Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/549

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CIVILIZATION AND SCIENCE.

examiner for the state and for the Faculty, I have learned more or less accurately the educational standing of some 3,000 young men who had left the first class of the gymnasium from two to four years previously.

But there is a special reason why I should express my views about the organization of gymnasia. In 1869 the rectors and senates of the Prussian universities were invited by the Government to report on the question "whether and to what extent the pupils of the Realschulen[1] could be admitted, as well as those of the gymnasia, to the faculty courses of the universities." As being at that time Rector of the Berlin University, it fell to my lot to draw up the report of its senate. Not merely as reporter of the senate, but also with the warmth of personal conviction, I pronounced against the admission of the realschulen pupils, and took all pains to inculcate the importance of classical studies, for which nothing else could be substituted. In harmony with the senate, however, I even then insisted that, in taking sides with the gymnasia against the realschulen, one is not bound to look on the former as perfect—i. e., as not susceptible of, or not requiring, reformation in one point or another.

If I had now again to make a report in the same sense, I should find myself embarrassed. My opinion as to the advantages imparted by classical training is unchanged. My objections to making the pupils of the realschulen the peers of those of the gymnasia are as strong as ever. But the conviction has ever been growing in me that our present gymnasium education is no sufficient preparation for the study of medicine, nay, that as viewed from a general standing-point, it does not quite perform the task which it has proposed to itself. Hence I could no longer justify the exclusion of the realschulen pupils, at least from the medical classes, unless certain reforms were granted in the gymnasial plan of studies. Inasmuch as formerly, when placed in prominent position, I maintained a different opinion, I consider myself under a sort of obligation publicly to state my change of views, and to give the reasons therefor. Should that report come up for discussion in the course of the debates upon the education act, which we suppose will soon be laid before the Parliament, I, for my part, do not wish to be held answerable for it any longer. For the rest, of course I abstain here from an exhaustive discussion of this subject, and purpose simply to indicate in brief the direction in which I should like to see our gymnasial plan of studies modified.

I regret that, in the first place, I have to state an impression which has been steadily growing on me, that the humanistic education of the average medical student is, with us, sadly defective. Such is their unfamiliarity with Latin etymology, such the poverty of their Latin and Greek vocabularies—for instance, many of our medical students, a few years after passing the maturity examination, are unable to trace to their source Greek technical terms—that we can only conclude that

  1. Industrial schools.