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ship and more liberal views on the part of artisans themselves with regard to the every man to his trade’ idea would, as already incidentally hinted, tend to increase the sum of technical knowledge among our working mechanics.
The one thing most needful, however, is some well-considered imperial measure of technical education. I say this being quite aware that we already have what it pleases the official mind to call a Science and Art Department. Three hundred and fifty thousand a year of public money is voted to this department. Its cost of administration is abnormally high even for a Government department, while the effective results of its executive operations are abnormally low-even for a Government department. posed raison d'être, or at any rate its supposed chief function, is to afford technical education, in the shape of science and art teaching, to the working classes at large. The intention with which the department was originally instituted was therefore a commendable one, but in relation to the fulfilment of that original intention the department is a delusion and a snare, more particularly in the metropolis. It does plenty of work of a kind, makes a fairly good show on paper, and official persons or some of them would no doubt claim that it has been, and is, a successful institution. But unofficial persons who take an interest in the matter, and are in positions for forming a judgment upon it, are unanimously of opinion that the Science and Art Department, as at present constituted, is a failure. It not merely does not do the work it was intended to do, but the known fact of its existence, coupled with the complacent assumption in official circles that a Government department against which there happens to be no general outcry must of necessity be fulfilling its functions, the lack of evidential results notwithstanding, blocks the way to reform.
The most and best that can be said for the Science and Art Department as it stands, is that it might serve as a basis for some such organic measure of reconstruction as would make its potential means effectively operative to the attainment of the desired end of promoting technical education of a practically applicable character among the working classes.
Within the compass of this article there is not space, nor is there any great need, to discuss the shortcomings of the department in detail. It is sufficient here to point out that as now organised it has resolved itself into a machine for apportioning and distributing grants earned on passes by cramming teachers, and awarding certificates to cram passed students. These certificates have a certain commercial use and value. They are a necessity to those qualifying for, in their turn, becoming cram teachers under the department; they have a distinct monetary value to elementary teachers taking service under school boards, which pay a few pounds a year more to teachers holding some certain number of science certificates ; they are valuable for advertising purposes to the private coach for competitive examinations, and may occasionally be useful to persons associated with mechanical industries in some other than a handicraft capacity. But in the workshop they are in themselves of neither use nor value.
If a working man joins a science class, it is with a wish to obtaining knowledge, not a cardboard certificate. Were the certificate of the department a proof that its possessor had acquired a practical knowledge of a science related to his trade, it would be prized not only for the honour of the thing but on material grounds also. As a matter of fact it is not a proof of this. What in nine cases out of ten it does prove is that the holder was a fairly good study' for examination business, and that his teacher was a clever crammer and successful at forecasting the run of the examination questions for the year. At cram examination work, in which no room is left for their practical knowledge to be brought to bear, artisans are not good. Compared with other classes of students in Government science and art classes they come out badly in the matter of passes, and though numbers of them join the classes because nothing better of the kind is open to them, they know as a body that these classes as a means of technical education in connection with the handicraft industries are a dismal failure.
And yet such classes, properly organised, might be of incalculable service to the country. The engineering is, I take it, a trade that would be as largely benefited as any by a sound and generally available system of technical education, and that trade has gained more in the way of such education from the institution of the Whitworth scholarships than from all the efforts of the Government Science and Art Department. The scholarships have been founded with a princely munificence, but their successful results are less due to this fact than to the judgment and sense displayed by their founder, Sir Joseph Whitworth, the wellknown engineer, as an organiser. The competitive examination for these scholarships is not in the bookish theoric' alone, is not mere paper-work answers to a string of examination questions. Here theory and practice are compulsorily combined.
Each candidate has to give proof of his skill in handling the tools and using the materials of his craft, and that in no amateurish fashion. That is the prime condition, and the manipulative skill and the bookish knowledge are so arranged as to act and react upon each other in such a fashion that the competitor whose technical knowledge on the whole is the most practical and the most readily susceptible of being practically applied stands the best chance of success.
Unlike the Science and Art Department certificate, a Whitworth scholarship carries weight with the initiated. A man holding
one of these scholarships may with a considerable amount of confidence aspire to the higher positions in the trade, and on this ground men of social standing above the artisan classes, and who aim only at the higher positions, compete for the scholarships. But to qualify for competition they must go into the workshops and acquire a fair degree of manual skill, and if in course of time they do become masters or managers, they will act all the more efficiently in those capacities by reason of their workshop experience. On the other hand, the weight given to practical skill and knowledge in these competitions induces large numbers of apprentices and young journeymen to become competitors; and though of course all cannot obtain scholarships, the large majority of them benefit greatly by the study and practice they undergo in the attempt to win. As workmen they are more capable and intelligent than they would otherwise have been, and their increased worth in these respects is so much gain to the trade generally as well as to themselves individually
Here we have technical education properly so called wisely and fitly conditioned to the actualities by which alone it can be made nationally of practical effect. From an extension of this method we might reasonably hope to see our artisans improve in value as artisans. It would give an impetus to mechanical invention, and would beyond question increase the extent and prolong the period of our manufacturing supremacy. Here is a pattern for the Government Science and Art Department to remodel itself upon. Seeing that as a Government department it is supported by Imperial funds, it is but just that the educational facilities afforded by it should be so varied as to give others beside the working classes opportunities for benefiting by them. At the same time, the last-named classes should be the chief and special consideration with the department.
The technical instruction of those classes as a work of national importance in relation to our position as a manufacturing country was avowedly the justification for calling the department into existence. That it has not in any adequate fashion fulfilled its beings, end, and aim, that as at present directed it cannot hope to fulfil it, is matter of common notoriety among those who have the best means for forming an opinion upon the point. If it would justify its continued existence, it must show a much greater regard than it has hitherto done to the first principles of its constitution. It must establish science and art classes to which only artisans and apprentices shall be eligible for admission. Not in any spirit of exclusiveness, but with the object of making the instruction practical and specific, of making it bear as directly as may be upon the trades in which the students are engaged, and so arranging it that it may illustrate or receive illustration from the actual or possible operations of the workshopthis is the direction in which the Government department should
be made to move if it is to accomplish really satisfactory work, and the sooner it begins to move the better it will be for all concerned.
Already a great deal of valuable time has been lost. Ever since the International Exhibition of 1851 the cry for technical education for our artisans has been heard in the land, but as yet it has been a case of much cry and little-very little—wool. If peace 'hath her victories, no less renowned than war, she has also her struggles for victory, little less severe than those of war and often more persistent. Never before bave these struggles been so keen, determined, and in their kind so bitter as they are now. In the modern industrial war of nations it may be said there is no discharge.' No country can afford to rest on its laurels. There is no standing still; not to go forward is to go backward.
In so far as we are without a national system of technical education, in so far as we leave our armies of industry uninstructed and untrained in the higher arts of their war, we are not going forward in the fight. So far, England is wanting in her duty to 'herself. Her slackness here no doubt arises from failure to realise the immense importance of the subject; but the consequences resulting from continued neglect will be none the less dire on that account. Our present attitude in respect to technical education is preparing the way for disaster, if not defeat or disgrace, to our artisan legions. It is foreshadowing a day of lamentation, a time wherein there will be but too good cause to cry that England's industrial glory—and with it much of her national greatness-- has departed. With Government the promotion of technical education is clearly a duty. With employers of skilled labour it may not be strictly a duty, but it would certainly be to their interest to aid in the work, and they could, an they would, render very valuable aid.
It is not every employer who bas the means, even if he had the will, to follow the example set by Sir Joseph Whitworth. Most masters, however, employing any considerable number of operatives might at very little cost establish evening classes for technical instruction in connection with their workshops. It might be made obligatory upon apprentices to attend such classes, and no doubt numbers of journeymen would join them when they were thus handy.' Teachers and demonstrators could in most instances be found among the leading employés, and the workshops could be made the best of all demonstration theatres.
That the artisan classes as a body have shown themselves unwisely, not to say culpably, apathetic in the matter of technical education is unhappily but too true. They require a good deal of rousing on this bead, but they are rousable. If a technical education movement specially adapted to their needs and upon anything like a national scale were organised, they would move with the
movement, especially when they began to find—as they soon would do—that those who did not avail themselves of the educational facilities offered would have to take back seats' in their trades. I have repeatedly heard it argued that all that is required in respect to the scientific training of our artisans is to bring them to see their need of such training and to understand the advantage it would be to them. This done, it is said there would be comparatively little necessity for national effort, the means for individual self-education being abundantly accessible to all who had a desire to attain, and capacity to acquire, technical knowledge. This is true in a measure, but only in a measure. To the average student-and it is the average student who must be considered-systematic instruction under competent teachers is much more fruitful in results than unaided selfstudy.
Moreover—and this is the important point here--means for scientific self-instruction suitable to artisans are not so plentiful as seems to be generally supposed. Technical text-books and treatises abound, it is true, but they are compiled without any reference to the special wants in this wise of operative artisans. They are for the most part mere cram books. The more advanced ones are too purely and absolutely theoretical to suit working-class students, while the elementary ones are too elementary for them, generally being full of descriptions or definitions of the tools with which craftsmen are already perfectly familiar. The classes of students, considered in the existing scientific self-help manuals are not artisans but those who are either cramming for certificate examinations, or those desirous of amusing themselves with the guinea box of tools. So far as book assistance is concerned, the working man's pursuit of (technical) knowledge is a case of the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. What should working men read—with a view to technical cultureis a very difficult question to answer at present. The theorist and the amateur are provided for, but the artisan is not. It would probably not be the least of the benefits resulting from a national movement in favour of technical education, that it would lead to the production of artisan text-books that would justify their title.
In speaking of the absence of technical knowledge among the rank and file, I am not forgetting that our captains of skilled industry stand in the very forefront not only as organisers of labour, but also as practical scientists and mechanicians. But this in itself is no longer sufficient to afford assurances of our being able to maintain our pride of place. The tactics of destructive warfare have not altered more greatly than have the conditions of industrial competition. Prominent among the new conditions is the necessity for rapid changes and modifications in the application of manipulative skill; and to be prepared for this, while still retaining the system of subdivision of labour, it is absolutely essential that our men should have a wider VOL. XX.-No. 116.