Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/65

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THE NATIONAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION.

of the sacrifices we must make if our people are to compete on equal terms with other nations in the commerce of the world. The progress made under such a system would at first be slow; the number of students would be few until improvements in our systems of primary and secondary instruction afforded more abundant material on which to work; but our foundation would be on a rock, and every addition we were able to make would be permanent, and contribute to the final completion of the edifice.

It is the special function of the British Association to inculcate 'n scientific view of things' in every department of life. There is nothing in which scientific conception is at the present moment more urgently required than in national education; and there is this peculiar difficulty in the problem, that any attempt to construct a national system inevitably arouses burning controversies, economical, religious and political. It is only a society like this, with an established philosophical character, that can afford to reduce popular cries about education (which ignore what education really is, and perpetuate the absurdity that it consists in attending classes, passing examinations and obtaining certificates) to their true proportions. If this Association could succeed in establishing in the minds of the people a scientific conception of a national education system, such as has already been evolved by most of the nations of Europe, the States of America, and our own colonies, it would have rendered a service of inestimable value to the British nation.