Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/458

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and individual thirst for knowledge overlaid by a crowd of novel theories based upon yet unproved statements. Mr. Brudenell Carter, in his "Influence of Education and training in preventing Diseases of the Nervous System," speaks of a large public school in London, from which boys of ten to twelve years of age carry home tasks which would occupy them till near midnight, and of which the rules and laws of study are so arranged as to preclude the possibility of sufficient recreation. The teacher in a high-school says that the host of subjects on which parents insist upon instruction being given to their children is simply preposterous, and disastrous alike to health and to real steady progress in necessary branches of knowledge. The other day we met an examiner in the street with a roll of papers consisting of answers to questions. He deplored the fashion of the day; the number of subjects crammed within a few years of growing life; the character of the questions which were frequently asked; and the requiring a student to master, at the peril of being rejected, scientific theories, and crude speculations, which they would have to unlearn in a year or two. He sincerely pitied the unfortunate students. During the last year or two the public have been startled by the suicides which have occurred on the part of young men preparing for examination at the University of London; and the press has spoken out strongly on the subject. Notwithstanding this, the authorities appear to be disposed to increase instead of diminish the stringency of some of the examinations. The Lancet has recently protested against this course in regard to the preliminary scientific M. B. of the London University, and points out that the average of candidates who fail at this examination is already about forty per cent., and that these include many of the best students. This further raising of the standard will, it is maintained, make a serious addition to the labors of the industrious student who desires the M. D. degree. Whether this particular instance is or is not a fair example, we must say, judging from others, that it seems to be thought that the cubic capacity of the British skull undergoes an extraordinary increase every few years, and that therefore for our young students more subjects must be added to fill up the additional space.

The master of a private school informs us that he has proof of the ill effects of overwork in the fact of boys being withdrawn from the keen competition of a public-school career, which was proving injurious to their health, and sent to him, that they might in the less ambitious atmosphere of a private school pick up health and strength again. He refers to instances of boys who had been crammed and much pressed in order that they might enter a certain form or gain a desired exhibition, having reached the goal successfully, and then stagnated. He says that the too extensive curriculum now demanded ends in the impossibility of doing the work thoroughly and well. You must either force unduly or not advance as you