of making a great modern University with all the equipment for science and for the application of science to industry on the money allowed us, and he told us that on account of political exigencies more could not be granted, and as a matter of policy he asked us to work it, and that when we produced results appeal could be made to the British House of Commons and more money would be forthcoming. That admittedly meagre initial endowment was given with the promise of more, and now, when we stand here in our own Legislature, we are told that “we are not to be plunderers of the public purse.” I believe that all reconstruction must be through education. There are ever so many social wrongs and social deficiencies that would right themselves in great part if only there was a proper System of Education. The housing question, the drink question, the proper idea about the relation of citizenship— the duty of employer and employed— these would not be such terrible problems as they are if a better mind and a right mind were produced in all concerned by a higher conception of citizenship and all it involves, and if they were part of what the student carried away from his school. I speak particularly with a sense of grievance as regards my own University. The public are not sufficiently interested to know the difference between the University called the National University and its constituent Colleges. There are three constituent Colleges, the College in Dublin is called the National University by casual observers; the result is confusion. Now when we began in University College, Dublin, we had the first year, contrary to expectation, a very much larger number than we budgeted for—we had 530 students. Now we have over 1,200, close on 1,300. This is a tremendous and unexpected development in the course of something less than 13 years. The chief part of our work is at the School of Medicine. We have a huge roll in Medicine, but the material equipment for it and instruments are sadly lacking. I hardly care to make public in the interests of the Medical School what the actualities of the situation are. The Government allowed a sum of £150,000 for building the University and the Dublin College. We managed to make an unequal division between the University and the College, and £110,000 were secured for the Dublin College. We had barely begun to build when the war broke out, and prices went up month by month, and practically stopped building operations. The contractor threatened to remove his plant, and the building, thousands of pounds worth of it, would in that event have been lost. In that dilemma we were obliged to go on with the contract and save expense on the living fabric, the staff of the College, to try to meet the requirements of the builder. In spite of our efforts we were left with a building debt which ought to be regarded as a war debt, and dealt with as a war debt. In the Estimates recently presented you will see there was a special non-recurring grant given us, and we were obliged to pledge ourselves that it would be devoted to the building debt. With all respect to the Minister, instead of giving a pledge of that sort, we should have received a pledge that the whole debt with regard to the building would be treated as a war debt, and should be part of the money set off in the financial adjustment with Great Britain. Now, we cannot work a great Medical School and have no provision for housing it and for the equipment and material that are necessary in advanced scientific work of a kind involved in a great School of Surgery and Medicine. In that building of which I spoke we have no room for anatomy, physiology, pharmacology. All these things are housed, if I could call it housed, in the obsolete, almost toppling building, the old Catholic University School in Cecilia Street. The money was wholly insufficient. Our staff of professors is insufficient in point of number, and the money for the payment of adequate salaries is also insufficient. Now, apart from that, suppose that we had all the wealth of the Indies at our disposal in the University and the Colleges, we are not able to do all that work which we feel we could do for the betterment of the country because of the dislocation in educational affairs. The Minister for Agriculture was good enough to promise a Committee of Inquiry to determine the relation that ought to exist between what was the College of Science and the University, because he recognised the need for a great national physical laboratory, and realised also that in a country such as this there should be no educational overlapping, and that there should be true economy in education. Although the Minister, in his enlightenment, made that promise, there is no reference to it in the Address. As if confusion were not sufficiently regnant in educational affairs the first thing the Provisional Government did was to suspend the National Board. I have made my plaint about that already. The National Board—I do not say it had been excellent in its personnel because of the presence of Professor Thrift and myself on the Board, making a vicious thing good—but undoubtedly it is admitted on all hands, and Deputy O'Connell, who represents the National School Teachers, will bear me out, that as regards personnel and spirit it had become quite a new Board, and was engaged in excellent work. Without considering what it was doing or attempting to do, it was suspended, and only when it was suspended was the discovery made that it had a legal position which could not be tampered with. Now, it is not for me to defend these Boards. I have stormed against them in my time as strenuously as most people, but I am willing to admit, having seen them from inside, that there are on these Commissions men animated by genuine public spirit, who give their time and their knowledge and experience, who give their best, in short, to the public service without remuneration, and receive nothing but adverse and unfriendly criticism from the public. What they do constructively is never recognised. The mistakes they make, which may sometimes be many and obvious, are continually harped upon. Quite recently the Intermediate Board was put into this miserable position. We were engaged in creating a new programme of studies, when we read in the newspaper a publication by the Minister for Education what the new programme was. Those who take up the programme for 1923 will find everything issued in the name of the Ministry of Education. Meanwhile the Intermediate Board functions, and has all the odium, if there be odium, and much of the responsibility. Surely the Government is going to make up its mind one way or other as to making a clean sweep of the National Board and Intermediate Board, or it is going to make use of these bodies? It ought by this time surely to have its mind made up. One thing is obvious, something has got to be done in the matter, as we cannot go on with an extemporised procedure unless to the detriment of the country. I could speak for hours and hours on these educational grievances, but I recognise the futility of speaking about them at all. A reporter will not report a debate on education. That is not the disability in Ireland only. Neither will the public take any interest in it. Parents seem to think that when they have sent their children to school, or, in the case of the higher schools, when they have paid their fees, that they have done all that concerns them in education. They do not realise that education is a national concern. It is a national concern. The beginning and the middle and the end of national progress is education. Unfortunately, as a result of the war, it is not considered a wise thing to refer to Germany as an example, but we all know very well that Germany, but for the coming of America into the war, would have won the war. At the time when Germany was winning the war, during the first three years, everyone admitted it was largely due to the University system, through chemistry and through the application of science. I have often contrasted the fact that Napoleon laid Prussia low, and that two Professors of Philosophy, Fichte and Von. Humboldt, recreated Prussia, and through that the German Empire had a great system of civilisation and industry. Two Professors of a despised subject, theorists, visionaries, only that we have lived to see the result! In this in how few years was constructive work done. Only quite recently a man died in this city who had been alive when Napoleon died, so that actually there is only one extended life between the period of the overthrow of Prussia and the uprise of it again as one of the great figures in the world's system. I mention that to show what education can do for a country when properly taken in hand. Education, after all, is a thing that we ought to be interested in, as Deputy O'Connell has said, if it were only for the sake of the continuity of our national history. Now, I do say seriously that the omission from the programme of legislation of any mention of education is a matter that we are justified in complaining of, all the more so because we have in the Minister for Education and in several of his colleagues men who are quite as much interested and as anxious about the future of Irish education, as either of us who spoke this evening. I frankly acknowledge that that is so, but it looks as if they had not been able to communicate to other colleagues so much of their spirit as will make those others realise that the educational problem should be the first to be tackled.

I think I feel the importance and the urgency of this matter at least as much as either of the two Deputies who have spoken. Therefore I do not like to give a silent vote on this matter if pressed to a division, and would like to explain very briefly that, although I feel with the Deputies who have spoken, I am prepared to vote against the amendment and on the side of the Government. It is just because I feel the importance of this matter that I can take up that position. I hope that when the Government comes to deal with this matter, as I hope they will do very shortly, that they will bring forward a really comprehensive scheme, and one argued out in all its details. Of course we shall not all agree. I dare say, in many of these details, but I think that any people who have reflected at all on this matter must have come to the conclusion that it is one of vital importance to the good of the country, and is of pressing urgency. The last speaker has spoken from the point of view of one of the newer Universities as to their need for attention on the part of the Government. I agree entirely with what Deputy Magennis has said with reference to these claims, and I would urge, at the same time, that even the older Universities are in the same position. The experience of the past few years has shown that they cannot continue their part efficiently on the old financial footing, and it has shown also the need there is for further development, if they are to fulfil properly their position in the country. Much has been said—and not too much —as to the need for culture as the ultimate and scientific end of all education, and I think that that applies to all branches, and especially to the Universities. That culture involves not alone education and instruction in the classical languages or the Gaelic language, or in literary matters, but in other things too— in the study of science for its own sake, for example. And when I disagree on this point with Deputy O'Connell, I do not think it means that we disagree with regard to fundamentals, but as to the practical way in which that culture is to be worked for throughout the various branches of education. I disagree with him in this way, that he contrasted the two lines of development, the utilitarian and the cultural development. I do not think that that is a sound division to make, because I think that these two lines should go together. The cultural, no doubt, is the ultimate end, but if you divorce it from the utilitarian, you defeat your object in trying to reach that cultural goal which you desire. It is impossible to secure that unless you raise the standard of living and of life throughout the whole country. At first I did not intend to make a speech at all, but I was going to satisfy myself by saying that I want the Government, at the earliest possible moment, to deal with this problem, and to deal with it not by piecemeal, but in a comprehensive way, so as to co-ordinate the primary and secondary schools with the Universities, and not to make, as Professor Magennis very properly said, that co-ordination dependent on personal contact with the different systems. That is what we have had in the past. The different branches should be co-ordinated under one system. When the Government come to deal, as I hope they will at the earliest possible moment, with this problem, and with the demands of the Universities, Secondary Schools and Primary Schools, which they will have to meet if the country is to be put into a proper state— when they come to deal with these demands, I hope they will deal with them in a comprehensive way, and bring before us a completely thought-out scheme. I am prepared to vote with the Government, because I do not think that they have had time to consider such a comprehensive scheme, but, as soon as ever the position permits, I do hope they will set to work upon that problem which, perhaps, is as important as any with which the country has to deal.

I do not think I should be silent on this subject. It is one that is very near to my heart; in fact, I think it is the chief interest of my life, and yet this subject is so vast and so thorny that I am afraid to approach it at all. The Deputy who proposed the amendment took a wide sweep, and touched on most of its branches, and Deputy Professor Magennis impressed upon us the importance and value of education, that it is the first condition of any reconstruction, of any creation of the State that the system of education should be rightly planned and constructed. The old Greek philosopher, a see-er of visions, some of which are realised to-day, in planning his State laid the foundation in education, and remarked incidently that in any real State the bulwarks of the State was its education. If we are to create and defend the nation we must start with our education, and to anybody who has any acquaintance with it the situation to-day will appear a very alarming one. The educational system in Ireland to-day is the result of compromise, botching, and hashing, shaping and mis-shaping, so that I have the greatest sympathy with the Minister whose task it is to clear away the old lumber, and produce a proper, decent structure worthy of this nation, and suitable for the future of Ireland. So many ideas have been touched—I had nearly said so many hares had been started—that I am afraid to go into details at all. Perhaps I had better not. There was one fruitful idea, however, which I hope will not be lost sight of, an important one that Deputy O'Connell thought of or suggested, that Secondary education might be brought down or fused into Primary education; it is a fruitful idea. It had not occurred to me before. The general theory amongst those I have talked to about the subject was the idea of building up Primary education into Secondary education, and there always would be a hitch. It never seemed to me that the machine would go smoothly in that way, and I think it would be worth while exploring the possibilities of bringing down Secondary education into Primary education and see if you cannot get a new type of general school on the lines that Deputy O'Connell visioned. Now, I really do not know how I am to vote on this amendment. I think it is a pity, a great pity, that those who drew up the address did not think it desirable to make some reference to education, for I know that this Government, and certainly the Minister for Education, have the true interests of education at heart. I think we are fortunate that our Minister for Education is a scholar, an Irish scholar. He is a man of vision, and I do think that if anybody can frame the system of education that will mould the younger generation, mould the future to the desire of the Nation's heart, it is the present Minister. He has a hard task; he will require much help and criticism, and perhaps the criticism that has been directed to-night on the motion to include a reference to education in the Address will be of some use and will keep before the eyes of the Government and of the Nation the vital necessity of attending to this question.

There have been a good many suggestions and a pretty wide discussion of this question, and I do not think it is inopportune even to widen still further the discussion and generally let our thoughts run round the question of education in any aspect that might present itself. I think we all agree that the problem is a big one, and care must be taken in dealing with it to have a pretty coherent plan, and, at least, an ultimate objective fairly clearly in mind and generally accepted before we can do the work of foundation-laying thoroughly and well. Now, it is quite evident from those who have spoken with knowledge of the educational system from the Primary side, the Secondary side, and the University side, that there is—I was going to say nothing good, but that is perhaps an over-statement—but that there is very much bad in the general system affecting education from its three aspects, and it seemed to me by listening to the speeches from the four Deputies who have spoken that, perhaps, with one or two additional Deputies who have not yet spoken, you could obtain a really excellent Advisory Committee to the Minister for Education, to assist him in tackling this problem immediately, or even perhaps to consult with him as to the plans which he has already laid, and which, I assume, are on the stocks, before launching the ship. If these plans have not been laid then I suggest it would not be a bad idea for him to invite the co-operation of those members of the Dáil, and, perhaps, one or two others from outside, without any formal vote, without any formal instruction from the Dáil, perhaps even without responsibility to the Dáil, but to invite their collaboration and co-operation in framing any scheme. Deputy Alton said a word or two about fusing Secondary and Primary education. I do not know whether I am voicing the views of anybody else except myself, but it occurs to me that we ought to think of primary education as merely elementary, the preparation of the child for the reception of knowledge and education, and that we should not think that the duty of the State has been finished, or that the duty of the educationalists has been finished with the average child of the average man when the primary period has been passed. We ought to recognise, I think, that that is purely primary and preparatory, and that it is then the work of education has to begin, and that the State responsibility for assisting in education should be more earnestly undertaken. The child of the average man—the average poor man, as I may say—ought not to be left out of the hands of the educational scheme until he is an adult, he ought to be educated right through and dealt with by the educational scheme until he is at manhood's age, and then he can take care of himself. I hold that there ought not to be any sharp differentiation between the boy or girl at school and the boy or girl who is learning while working, and that we could utilise the process of learning with the process of production and work, and that the one will help the other, and that learning while in contact with realities will make learning truer and more certain. Producing and working while learning would make that production better and more efficacious, and I hope that we shall, in time, come to the view that right from the age of six or seven years to the age of twenty years the process of education would be looked upon as normal in the career of every child. Now, I want to put in a plea that in the discussion or consideration of any scheme of educational change or reform something ought to be done on the lines of the Danish Folk High School. Belgium and Germany have been quoted here, but I suppose there has been no experiment in education in any country in the world for the last hundred years which has been so fruitful as the Danish High Schools, or the People's High Schools; and I hope it would be possible, within the State scheme, to assist in the establishment of some similar institution in this country. I recognise to the full how futile it is to talk about schemes and plans and institutions, unless you have men and women capable of doing the work of those institutions and inspiring that educational scheme. We have not got—as far as I can see at the moment—the exact counterpart of Bishop Gruntvig, but there are educationists—men with some inspiration in Ireland—and something has been done of a similar kind here in the work of the Gaelic League and of one or two other institutions, but I should think it would be very well worth spending £1,000 on propaganda through this country to show what was done by the establishment of these Danish High Schools for Denmark. We often point to Denmark as an example of what might be done in production and for agriculture, and what a great improvement there has been in two generations in that country. Deputy Professor Magennis quoted Germany as having been revivified through the work of two professors of philosophy. Denmark owes its revivification to the work, I think, more than to anything else, of Bishop Gruntvig in the establishment of Folk Schools. Now the Deputies representing farmers will be pleased to know that these schools are attended in the main by farmers' sons and daughters, in the winter time, and that these farmers' sons and daughters are willing to pay a sum of about £1 per week for three or four months for the purpose of going through a course of tuition in almost everything except agriculture. They do not go to those schools to learn their business or their profession, or to have instruction in their calling. They go to them for cultural education, and they come away with a better knowledge, and more capacity for dealing with their industry and their profession, by virtue of the fact that they have learned something about life—that is, the life round about them— and the literature and history of their own country and of other countries. Their vision is enlarged, and the use they make of these High Schools is to inspire rather than to instruct. That has been the real secret of that system and of the development of Denmark on the agricultural side. I would hope that it would be possible for the Minister to find a way to graft on to the Irish system a system that would allow even the present generation of young men and women to get that same kind of inspiration and knowledge by continuous residential teaching at a High School of the kind, and I would hope that it will be made possible at such schools for the townsmen to mingle closely with the agriculturalist, and that it would not be a system confined to agriculturalists, or set apart in such a way that agriculturalists in the main would be the students, but that we would find a way of mingling for three or four months in the year the townsman and the countryman, so that they could begin to understand each other's ideals and outlook and help each other in the making of a new country. That, I believe, would go very far to help to undo some of the bad work that has been done in recent months and years. There has been an experiment— almost more than an experiment—on very moderate lines, but with the same ideal, conducted in England for the last few years, but lacking the value of the residential period at college. I am speaking of the Workers' Educational Association, the Central Labour College and the Ruskin College. While each of these institutions has its defects, they do indicate that amongst industrial workers in England and in Scotland and in Wales, even more particularly in Wales, there has been revived a desire for education on the cultural side, a knowledge of affairs that do not directly affect the earning of a livelihood. I know of my own knowledge that these institutions have been extremely valuable, and I believe that their adaptation to Ireland, and their extension throughout Ireland, and the co-mingling in such institutions of the agriculturists and the town workers of the country would be of the utmost value for the future development of the country.

If Deputy Magennis, with all his remarkable eloquence, is able to persuade you that he speaks on this question and other questions with reluctance you may well imagine what my case must be. There has been so much said here that I am sure the majority of the Deputies present are hoping that I am not going to make any attempt to deal with anything like the whole of it in reply. Another remark also of Deputy Magennis which struck me was that in connection with the Address itself. He was overwhelmed by a sense of unreality regarding the address, he said, as a matter of ritual. Well, really, my view of the Address is that, whatever form it may follow, it was a very businesslike document, and probably the reason why the amendment is brought forward is that that document was so businesslike that it made no pretence at all at window-dressing. Otherwise it might have been possible perhaps to promise, when the possibility of accomplishing the promise would come, very great things with regard to education. The programme that was put before you dealt with things which were intended to be brought before you without delay. Now, in listening to the discussion that has taken place this evening, a most interesting and valuable discussion, I may say, though I was not overwhelmed, I was very much impressed by the sense of reality, of one reality in particular, and that is that the representatives of the people of Ireland here discussing the subject are under no shadow of doubt whatever that the sovereign power over their own education has at last come to the people of Ireland. I wish the Deputies could use their eloquence and their power of persuasion to bring that home to the people of Ireland, one and all, outside of this Assembly, and to make them realise, because they really do not realise, and they cannot realise, so great and unexpected is the change that has come, that they have that sovereign power, and that along with it is cast on them enormous responsibilities. To speak plainly, I assure you I have what I could hardly describe with any other word, a horror of State-made education. I think the action of the State in a matter of this kind should be, as far as is possible, a response to the feeling and demand of the people. Otherwise it would hardly be healthy, and it certainly will not produce the fruit that is expected of it. Therefore, I would ask the Deputies who have spoken this evening and the rest of the Deputies as well to do what they can to rouse up the people they represent and to throw all their power into it, all the apostolic power that they feel themselves possessed of with regard to this question of education, and to stir up the people of Ireland, the Irish Nation, into that belief which they do not possess, in the reality and importance of education. If we have to come here and complain that the parents and people generally and the Press reporters and others are not fully awake to all that education means, very well, let us go abroad and let us get the truth, the true view of these things, into the minds of the people, because, believe me, the right instinct is there; we are not the only perfect people in Ireland; the right instinct is outside as well as inside this Assembly; and, believe me, the people will respond ultimately. One Deputy made use of a quotation, I think, with regard to what the people of Ireland did in ancient times. The quotation was hardly accurate. Certainly our ancestors here in Ireland, whatever may be thought of them for it, did not despise wealth as an element in aristocracy, but it is quite true, on the other hand, that they did appreciate learning as an element in social dignity. Practically, one of their ancient and authentic documents says there is no learning without freedom and without franchise. The fact that a man acquires the amount of learning that was implied in the mere admission into a public school conferred on him a superior status compared with those who had not this qualification. That learning, that was provided so remarkably in ancient Ireland, was not provided by the State, and all its extraordinary developments were not due to State influence or State control. They sprang from the instincts of the people, answering to the inspirations of good men. I think that is the direction in which especially you are to look for educational development in Ireland now and in the future, and to trust that the people, rightly appealed to, will respond to the appeal, and will be in no degree behind their forefathers, or behind anything that you can tell them of their forefathers, in their zeal for education. To come down to details with regard to the actual purport of the amendment, one can recognise at a glance that the legislative programme that has been placed before you was intended to make the necessary provision for bringing under national control the whole public administration formerly carried on under the British Government, and, besides that, for making such adaptation and changes as may be necessary and proper. So far as education is a matter of Government control, it might be expected that education would be provided for in this programme, and, although the word "education" does not appear in the programme, I think you will find in time that it is not left unprovided for. Amongst the measures contemplated and announced there is a Ministries Bill, and such a Bill would naturally deal with the Department of Education and with the scope of that Department. To say any more about it would be to anticipate the occasion on which that Bill will be presented to you. More than one Deputy, in speaking on this subject, has dwelt on the fact that Irish education has been hard pressed. I think the word "starved" has been used now, as on many previous occasions. Such expressions carry with them the belief in which we all, I think, concur, that in this matter of education any provisions, to be effective, must be accompanied by financial provisions. I am sure that at present we have been dealing only in a provisional way with the expenditure of money. The Estimates that came before us had relation only to the period through which we are passing. When those Estimates were before us different Deputies were so much under the same sense of fact as I am myself, that no proposal to increase the Estimate for education came from any quarter.

That could only come from the Ministerial quarter, according to the Standing Orders.

Well, no suggestions, shall I say? Although there is no measure labelled by the term education on the programme that is before you, the constitution of the Ministry of Education will necessarily define the scope of that Ministry, and, consequently will, at all events, prepare the way for such co-ordination of the Educational Department as the Government is prepared to put forward. One of the Deputies who spoke expressed the hope that the Government's educational reforms would not be attempted piecemeal, and I think that is a very sound suggestion. Deputy Thrift expressed the opinion that the legislative proposals of the Government, while not being delayed, should be comprehensive Although several compliments have been paid to me in the course of this discussion, I do not think that any person present thinks that I personally am competent to produce a comprehensive, all-round measure of educational reform within such a short space of time as I have been occupying this position, nor do I think that a single one of the Deputies who have spoken this evening imagines that even in a very much longer space of time I could bring forward a comprehensive scheme unaided. Deputy Johnson made the suggestion that I should be assisted, in considering the educational programme of the Government, by the Deputies who have spoken here this evening, or a number of them, together with others inside and outside the Dáil. My own intention has been—and I have not kept it back from any members of the Dáil who have been in consultation with me about it—to take such advice as I can get from persons of experience who have an anxious desire at the same time to see reforms in Irish education. I do not know whether it would be wise on my part, or wise from the point of view of the Dáil, that those persons should be selected from the membership of the Dáil. It would probably be better, without drawing any lines inclusive or exclusive, that I should be left free to make the selection, and that the members of the Dáil who are capable of criticising should be as free as possible to criticise afterwards when the scheme comes forward. Without attempting to deal with this business of future Irish educational reform by proposing the creation of another Commission—for Commissions have, I think, rather a bad name with the public generally; they are looked upon as devices for getting rid of for a time or shelving difficulties rather than for meeting them—I think I may say that first of all a great deal of enquiry has been made, and a great deal of the results of the enquiries that have been made are available. The proper means of giving effect to these results, and of drawing the right conclusions from them in concrete form, is to put them in the form of legislative proposals. I do not think it would be contended that those means exist at present, and certainly before I would venture to shape legislative proposals on education I would consider it a duty to look for the best advice that I could get, and I intend to do so. I have already been taking steps towards doing so, and while I do not intend to announce the names of a Commission, or anything of that kind to the Dáil, I assure them it will be my endeavour to look around impartially to get the soundest advice and constructive proposals, not enquiring and not taking evidence or anything of that kind. At the same time if there be others who have good advice to give, advice that I do not happen to possess, I would apply directly to such persons for that advice, and I hope they themselves, having the advice which they think will be fruitful, will not withhold it from me. Besides legislative measures, you all know that a great deal can be done by administrative measures, and Deputy Magennis has spoken of some of the administrative measures which have taken place already in a way which leaves us in a doubt as to whether he wholly disapproves of them, partly disapproves of them, or approves of them. I suppose it is sad to see these ancient Boards—they are almost ancient now— passing away. I say I do not at all pretend to scoff at their personnel, but I think the conviction has been before the public for a long time that these Boards, their multiplicity, and, in some cases the multiplicity of their members, did not constitute a good basis for an educational system, and that the passing away of those Boards at some time or another was inevitable. A great deal of administrative work has taken place. We have heard the new programmes; they may have come forward in a way which was as characteristic of the stormy times through which we are passing as many other events that you are familiar with. By and bye we will settle down into a much more formal way, a more ritual way of doing these things.

I am sure it will be expected, especially of me, as this responsibility has been placed on me, to make some statement to the Dáil with regard to the position of the National language in the schools. I need hardly state to those who are familiar with the facts, that the position of the Irish language in the schools is steadily improving. Many schools which had not formerly taken up the teaching of Irish are taking it up now. The number of schools teaching Irish is increasing, the extent to which Irish is being taught in the schools is increasing, and I think I can say, with confidence, that the quality of the teaching is improving. It is obvious that the next few years will be a time of great and critical importance with regard to the Irish language in the schools. That we have all before us. Now the provisions that have already been made in favour of teaching Irish, and the provisions already made for the training of teachers for the teaching of Irish, and through Irish, those provisions or not less effective provisions will, I trust, be maintained with the support of this Assembly and with the support of the people. There is one aspect in particular in which a new development must arise, and will arise without the necessity, I think, of any special legislation. It follows naturally from one of the Articles of the Constitution which deals with the language. From that Article it follows that in future Civil Service examinations in Ireland the Irish language will be a standard subject. Again, those who are familiar with the general course of education in this country know that hardly any influence has so profoundly shaped education in the Universities, in the Secondary Schools, and in the Primary Schools as the examinations of the British Civil Service hitherto. I remember giving evidence on behalf of the Gaelic League a number of years ago before a Commission which was appointed especially in connection with the Universities and the higher Civil Service, and an Englishman who sat in that Commission thought that I rather over-stated the case when I said to him that the Civil Service programme—the Civil Service year book—very deeply influenced even Irish primary education in the most remote parts of Ireland. He said he could hardly believe that, and in order to persuade him of it I told him a little anecdote which, I am sure, is familiar to some of you—I daresay it was an invention, but it illustrated the fact, at all events—about people coming into a country house after a baby had arrived in the house, and how one of the neighbours remarked to the parents, "What a grand sorter he will make." If it had been in County Galway he would have been a gauger, I am told. At all events, the joke illustrates the fact that the Civil Service programme goes right into the villages and remote country districts in Ireland in its influence in the schools. If it has done that in the past it will do it in the future, and I look forward to the Irish language obtaining that position of a standard subject as one of the most effective means in giving the language a position of advantage in the schools.

Many other things have been mentioned in regard to the educational ideal, and with regard to the general lines of educational reform. Really, these things have been so well discussed this evening that it will hardly be necessary to add anything to the discussion. As to primary and secondary education, for my part I do not see why there should be any division between them. I do not know where the dividing line begins and ends. I do not know what part of mathematics is primary and what part is secondary. If a child of eight years of age commences to learn French, and if that be primary instruction in French, what time does it pass into secondary? Or if another child does not commence French until 15 years of age, then French is secondary for that child, whereas it was primary for the other. This whole division between primary and secondary education seems to me to be totally artificial, and if a fusion can be accomplished, and I think it can, I think we should aim at it—I am not going to pretend to lay down the ways and means here—I think we should aim at such a fusion and that it would be altogether desirable. The question of the Universities is a different one. They are autonomous bodies, and I think it is best that they are autonomous bodies, and the fact that the University men present are so thoroughly convinced of that fact should bear out for the rest of you the truth of what I put forward as an axiom at the commencement of my remarks, and that is that autonomous education, believe me, is better than State-made education.

Perhaps before you put the question I might have the leave of the Dáil to make a statement, in view of what the Minister has said.

Leave was granted.

While the statement made by the Minister for Education is not to my mind, in any case, altogether satisfactory, it does certainly clear up some points of doubt and some progress has been indicated. He has recalled to our mind what I must confess I did not advert to, that by the introduction of the Ministries Bill the position of the Education Department will be regularised, and I hope when that particular phase of the Ministries Bill is going through that we will have a full opportunity of debating the matter and criticising the proposals of the Government with regard to that. He also showed that something pretty tangible was being done in the way of enquiring into the position with a view to preparing legislation and setting about the work of educational legislation at the earliest possible moment. I may say, if I might be permitted, that there was one particular point which he stressed very much, which seemed rather strange to me. That was that this work was for the people outside rather than for this Parliament. I look upon the Parliament here as the mouthpiece of the people, and, therefore, it is the duty and the privilege of this Parliament to speak for the people and to promulgate their educational legislation for them. But I propose in view of what the Minister has said not to press my amendment to a division. I may say that what has impelled me most to that decision is the difficulty which it would create for Deputies like Deputy Thrift, and others too who have not spoken, in having to vote in this particular matter against what, perhaps, are their own best feelings in the matter. I feel that they are, or, most of them, all, perhaps, as anxious as I am to get and see this through at the earliest possible moment. I do not want, therefore, to put them into a position whereby they might be misunderstood in any vote they might give, and I therefore ask leave of the Dáil to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

Does Deputy Sears intend to move his Amendment, or simply to move that the debate be adjourned until to-morrow, when we can take it? I understand that the Minister for Industry and Commerce desires to make a brief statement.

Mr. WM. SEARS

Can I formally move the Amendment and resume the discussion to-morrow?

Certainly, I think that would meet the wishes of the Dáil generally.

I formally propose:—

"To omit all after the word `speech,' and to insert `but regrets that no indication is being afforded of the scope of the Land Bill, the necessity for which has been so frequently expressed by the Government.' "

I beg to second.

Debate adjourned.