The Times/1947/Obituary/Philip Joseph Hartog

Obituary: Sir Philip Hartog — a great educationalist  (1948) 

Source: The Times, Saturday, Jun 28, 1947; Issue 50799; pg. 6 — Sir Philip Hartog A Great Educationist

Sir Philip Hartog
A Great Educationist

Sir Philip Hartog, K.B.E., C.I.E., died at a nursing home in London yesterday at the age of 83.

Few educationists still working as did in octogenarian years could look back on so varied, strenuous, and fruitful a career as his. He left an enduring mark on educational thought and practice, not only in India but in this county and the Dominions.

Philip Joseph Hartog was born in London on March 2, 1864, the third son of Alfonse Hartog. He was educated at University College School, the Universities of Paris and Heidelberg, and the Collège de France. In 1889 he went to Owens College, Manchester, as Bishop Berkeley Scholar. He wrote a history and description of the college, and both there and at Victoria University he was an assistant lecturer in chemistry. It seemed at that time that this branch of science would claim him:

At Manchester, however, he was being drawn to university administration. He was secretary to the Victoria University Extension Scheme, a member of the Court, and in 1902-3 secretary to the Alfred Mosely Commission of Educational Inquiry. In the latter year he was appointed Academic Registrar to the University of London, and held that office with great efficiency for 17 years. In 1907 came his influential "Writing of English"—attacking the school "essay." An outstanding service to the University, the Empire, and the Easter world in general was his large share in the creation in the middle of the 1914-18 war of the School of Oriental Studies, to which the name "African" was added later. His keen and helpful interest was maintained until his last working days.

Hartog was a member of the commission under the late Sir Michael Sadler on Calcutta University which was appointed in 1917 and issued a voluminous report in 1919. Far-reaching reforms in most of the Indian universities followed, and Calcutta was shorn of a part of its vast jurisdiction by the creation in 1920 of Dacca University as a residential teaching foundation. Most fittingly, Hartog was made its first vice-chancellor and imbued the new foundation with a fine tradition —long needed by the Muslims of eastern Bengal— of scholarship and public service. Both at Dacca and later in their Kensington home he had the cooperation of the gifted and hospitable lady he married in 1915, ad who bore him three sons—Mabel Hélène, daughter of Mr. H. J. Kisch.

On the creation of the Indian Public Service Commission in 1926 Hartog was appointed a member, and served until permitted to retire on family grounds in 1930. When the Indian Statuatory Commission was set up in 1928 under Sir John (now Lord) Simon, Hartog was appointed chairman of the Auxiliary Committee on Education. The report greatly assisted the presentation of facts and conclusions by the main body, and is the most authoritative survey of the subject of our time.

On settling in London Hartog devoted much time and thought tho the place of examinations in the education system. As early as 1911, and again in 1918, he had written treatises on examinations in their bearing on national efficiency and on culture and general efficiency. He was the dominant figure in an inquiry on an international scale undertaken in 1932. This resulted in the issue in 1935 of "An Examination of Examinations." In this exposure of haphazard methods and plans for reform he had the collaboration of Dr. E. C. Rhodes and also, in a subsequent book, "The Marks of Examiners," of Dr. Rhodes and of Mr. Cyril Burt. Deeply impressed by his experience of the need for systematic education research, he obtained from the Leverhulme Trust in 1940 a great of £2,000 to the University of London Institute of Education for this purpose. The organization thereby set up was renamed in 1945 the National Foundation for Education Research in England and Wales, and in 1947 it applied for a royal charter. Hartog was also the prime mover in the setting up by the Ministry of Labour and National Service before the outbreak of war in 1939 of a Linguistic Committee of the Appointments Registry, and he was its first chairman. In 1933 Hartog wrote, under the authority of the London Institute of Education his valuable study, "Some Aspects of Indian Education, Past and Present." He continued his activities well into his ninth decade, and one of the last of his books, "Words in Action," was published in 1945.

Amid all these labours Hartog was through life a keen helper of his own community. At the end of 1933 he went to Palestine as chairman of the Committee of Inquiry on the organization of the Hebrew University, and subsequently he was president of the Friends in Britain of the university. He did much other work for the Jewish People.

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