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for their future important situations. Notwithstanding their greatest exertions, however, to choose persons qualified for this most important post, I was assured by those interested in the progress of education in that canton, that they found the present system totally inadequate to the production of efficient masters, and that they felt that they must follow the example of the other cantons, and establish a permanent Normal school. In the cantons of Fribourg and Schaffhouse the Normal schools sit only during three months of the year, during which time they give lectures to those desiring to be schoolmasters, and examine the candidates before granting the diplomas. But so totally inefficient have they found this system, that Fribourg is about to establish a Normal school during the present year, and Schaffhouse has only been prevented from doing so by the want of sufficient funds.
I was assured by the priests in the one canton, and by the Protestant clergy in the other, that they were fully convinced that no efforts on their part could insure good masters, unless they were aided by a sufficiently long religious, intellectual, and domestic training, under the eye of experienced and trustworthy professors.
Four of the Normal schools of Switzerland contain each from eightyfive to one hundred pupil-teachers; the rest average from forty to eighty.
It may seem extraordinary to some that so small a country as Switzerland should require so many schools for teachers, but the explanation is very simple. Switzerland is a poor country, and although it gives the schoolmaster a very honorable station in society, and regards him as next in dignity to the priests and clergy, it is not able to pay him very well, so that in many cases there is no other inducement to a schoolmaster to remain long at his post, than the interest he feels in his profession. From this cause there is always a constant desertion from the ranks going on in some parts, and a consequent necessity for the preparation of a sufficient number to fill the vacant posts. If the masters were paid better, Switzerland would be able to dispense with two or three of its Normal schools.
I should like to enter upon a description of the different Normal schools of Switzerland, were not that rather beside the purpose of this report; but I cannot refrain from recording the unanimous opinion of the Swiss educators on two points connected with these schools. These are, the necessity of manual labor in connection with the instruction given in the schools, and the time which all are agreed upon as necessary to the perfecting of a schoolmaster's education. On the latter point, all with whom I conversed assured me, that their experience had taught them that three years were absolutely necessary for the education of a master; that wherever less time had been tried, it had always been found insufficient; and that in order that even three years should suffice, it was necessary that the young man entering the Normal school should have completed his education in the primary schools.
With respect to the necessity of manual labor in a Normal school, opinions were hardly less unanimous. To the Bernese Normal schools, as well as to that at Kruitzlingen, conducted by Vehrli, the successor of Pestalozzi and Fellenberg, and to the Normal schools of Lucerne and Solleure, lands have been annexed, which are farmed and cultivated by the pupilteachers. They are sufficiently extensive, in five of these schools, to employ all the young men in the Normal school at least two hours per diem in their cultivation. On these lands all the pupil-teachers, accompanied by their professors, and clothed in coarse farmers' frocks, with thick wooden sandals, may be seen toiling most industriously about the middle of the day, cultivating all the vegetables for the use of the household, as well as Rome for the neighboring markets, and could any one be taken among them at that period of the day, he would imagine he saw before him a set
of peasants at their daily labor, instead of the young aspirants to the much respected profession of schoolmaster.
Besides this labor in the fields, the young men are also required to clean their apartments, to take charge of their own chambers, prepare their own meals, besides keeping all the premises in good repair. Thus the life of the pupil-teacher in Switzerland, during the time he remains at school, is one of the most laborious nature. He is never allowed to lose sight of the manner of life of the class from which he was selected, and with which he is afterward required to associate. He is never allowed to forget that he is a peasant, so that he may not afterward feel any disgust in mingling with peasants. In this manner, they train their teachers in habits of thought and life admirably suited to the laborious character of the profession for which they are destined, and to the humble class who will be their companions in after life. The higher the instruction that is given to a pupil-teacher, the more difficult and the more important is it to cherish his sympathies for the humble and often degraded class among whom he will be called to live and exercise his important duties.
In fact, as all the Swiss educators said, the great difficulty in educating a teacher of the poor is to avoid, in advancing his intelligence and elevating his religious and moral character, raising his tastes and feelings so much above the class from which he has been selected, and with which he is called upon afterward to associate, as teacher, adviser, and friend, as to render him disgusted with his humble companions, and with the toilsome duties of his profession. In educating the teachers, therefore, far above the peasant class whom they are intended to instruct, the Swiss cantons, which I have mentioned, are very careful to continually habituate them to the simplicity and laborious character of the peasant's life, so that, when they leave the Normal schools, they find that they have changed from a situation of humble toil to one of comparative ease. They do not therefore become dissatisfied afterward with their laborious employments, but are accustomed even from their childhood to combine a high development of the intellect and a great elevation of the character with the simplicity and drudgery of a peasant's occupations.
Thus the Swiss schoolmasters live in their villages as the coadjutors of the clergy, associating with the laborers in their homes and at their firesides, whilst at the same time they exhibit to them the highly beneficial and instructive example of Christian-minded, learned and gentle peasants, living proofs of the benefits to be derived from possessing a properly educated mind.
I cannot deny myself the pleasure of giving Vehrli's opinion on this subject. He said, 'Your object in educating a schoolmaster ought to be, to prepare a teacher of the people, who, whilst he is considerably elevated in mental acquirements above those among whom he will be obliged to mingle, shall thoroughly sympathize with them by having been himself accustomed to hard manual labor. If you take pupil-teachers into your Normal schools, and content yourselves with merely cultivating their mental powers, you will find that, however carefully you tend their religious instruction, you have educated men who will soon, despite themselves, feel a disgust for the population with whom they must associate, and for the laborious duties which they will have to perform; but is during the whole of their residence at the Normal school, you accustom them to hard and humble labor, when they leave, they will find themselves in higher and easier situations than when they were at school, they will sympathize with their poor associates, and feel contented and satisfied with their position.'
In Argovia they have so strongly felt the truth of the above remarks, that they have resolved to adopt M. Vehrli's suggestions, and to annes
lands to their Normal school; and in the canton of Vaud, where no labor is required from the pupil-teacher, I was assured that they had constant reason to complain of the dissatisfaction expressed by the teachers for their profession after leaving the Normal school. Nor is it only by means of agricultural labor that Vehrli endeavors to prepare his pupils for the honorable but arduous duties of their future lives. Nearly all the domestic concerns of his household are conducted by the pupil-teachers, and all assistance that is not absolutely necessary is dispensed with. Vehrli assured me that by these means the expenses of maintaining his Normal echool were greatly diminished, as they sent to market all the surplus of their agricultural produce, and employed the proceeds in defraying the ordinary expenditure of the school.
But whilst the Swiss cantons are thus careful to prepare the pupilteachers for the practical duties of their lives, they do not neglect their intellectual instruction; as they are fully convinced that the instruction given in a village school by an ignorant man must not only be very meager in kind, but very unattractive in character. In order to attain a cerlain standard of instruction in a village school, the education of the master should be very much elevated above it; and in order to make the poor prize the village school, it is necessary that they should have a very high opinion of the character and learning of the teacher.
The education given by these masters in the parochial schools includes, 1. Religious instruction. 2. Reading. 3. Writing. 4. Linear drawing. 5. Orthography and grammar. 6. Arithmetic and book-keeping. 7. Singing. 8. The elements of geography, and particularly of the geography of Switzerland. 9. The history of Switzerland. 10. The elements of natural philosophy, with its practical applications. 11. Exercises in composition. 12. Instruction in the rights and duties of a citizen.
In the Catholic cantons, however, the instruction is generally confined to religious lessons, reading, writing, and arithmetic.
No teacher is allowed to undertake the charge of a school, until he has obtained from the council of his canton, whose duty it is to examine candidates, a diploma stating his capability of directing the education of a school. This diploma is only granted after a very severe examination, which the candidate must pass before he can become a schoolmaster. Besides this, he must have obtained a certificate of character from the director of the Normal school in which he was educated, and in many cases another from a clergyman of his own sect, stating his capability of conducting the religious education of a school. This latter point is always strictly inquired into, either by the council of inspection, which examines the candidates, or by a clergyman of the sect of which the candidate is a member. The character and abilities of the teachers are not considered in Switzerland as matters of small concern, but on the contrary, every precaution is taken to guard against the possibility of a man of low character or poor education obtaining such a post. It is happily understood in the Swiss cantons, that such a schoolmaster is much worse than none at all. The influence of such an one on the young is demoralizing in the extreme, and does infinite mischief, by creating in the minds of the children associations connecting the name of school with unhappy thoughts, and thus often actually engendering a spirit of hostility, not only against education, but also against the holy precepts which were professedly taught at school.
I consider the very backward state of education in some of these cantons, compared to the great progress it has made in others, as a satisfactory proof of the necessity of adopting a centralization system in preference to one leaving the direction of education to provincial governments. I know there are many in our own country who blindly cry out against centralization, not reflecting that the central government, as being the
qualified to judge of their particular merits or demerits, are always sure to degenerate, and are liable to become seriously demoralized; and as, moreover, it is deeply important that every government, for the sake of social order and also for the sake of the happiness and morality of its subjects, should have every security that the people are really educated and not demoralized by a sinful sham of education, it is necessary that in every well-governed state, where the government takes any interest in the improvement of the people, there should be a central inspection of all the schools of the country, which should be supported and directed by the government. If government has not the power of examining every school, it can have no security that the children are not being absolutely demoralized, and that the seeds of future rebellion and sedition are not being sown in the village schools. In many of the neglected schools of England and Wales at the present day, this is actually the case, and just because the schoolmasters, in many instances, are never visited and watched by any person capable of judging of the moral condition of their schools.
The development of the people's education in Switzerland and France is of far too recent a date to allow me to speak of its results. It is not in thirteen years that the habits, opinions, taste, and manners of a people can be changed. A change in a nation's character is not wrought in one generation; so that nothing can be more unfair than the language held by many persons on this subject. If any thing is said of French and Swiss education, the answer is, 'Look at its results. The people of these two countries are the most disaffected and turbulent in Europe.' I repeat, that nothing can be more unfair than this reasoning. The real develop ment of education dates in both countries from 1833, so that but few of the age of thirty in either country can have reaped any advantage from it, and of those below thirty, many can not have been able to attend any good school for more than two or three years, and many others not at all, whilst of those young men, who have enjoyed the advantages of attending a school directed by an able and efficient master, many must have received as much harm from the evil influence of demoralizing homes, as they have reaped benefit from the ennobling effect of the lessons and examples given them by a Christian and noble-minded schoolmaster. It is only when the corrupting influences of the old, ignorant, and demoralized generations have passed away, when the parents themselves have begun to estimate the advantages to be reaped from education, when the lessons of the teachers are backed by the lessons and examples of the parents, that the effects of education will begin to be apparent. This requires more than one generation, and much more than thirteen years; and it is this very slowness in the working of an educational system, however perfect, which renders me the more anxious that we should speedily prepare for the coming future.
Such is a short outline of the general character of the educational systems of Switzerland.
At the present time it may be truly said, that in nearly the whole of Switzerland, every boy and girl below the age of seventeen years, can read and write. The education of the girls is perhaps in a more satisfactory condition in the Catholic cantons than in the Protestant. It is confided to the special care of the nuns, and I can bear testimony to the gentle, patient, and religious spirit in which these excellent women affectionately tend the progress of the young girls. The self-denying life which the Catholic nuns lead, and the excellent education they receive in the nunneries, admirably suit them for the important duties confided to their charge in these cantons. After examining the schools conducted by some of the sisters in Fribourg, the abbess of the nunnery, to which the nuns who had the direction of the female schools belonged, allowed me, in com