Reading the English translation of the Minister's speech, introducing this Estimate some weeks ago, it seems to me he was unnecessarily diffident in suggesting that some Deputies might consider the Estimate too high. There is an increase of about £2,000 this year as compared with last year. The Minister is asking the House to vote him approximately £20,000,000. With the amount included in the Office of Public Works Estimate for national school buildings the total is £22,000,000. The fact of the matter is we are not spending, in my view, nearly sufficient on education. We are not investing nearly enough in education.
It is now generally agreed by the economists that educational investment constitutes highly productive expenditure. It is generally agreed that investment in education is a most significant and potent factor in promoting economic growth, social and economic advance as well as cultural progress. I suspect that there lingers in the Department of Education adémodé outlook which perhaps originated some 24 years ago at the time of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Banking, Currency and Credit in 1938. That Commission threw up its hands in horror at the State incurring highly, as the economists called it, deadweight debt, debt which did not yield a short-term cash profit.
There are some economists who, if they had their way, would prevent the State from spending money on slum clearance. If there lingers in the Department any survival of the idea that the Department of Education should not be too aggressive in its approach to the Minister for Finance for more money, it is time that notion were swept away. We would expect a young man such as the Minister to see to it that that is brought about. Probably the Minister, who, as we all know, is a very gracious person, is perhaps too diffident in his demands on the Minister for Finance for more money for educational development.
The Minister has introduced an Estimate for £20,000,000. If he chooses to come to this House next year with an Estimate for £40,000,000, I assure him I shall be the first to lead the cheering. The amount of money we are investing in educational development contrasts appallingly with expenditure by advanced European countries. I have here the Estimate for the Ministry of Education of Northern Ireland. The Government of Northern Ireland are asking this year for £19,943,000 for their Ministry of Education, that is, £20,000,000. In addition another £2,000,000 is being sought in Northern Ireland under the Universities Vote, which is a separate Vote. Therefore, for six counties, the Northern Government are raising £22,000,000 and we, for 26 counties and for three times the population, are raising approximately the same amount.
No matter what way we look at it, per county or per head of the population, we have the situation that they are spending four times more than we are. There is great need for economic research into the potency of educational investment. There is need for statistics, which are not available. In that connection, it is appropriate that someone here should pay tribute to the remarkable report, entitledInvestment in Education in the Republic of Ireland, circulated to Deputies some weeks ago by the Federation of Irish Secondary Schools—an organisation which, I notice, has changed its name since it last circulated Deputies a year ago. That is beside the point.
There is need for an investment campaign. Our country is very poor in natural resources but we are not poor in brain power. Thank God, Irish brains are second to none. We are not developing that brain power to the extent to which we should. As speakers from all sides of the House have pointed out, there is a vast unexploited potential. I want to emphasise that that potential, even in the economic and financial sense, is worth while developing. If research were carried out into the economics of education in this country, if some effort were made to measure the economic utility of educational expenditure and the results of such expenditure, it would serve a most useful purpose.
I heard a rumour some months ago that the Economic Research Institute here had been asked to do a survey into the economics of education in the Irish Republic and that for some reason or other, the invitation was subsequently withdrawn from the Research Institute. That may or may not be true. Whether it is or not does not matter very much, I suppose. Certainly, there is a field there which would be well worth investigating.
As the Minister probably knows, there is a research unit in London University which deals solely with the economics of education. There is a wide literature on the subject. There is a very wide field for investigation which we could look into. It is time we broke new ground. The Minister should plan for the future. We are on the brink of the 21st century. The majority of children in our schools today will spend the greater part of their working life in the 21st century. That is a very sobering thought and one which we can very easily overlook. I am quite serious when I suggest that next year's Estimate should be of the order of £40,000,000.
I should like to quote some of the remarkable statistics revealed in this recently circulated document. At Table 10 of the report, we learn that we spend per inhabitant £6 per year on educational purposes. In Northern Ireland, a sum of £12 per year per inhabitant is spent on educational purposes. In Scotland the figure is £19 per year and in the United States a sum of £32 per head per year is spent on educational purposes. Therefore, the United States spends five times and Scotland three times more than we do.
In passing, also, I should mention that I read recently that German economists, who were investigating the remarkable recovery of the German economy after the War, came to the conclusion that the biggest single facfor responsible for that recovery was the very high standard of education in Western Germany. The Minister has told us that it will take 12 years at the present rate to replace all the condemned and unsuitable primary schools which we have in this country. We have 750 such schools, and that is overlooking the number of schools which will yearly go out of commission. It will take 12 years to replace those which are at present condemned. Why can it not be done in a shorter period? I know it will cost a lot of money but that is the type of money for which we are justified in mortgaging the future. That is the type of money for which it is worth while increasing the national debt. During those 12 years, another generation of children will come to be educated in insanitary and filthy national schools, of which we have far too many.
The position in regard to secondary education is that the Department has little function as far as basic needs are concerned and no long-term policy for the provision of new secondary schools. The most extraordinary fund-raising activities are being indulged in at present by voluntary effort, gymkhanas, pools, raffles, and so on. Recently, I was requested to pay 5/-for a ticket to go to the Gresham Hotel to attend a fashion show for a secondary school building. What sort of a crazy scale of values have we got if we are to leave the provision of funds for educational investment to such devices? No grants are provided by the Department for secondary school buildings except those recently introduced on a very small scale for science laboratories.
As previous speakers said, you will get a grant for a hotel, for a new industry, for cow byres and pig styes. In one year alone, the State has provided over £4,000,000 for financing the eradication of bovine TB, a very sound proposal and one which should certainly be undertaken, but I suggest, as other speakers have suggested, that we have a crazy scale of values if we are convinced that it is worth while spending money on such things as financing the eradication of bovine TB on such a large scale, and if at the same time, we refrain from providing grants for secondary schools and are complacent about continuing in existence insanitary and unsuitable national schools.
I do not want, for one moment, to lenigrate the undoubted progress that has been made or to take credit from the Minister and his officials, but I want to urge that if we want to keep pace with other advanced countries, we must adjust ourselves to the idea that we must spend more and more money on education. The simple fact of the matter is that the most efficient fund raisers in this country are the Revenue Commissioners. We are relying on voluntary efforts for the provision of funds for secondary schools and at the same time, we have a high rate of indirect taxation.
In Dublin, there are many people paying taxes through PAYE who are inclined to say: "What are we paying taxes for?" Indeed, I know one or two concrete cases where parish priests have had considerable difficulty—I am referring to primary schools now—in raising funds for ordinary maintenance purposes and the day-to-day requirements of the schools, by reason of the fact that the average Dublin worker is inclined to say: "I am paying PAYE at a high rate", and to take the view, if he has a large family, that he is entitled as a constitutional right to free education for his children, as of course he is.
The Constitution says the State shall provide free primary education but it is not doing so to the extent that we are continuing to rely on private effort for the provision of funds for the heating, cleaning and maintenance of the schools. In that connection, I believe indeed that it is surely implicit in the Constitution that that free primary education which the State is obliged to provide should be provided in civilised conditions. To the extent that it is not provided in civilised conditions, the Minister is in a very vulnerable position. It has become fashionable in recent years for individual citizens to proceed against the State through the Attorney General for breaches of the Constitution. I really think the Minister should consult with the Attorney General regarding his condoning of insanitary and unsuitable primary schools of which we still have too many.
I mentioned one last year. I referred to Cloughran national school which is half a mile from Dublin Airport. It is a school with stinking toilet accommodation. Could any contrast be more pointed? When visitors arrive at Dublin Airport, we are proud to show it to them and let them see our £4 million worth of jet planes. Yet half a mile away, there is a stinking hovel of a national school, which has not been improved in the past year, incidentally.
Other speakers have said that the availability of education, by and large, depends on the depth of the parents' pockets. Again, by and large, if the father cannot afford to pay the high fees for secondary and university education, a child who could be a potential genius will have to go through life as a labourer or road worker, and perhaps out of this country. It is tragic for anyone who frequently goes to England to see the vast numbers of Irish workers engaged in heavy labouring work because when they went there in the first place, they did not have the basic education necessary to enable them to absorb training for craftwork or more highly skilled work and in many cases they are capable of far better things. This pool of untapped ability which we are failing to develop is a very great loss to the country.
I am particularly interested in the question of national schools because more children attend national schools than any other type of schools. I was very interested a fortnight ago to hear Deputy Barron, a new Deputy, speaking of the managerial system. Deputy Barron has given all his working life to teaching and he must know that system better than most of us. The managerial system is something which is uniquely Irish. It is a system which has served this country well for many years and it is a system which I hope will continue to serve us in the future. I want to assure the Minister that every time I put down a question related to school management, there is no need for him to climb on his high horse and adopt the attitude that we are trying to discredit the managerial system.
I certainly am not trying to discredit the managerial system. If one voices criticism of the managers, people says: "You must be anti-clerical," and they may even say: "That fellow is a Communist." The simple fact is that if those of us who, as I do, cherish the managerial system refrain from seeing to it that that system is brought up to date—because it is an old system which we took over from the British, and like many other features of our administration which we took over from the British, needs to be jizzed up —and if we refrain from constructive criticism in those circumstances, we are leaving the field wide open to those who wish to discredit the managerial system for the purpose of seeing it in trouble and thrown over.
Deputy Barron suggested that the problems of maintenance, heating and cleaning should be removed from the sphere of the managers. Certainly the financial responsibility of having to cater for school maintenance, heating and cleaning should be removed from the managers, because, as I have already said, when the managers go to look for funds for those purposes people in Dublin, at any rate, will take the view that they are already paying high taxes and they will be loath to subscribe for such a public purpose as the maintenance of national schools.
Again, in Dublin, many parishes have big parochial debts for church building programmes and there is a tendency for school financing of a routine revenue nature to be rather neglected because of the pressure of other commitments. I fail to see why the parish should be expected to provide money for the heating and cleaning of national schools. The Minister's grants to the schools for that purpose are pitifully low. A school catering for 500 pupils in the city of Dublin gets a grant of £124 a year for heating and cleaning. Would the Minister, when replying, be good enough to tell me something about this scale of grants? It is a sliding scale which has the appearance of being scientifically calculated. Who decides that £22 is enough to heat and clean a school? It is really £22 multiplied by two because these grants are on a contributory basis. The Department will provide £22 to heat and clean a school which caters for 35 pupils. How did the Department arrive at that figure? Why is it £22 instead of £12 or £27 or £122? Does that calculation include an average price for coal or turf and if so, when was it arrived at?
The truth of the matter is that the figures were arrived at years ago and there have been percentage increases from time to time. I suggest to the Minister that it is time to take a completely new look at the question of providing money for heating, cleaning and maintaining national schools. Our people are not prepared to tolerate any longer their children being educated in schools which are not adequate for the purpose. The Minister and all concerned in this matter should take note of that. It is a fact that His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin is concerned about the matter and saw fit to appoint a committee of educationalists to supervise the discharge of their functions by his managers. Because of that it is appropriate that the Department and the Minister should make it clear that there will be no lack of grants for heating, cleaning and maintenance. These matters should not cause the trouble and concern which they do at the moment.
Is it not a fact that when building a national school the Board of Works operate on the principle that the school will have to last 100 years without any maintenance expenditure and that the initial capital grants could be considerably reduced, as the last speaker pointed out, if adequate maintenance were provided over the working life of the schools? Is there some principle behind the idea that the parish should be called upon to provide most of the funds for heating and cleaning the school? Is the view taken that, despite what the Constitution says, parents should not get education for their children without some direct cost to them? If that outlook has survived in the Department since Victorian days it is time it was stamped out.
Conditions have changed greatly since the Department's regulations were drafted and they are now obviously archaic. The most humble working person in this country is today paying higher taxation every time he buys a pint of stout or 20 cigarettes. Seventy per cent. of our revenue is derived from this indirect taxation which bears more heavily on the lower paid section of the community than it does on the wealthier sections. For that reason, if for no other, there is a grave moral obligation on the Minister to see to it that the national schools are brought up to date.
During the last year I put down a number of questions dealing with school hours in the city of Dublin and the gist of the Minister's reply was that he could do nothing about the matter, that if the school operated for the statutory number of hours per week that fulfilled the Department's regulations and beyond that there was nothing he was prepared to do. He indicated that the obvious line parents should take was to approach the manager. In those areas where the problem arises of conflicting school hours within the same parish it is sometimes because the manager is unapproachable or indifferent and it is futile for the Minister to suggest that the parents should approach him.
It is an appalling problem for a housewife with a large family to have a boy whose lunch hour is from 12.30 to 2 p.m. and a girl attending a school in the same parish which closes at 1.30 p.m. and probably other children at vocational or secondary schools which may or may not keep different hours. The result is that the housewife will spend the greater part of her working day in getting dinner for her children coming in at staggered intervals. Then she has to provide her husband with his dinner at 6 o'clock. I know there is no cut and dried solution to this problem and I will not say whether it is preferable to have the school day broken by a lunch hour or to have the school closed for the day at 1.30 or 2.30 p.m. Circumstances alter cases in various areas but there is a strong case for uniform school hours within the same parish. I would ask the Minister to call the various interests together and to consult with the Managers' Association as to what can be done about this problem.
The problem is aggravated in those cases where children cannot go home to lunch because of transport difficulties. In some cases where they cannot go home to lunch it is appalling to think that they are locked out of the school and left to wander around the streets during the lunch hour. The reason for that is that there is no supervision provided during lunch-hour and the question of insurance has a bearing on that. That is why I asked the Minister some months ago if the State would take over the insuring of the manager against accidents which may happen to children on the school premises. If children are not supervised during the lunch-hour, the insurance companies will not carry the insurance cover. If the State were to take over the liability for accidents befalling children on school premises, these problem would not arise. Whatever the solution may be, surely there is a case for investigation? The Minister should take an interest in it and not climb on his high horse and say this is a matter solely for the manager and that it is quite wrong for Deputy Byrne to suggest that we should take these problems from the managers.
I am sure the Minister knows and I can assure him that no one would be more pleased than the managers if these financial problems were taken over. It is incorrect to suggest that by taking over these financial burdens, the State would be cutting across the accepted principle of parochial control of the national school. Nothing could be further from the case. As I said before, unless we rectify these problems, those who want to discredit the managerial system will avail of them for that purpose.
The Minister has again been able to report a small measure of progress in regard to the question of improving the teacher-pupil ratio in national schools. He told us last year that there was a particular problem in capitation primary schools and the scheme announced last year is contingent on the availability of accommodation for extra teachers in these capitation schools. I should like to know to what extent the new scheme has succeeded, or are the Minister's efforts being thwarted in these capitation schools by any lack of accommodation for the extra teachers? Before I leave the question of primary schools, I should say that I noticed that the Minister announced last week he is building an extension to St. Patrick's Training College which is to cost the State £1 million. I welcome that development, but I would be rather apprehensive about whether or not this is to mean that the prospect of having all our national teachers educated in the university, with university degrees, is fading away on the horizon.
On the question of secondary education, the most significant feature of the Minister's policy is that there is no long-term, planned programme for the expansion of secondary school accommodation. The Minister speaks glibly of 100,000 children taking secondary education by the end of this decade. Where are they to be educated? There is a great shortage of secondary schools and the State is not making moneys available for the construction of new schools. The position is that the State makes a far too limited amount of money available for secondary education and leaves the rest to the chances of parental income. The appallingly low ratio of children taking post-primary education is revealed very clearly in Table 1 of this report to which I have already referred and for which we are greatly indebted to the Federation of Irish Secondary Schools. Thirty-six per cent. of our children between the ages of 15 and 19 are enrolled in secondary schools—thirty-six per cent. In Northern Ireland, the equivalent figure is 75 per cent; in the United States of America, 73 per cent; and in England and Wales 88 per cent.
Statistics of that nature should make apparent and manifest the truth of what I have been saying about our complete neglect financially of educational development. The State of course is relieved to a considerable extent of the financial burden by the religious orders, and, in particular, by the Christian Brothers, to whom we are so greatly indebted. It seems to me, however, that there are growing indications that the financial burden of providing for the capital development of secondary schools is becoming too much for the religious orders. That is why we have these fund-raising activities such as gymkhanas and fashion shows to which I have already referred. It is not good enough that we should be dependent on such activities for the development of our school building programme. The public will not tolerate that position.
The State must provide capital grants for secondary schools and if the Minister will not listen to members of this House on this matter, and if members will not accept the invitability of more and more educational expenditure for development purposes, perhaps they will listen to the Bishop of Killaloe who, in the Minister's constituency, in St. Flannan's College, Ennis, a week ago, referred to the necessity for State grants for secondary school building. There can be no planned effort to expand secondary education for more and more children without building grants and there can be no planned development without a substantial increase in the present rate of capitation grants.
The Minister, in reply to a Parliamentary Question of mine no later than today, indicated that he is not in a position to hold out any immediate hope of an increase in the secondary school capitation grants. Again, I am indebted to this report which discloses that the cost of educating children in Irish secondary schools is three times greater, on average, than the amount of the capitation grant. At Table 17 of the report, we will see that the overall cost per pupil in 1959-1960 was £33 and that the Department's capitation grant was only £11 per annum per junior pupil and £16 per annum per senior pupil. That is hedged around with qualifying conditions and restrictions of all sorts so that even a 100 per cent. increase in the capitation grants would not be adequate to cover the costs. The question of whether free post-primary education should be made available to all children in a position to avail of it has been touched upon in an ultra-conservative manner in the report but I shall defer my remarks on that for the moment.
Let me come back to the question of the increase in the capitation grants. There is a special problem which exists in regard to a certain type of school which has special circumstances that aggravate the problem. I refer to the Protestant schools which are not in a position to avail of the free services of religious orders so generously provided for the majority of the community. On that account, the cost of educating children in Protestant schools is far greater than it is in Catholic ones.
I was very glad that the Minister was able to indicate that discussions are taking place regarding the introduction of the teacher-exchange scheme with other countries. People in all professions have a great deal to gain by consulting and conferring with their professional colleagues in other countries and by availing of an exchange of ideas, which is what fertilises growth and development in every profession. I hope that by this time next year the Minister will be able to tell us of the introduction of a satisfactory teacher-exchange programme.
The Minister knows that there is a grave scarcity of teachers of science and higher mathematics. He also knows that there are many Irish graduates teaching these subjects in secondary schools in England and Northern Ireland who would love to come home to pursue their profession here but unless they are prepared to start on the bottom of the salary scale, like fresh green graduates just out of the university, they can write off any prospect of ever getting back to this country because the Department will not recognise their service abroad for incremental purposes. The Department will not even recognise service in Northern Ireland. It is, indeed, giving official recognition to the Border in an unconstitutional fashion in my view. If, say, the Christian Brothers want to transfer science teachers from Newry or Armagh to Dublin or Cork they can do so only at their financial disadvantage. If a graduate of Cork or Galway, working as a teacher in England, wants to come home to this country to educate and bring up his children here, he will be deprived of that opportunity for all practical purposes, no matter how high the order of experience he has had outside this country. Why is that? I put it down to parsimony on the part of the Department. The great effort to keep costs down may be justifiable in other Departments but it is not justifiable in a Department of Education. Even half a dozen Irish science graduates brought home to this country to teach science in our secondary schools would make a very material difference in regard to the whole position of scarcity which prevails.
I should like to see recognition given for suitable service in respect of all graduates but if the Minister feels precluded from granting that will he, in the name of sanity, grant it to science graduates so as to help to resolve the acute scarcity of science teachers and teachers of higher mathematics? This acute scarcity must be resolved if we are to make any progress—and we all admit this is very necessary in these times.
We hear a lot of platitudes about foreign language teaching and about the necessity, now that we are on the brink of a united Europe, for all of us to learn foreign languages but those who are in a position to do so will not be allowed to bring in foreigners to teach languages in this country. Most of the religious orders such as the Holy Ghost Fathers, the Jesuits and the Dominicans, have very close contacts all over the Continent of Europe. There was a time when Blackrock College was known as the French School by reason of the fact that a number of Frenchmen taught there. Now, unless a person is capable of teaching through Irish we will not permit a foreigner to teach even the language of his own country. That seems to me to be the height of lunacy.
The reluctance to permit our own graduates to come back surely makes a mockery of all our lamentations about emigration. Most of our graduates have to emigrate. Thank God, many of them in other professions get back. Many young doctors nowadays pursue post-graduate courses outside this country. Unless a young doctor has such experience outside this country he has little or no chance of being appointed by the Local Appointments Commissioners to a dispensary post. That being the case, I cannot understand this adamant refusal of the Department to recognise suitable teaching service abroad of our graduates. I say "suitable service" because I recognise that not all service may be suitable. If there is any reason in principle why this should be continued I trust the Minister will tell us what it is.
After 7½ years, we recently received the Report of the Council of Education on secondary education. The Minister received it 1½ years ago but it had to be translated into Irish before it could be circulated to the rest of us. The most apt word I can think of to describe the report is "pedestrian". It is a document which is completely lacking in imagination and which shows no sign whatsoever of fresh thinking or real thought which are so necessary if we are to keep apace with developments in other countries; and unless we do keep apace with them, in 50 years' time we will have an undeveloped economy, an impoverished society.
The Council of Education was very concerned to adhere to its very narrow terms of reference in most respects, but in one respect, I submit, the Council of Education has gone outside its terms of reference. That is where it says, at paragraph 428, that the idea of secondary education for all is utopian if only for financial reasons. It is not the function of the Council of Education to advise us on finance. The council was given a very restricted brief in relation to the secondary school curriculum but we have now the position that the council, like so many in this country, take it as a fact that the community at large are not prepared to provide increased expenditure for educational matters. I think we should disillusion the Council of Education of that idea.
Other European countries, and the North of Ireland, are in a position to provide free secondary education for all who can avail of it. It is not a utopian idea for us to strive to reach that goal. It is one which cannot be reached overnight, one for which we shall have to pay a high price, but in my submission the mass of the people are prepared to pay that price because the mass of the people, even if the Department has not reached this conclusion, look upon knowledge as the birthright of every child born into the world.
The Council of Education wants to preserve thestatus quo but, as somebody else said here earlier this evening, it is not a question of whether we can afford to have free post-primary education for all but whether we can afford not to have it. The Council of Education has really made no farreaching proposals. It has touched on certain problems and dodged the tricky ones. It has made no reference to the financial problem beyond that it would be utopian and idealistic for us to hope to have the same degree of educational provision—free secondary education for all—as is provided in the North of Ireland. Unless we can face up to the inevitability of that, quite apart from any other consideration, we will not have a developed economy.
I want to say a few brief and diffident words about the teaching of history in our schools. For several years this question has been raised on the Education Estimate by a number of Deputies, notably Deputy Dillon. In the past year the subject has been more freely ventilated than before by reason of the fact that last December, at a meeting of the Graduates' Association of the National University of Ireland, Professor Hayes-McCoy, Professor of History at University College, Galway, condemned some of the history text books in use as being biased, unobjective and prejudiced. It has been made evident that some teachers share the dissatisfaction of Professor Hayes-McCoy in this matter.
We are a country with a very glorious history, a country which struggled for over 700 years to obtain its freedom from an oppressor, but having obtained that freedom it is surely wrong to engage in emotional teaching of history to foment the hatreds and perpetuate the misunderstandings of the past. It is wrong and it is evil to use the history of our country, of our past relations with Britain, for the purpose of reviving ancient hatreds but, to some extent, in a minority of cases, history text books do this. Young people are emotional and it is very easy to prey on their emotions. I said here last year that I believe the chauvinistic teaching of history was one of the reason why young men from time time felt the most patriotic and worthy thing to do for Ireland was in defiance of all authority to go out on the Border and take potshots at RUC men.
Most of us have heard the story of the teacher who on his retirement said: "I may not have been much of a teacher but at least I taught my children two things—to know their prayers and to hate England." From an examination of history text books, referred to in an article inHibernia last month, it is quite evident that this biased, unobjective and emotional approach to the teaching of history still prevails in some of our schools. I have here an Irish language book, Eire Sean Is Nua. It is a most effective teaching medium for children since it is in the form of pictures. I regard it as a form of horror comic. It is full of blood-curdling accounts of battles, executions and persecutions. I counted them this morning—in 40 pages, there are eight pictures of people being executed.