1902 Encyclopedia > Education > Education Laws - Ireland

(Part 26)

Education Laws - Ireland

Ireland.— The public elementary school system depends on grants made to the lord-lieutenant, to be expended under the direction of commissioners nominated by the Crown, and named. "The Commissioners of National Education." The commissioners were incorporated by this name in 1845, with power to hold land to the yearly value of £40,000. The following statement, taken from the rules and regula-tions of the commissioners appended to their report for 1873, exhibits the leading points of the system as contrasted with that now established in England and Scotland.

"The object of the system of national education is to afford combined literary and moral and separate religious instruction to children of all persuasions, as far as possible in the same school, upon the fundamental principle that no attempt shall be made to interfere with the peculiar religious tenets of any description of Christian pupils. It is an earnestwishof Her Majesty’s Government and of the commissioners that the clergy and laity of the different religious denominations should co-operate in conducting national schools."

The commissioners grant aid either to vested schools (i.e., schools vested in themselves, or in local trustees to be maintained by them as national schools) or to non-vested (i.e., private schools), and the grant may be towards pay-ment of salary or supply of books, or, in the case of vested schools, towards providing buildings. The local government of the national schools is vested in the local patrons or managers thereof, and the local patron is the person who applies in the first instance to place the school in connection with the board, unless otherwise specified. The patron may manage the school by himself or by a deputy. If the school is controlled by a committee or vested in trustees, they are the patrons. A patron may nominate his successor, and in case of death, his legal representative if he was a layman, and his successor in office if he was a clerical patron, will be recognized by the com-missioners. The local patrons have the power of appointing and removing teachers, subject to a rule requiring three months’ notice to the teacher. Every national school must be visited three times a year by inspectors.

In non-vested schools, the commissioners do not in general make any conditions as to the use of the building after school hours; but no national school house shall be employed at any time, even temporarily, as the stated place of divine worship of any religious community, and no grant will be made to a school held in a place of worship. In all national schools there must be secular instruction four hours a day upon five days in the week. Religious instruc-tion must be so arranged that each school shall be open to the children of all communions, that due regard be had to parental right and authority, and that accordingly no child shall receive or be present at any religious instruction of which his parents or guardians disapprove. In non-vested schools it is for the patrons and local managers to determine whether any and what religious instruction shall be given. In all national schools, the patrons have the right to permit the Scriptures to be read; and in all vested schools they must afford opportunities for the same, if the parents or guardians require it. (O. B.)

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The above article was written by Oscar Browning, M.A.; Fellow and Tutor of King's College, Cambridge; University Lecturer in History; Examiner for University of London, 1899; author of Modern England, History of England, Life of George Eliot, and many historical monographs.

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