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1. The problem affects three classes:
(a) The problem of boys in the elementary
(b) Sixth form boys: present weaknesses in
their teaching; these partly due to emphasis on
scholarship in University Scholarship Examinations
(c) The Universities: weaknesses of Classical
Moderations and University Scholarships at
3. The fundamental problem is to get good teachers
and intelligent teaching. We need (a) to be
clearer what we can learn from the classics, (b) to
read more methodically and with more intelli-
gence, (c) to regard the classics as living things;
4. Compulsory Greek; a suggestion for solving the
THE war has indeed revealed grave shortcomings of
THE nation is discontented with itself and with its education. It is probably too discontented. Selfcriticism is a constant trait of the Anglo-Saxon, and his dark views of himself are always to be accepted with reserve. None of us would really exchange our governors, with all their vices, for those of any of the other belligerent countries, and this is a real, though unconscious testimonial to them. Nor could we in two years have created our present Ministry of Munitions, and have organised an army of four millions, if our science
and education had been as bad as some people
suppose. When the black fit passes, we shall take a more reasonable view of our deficiencies; still, no one would deny that they are there. What is the cause of them?
The classics are favourite scapegoats. And this view is the more odd, because it is one of the few which can certainly be disproved. It is very hard to assert anything definite in education, because of the great difficulty of knowing the precise effect on a boy of any particular branch of study. We teach our pupils, as doctors prescribe for many diseases, without any certainty as to the exact effects of the treatment; and education is an even less exact science than medicine. But in denying that the classics are responsible for our want of science,' we are for once on absolutely certain ground; for here we have definite facts to go upon.
Whatever faults the Germans have, nobody denies that they are a 'scientific nation';1 this quality of theirs is continually held up to our admiration, and it is implied that they have become
1 A critic has warned me that to quote Germany is to prejudice my case; but such persons as are likely to read this book will be able to judge dispassionately, even in present circumstances, of what is good and what is bad in German
'scientific' by giving physical science a predominant place in their higher education. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary their secondary education is far more classical than ours, and they have far more compulsory Greek and Latin. Let me briefly review the development of their secondary schools since 1870. Before that date it was impossible to enter a German University, except through the classical gymnasium, which exacts a high standard in Greek and Latin; but in 1870 it became possible for students from the purely modern Realschulen to proceed to the University if they wished to study Mathematics, Natural Science or Modern Languages. Students of all other subjects were still under the yoke of compulsory Greek or Latin. This yoke was removed in 1901 from all, except students of medicine, who must know Latin, and theologians, who must know Latin and Greek.
Now there are three points to be noted here:
(1) The makers of the greatness of modern Germany are the generations educated before
education. Here I have only to deal with its power to produce certain intellectual qualities, and not with those features of it which stifle independence of political opinion and stimulate a maniacal nationalism.