Paris, and indeed of the country. The normal school, as its name implies, is for the training of teachers, perhaps it would be better to say for professors in the lyceums, the colleges and the universities not only of Paris, but of France.
Normal schools are of two classes, elementary and higher. The elementary were first established, though not without considerable opposition. At present no one can teach without a certificate from one of them. Instruction is free for those who are accepted as candidates for teachers; oftentimes board and lodging are furnished. From the elementary normal schools, which are the most numerous and of which at least one is found in every department of France, come the men and the women who train the children who are in the primary schools of the nation. The state meets the expense of running these elementary training schools, but the departments are required to provide buildings and the necessary equipments for them.
The higher normal school was organized in 1795. By a decree of November 10, 1903, which went into effect a year later, it was made a part of the University of Paris. The instruction furnished by the university is open to members of the Paris school, to whom many other special advantages are granted. Candidates for entrance into this school are limited in number and are received only after a severe examination. None are received who are under eighteen or over twenty-four years of age. The course extends through three years, and is scientific or literary, as the student at his entrance desires. In consideration of the provision made for his support while in the school, he promises to teach at least ten years after graduation, or to refund the cost of his training. This training is practical as well as theoretical. Each pupil is called upon during his course to exercise his skill as a teacher in giving lessons to his fellow students, and is required to spend some weeks in one of the secondary schools of Paris. Probably there are no schools in the world where more care is taken in the training of teachers than in France and no one of the higher normal schools has done, or is doing, better work than that in Paris. In it some of the ablest men of France have been trained.