1902 Encyclopedia > Paris > Public Instruction (Education)

(Part 12)

Public Instruction (Education)

The so-called salles d’asile are infant schools for children from three to six years of age, i.e., from the time when their mothers place them in the criches or day nurseries (see below) and the time when they may be admitted to the primary schools. The municipality maintains 126 secular salles d’asile receiving 15,939 children, and one sale congreganiste (i.e. under the management of a religious society) with 279 children. The private establishments comprise 23 secular "sales" with 1243 children, and 39 congregationist "salles" with 4231.

In 1882 the municipality supported 173 primary secular schools (56,369 pupils) for boys, 161 secular schools (46,579 pupils) and 2 congreganist schools (765 pupils) for girls. The private primary schools are 183 secular schools and 70 congregantist for boys, 577 secular schools and 136 congreganist for girls,-number of pupils unknown. At certain hours the primary schools are transformed into classes for adults-116, with 14,288 pupils. The "higher schools" (ecoles superieures) supply education for industrial or commercial careers. They have 677 pupils between six and thirteen years of a age and 2956 above thirteen, who are distributed among the College Chaptal and the Turgot, Lavoisier, Colbert J.B. Say, and Arago schools. The apprentice school (ecole d’apprentis) with 228 pupils, the normal schools (for males, 205 pupils; for females, 68 pupils), and the Pape-Carpentier school, which trains matrons for the salles d’asile, complete the list of the muncipal establishments for primary education. Besides there are private normal schools for Protestant teachers (male and female), a private normal school for girls, normal classes for ladies under the auspices of the Society for Elementary Instruction, and professional schools for both girls and boys. Commercial instruction is given in two schools placed under the patronage of the chamber of commerce, and a special commercial high school established about 1880. in 1881 a fund was established for placing indigent but deserving pupils in free primary boarding-schools, at the expense of the city. Between Oct. 1991 and Oct. 1882 494 pupils were thus dealt with at a cost of 93367 pounds. municipal libraries, subsidized by the city, have been established in all the arrondissements; in 1882 they lent 401,415 works, the number of books contained in the libraries being 89,355.

Secondary education is provided by the municipal College Rollin; in the national lycees (Louis le Grand, Henry IV., St Louis, and Vanves), which have both boarders and day pupils; the Charlemagne and Condorcet lycees, for day pupils only; and the College Stanislas, more especially for boarders. It is between these establishments, subjected to the same university programme, and the Versailes lycee that the great competition of the Sorbonne takes place at the close of each school year. The number of their pupils in 1882 (Stanislas excepted) was 8048. Among the private establishments giving secondary education mention must be made of the College Ste Barbe, the Monge, Bossuet, Fenelon, and Massillon schools, the old Jesuit colleges at Vaugirard, Rue de Madrid, and Rue Lhomond, the two lesser seminaries of Notre Dame des Champs and St Nicolas, and numerous institutions preparatory for the examinations and special schools. In 1881 there were 11,608 pupils in the secular and 15,811 in the ecclesiastical establishments, of which 1584 in addition attended a lycee course. For some years there have been at the Sorbonne special classes for young ladies, but the secondary education of girls is only beginning to be organized. Higher education is given in the faculties of science, literature, and Catholic theology, which are together in the Sorbonne, and in the faculties of law and in the faculties of law and of medicine, each of which is by itself. There is also a faculty of Protestant theology transferred to Paris from Strasburg. These faculties confer he degrees of bachelor, licentiate, and doctor. The Catholic Institute, a private foundation, has faculties of law, literature, and science, but has no right of conferring degrees. The Sorbonne, the seat of the Academy of Paris and of its rector, who is the head of the whole educational system, contains a library of 100,000 volumes belonging to the university, and a well-appointed museum of physical science, and laboratories. The school of law has a library of 30,000 volumes and the school of medicine 60,000 volumes, forming the most complete medical collection in the world. Connected with the school of medicine are the Orfila museum of comparative anatomy, the Dupuytren pathological museum, the practical school of anatomy, and a botanic garden, and the midwifery schools of the Maternity and De la Pitie hospitals; the higher school of pharmacy and the dissecting amphitheatre for hospital students are also affiliated institutions.

Whilst the "faculties" are specially intended to prepare for and confer university degrees (though their lectures are open to the public), the College de France is meant to give instruction of the highest order to the general public (men or women); and the various sciences are there represented by thirty-seven chairs. The Ecole des Haute Etudes supplements the theoretical instructions provided by the public lecturers of the higher education by practical training. The upper normal school is for the training of "professors" for secondary classical education and for the faculties. The Ecole des Hautes Etudes Ecclesiastiques prepares ecclesiastical "professors" for the institutions and lesser seminaries which supply secondary education, and are placed in the hands of the clergy. The free school of the political sciences prepares more especially candidates for administrative employments (council of state, &c.). The Ecole des Chartes trains record-keepers in the reading and study of ancient documents. The school of living Oriental languages teaches the principal languages from Russian and Modern Greek to Malay, Chinese, and Japanese. The Polytechnic school (Ecole Polytechnique) trains military and naval engineers for the artillery corps, the corps of engineers, and the navy-yards, and civil engineers for the national corps of the roads and bridges, the mines, and the state manufactories (tobacco, powder, and saltpette). As for infantry and cavalry officers, they usually come from the special military school of St. Cyr, when they do not rise from the ranks. In Paris too are situated-the Ecole Superieure de Guerre; the practical schools of roads and bridges and mines, for the training of civil engineers, with libraries and collections of models and classes in some cases open to the public; the Ecole d’Application des Tabacs; the school of military medicine and pharmacy. The central school of the arts and manufactures, though some years ago it became a Government institution, still educates engineers for ordinary industrial careers. The school of the fine arts (Ecole des Beaux Arts), intended for painters, sculptors, and architect, contains valuable collections, which render the palace in which hey are exhibited one of the most interesting museums in Paris. The instruction in this institution is at once theoretical and practical. It is open to all Frenchmen from fifteen to thirty years of age, and evening some cases to foreigners. Of the various competitions open to the pupils the most important is for the prix de Rome. The successful competitor is rewarded with four years’ residence in Italy at Government expense, two years being spent at the Medici palace in Rome. Schools of design for boys and girls serve as preparatory for the school of the fine arts, or train designers for industrial occupations. There is a free school of architecture. Music and elocution are taught at the Conservatoire, which possesses a musical library and a very curious collection of musical instruments. The diocesan seminary of St Sulpice receives clerical pupils from all France to the number of 200; the foreign mission seminary trains missionaries for the far East, and the seminary of St Espirit missionaries for the French colonies. The Lazarists have also a novicial of their own. The Irish, English, and Scotch colleges, as their names suggest, prepare priests for the Roman Catholic dioceses of the United Kingdom.

A district at one time almost exclusively occupied by students and known as the Quartier Latin or Pays Latin was situated on he left side of the river mainly in the arrondiseement of Luxembourg; the old houses have, however, been almost entirely demolished since about 1850. It corresponded on the whole to the pre-Revolutionary quarter of St. Benoit or the University, otherwise called the Faubourg St Jacques. The most distinctive portion lay between Rue St Jacques St Michel. Rue de la harpe opens into Bourlvard St Michel; and Rue du Fouarre, frequently mentioned in mediaeval and Renaissance writers strikes N.E. from Rue St Jacques. The students now live for the most part in the vicinity of Sorbonne and the schools of medicine and law. They frequent the cafes and beershops of Boulevard St Michel and its neighborhood.

The principal libraries in Paris have already been described under Libraries (vol. xiv. pp. 524-6), and an account of the observatory will be found in vol. xvii. P. 712.

The Bureau des Longitutdes, which was founded in 1795 for the advancement of astronomy and navigation, and publishes the Connaissance des Temps, is located at the Institute. The meteorological office and observatory is situated in the Montosuris Park, and in connection with it is a school of nautical astronomy and practical geodesy. The observatory for physical astronomy is at Meudon.

The Conservatoire des Arts et des Metiers, in the old priory of St martin des Champs, was founded (1794) as a public repository of machines, models, tools, plans, descriptions, and books in regard to all kinds of arts and trades. Various courses of lectures on the applications of science to commerce and industry have been added from time to time; they are all open to the public without fee, and are addressed rather to workmen and artisans than to the wealthy or learned. The Agronomic Institute has recently been removed to the Conservatoire.

The Jardin des Plantes (1626)m about 75 acres in extent, forms one of the most interesting promenades in Paris; its museum of natural history (1793), with its zoological gardens, its hothouses and greenhouses, its nursery and naturalization gardens, its museums of zoology, anatomy, anthropology, botany, mineralogy, and geology, its laboratories, and its courses of lectures by the most distinguished professors in all branches of natural science, make it an institution of universally acknowledged eminence.

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