Imagens da página

Frederic Farrington in his invaluable book on French secondary schools.

Notwithstanding the war, our new minister has organized a small committee of experienced teachers in secondary schools and in universities for elaborating a scheme of reorganization for secondary education, which will allow certain pupils of higher classes to specialize in some directions. It may be considered as the first installment of the famous American elective system. The writer of these lines was the first in Russia, and probably the first in Europe, to make a detailed résumé of the work of the epoch-making American report of the Committee of Ten, and as a result, the elaboration of new regulations in secondary schools has at last found place in Russia.

As everybody knows, the war has been very unsuccessful for Russia since the summer. It is self-evident that the moment is not at hand for any far-reaching reforms. Let us hope that after the war, be it what it may for Russia, the organization of our secondary and higher educational institutions will be remodeled upon American ideals. For that very

the author thought it his duty to make known to Russian educators the latest American system of secondary school organization, and since the beginning of the current year has been publishing in our leading pedagogical periodical, The Russian School, a long series of articles, not yet finished, and destined to be republished in book form, on questions of secondary education and American secondary school practises.

Many reforms are promised by our new minister in the university world, but these reforms touch especially upon the inner life of the universities or, to be more precise, their administration. It would be difficult to explain to American readers how much centralization we have even in the sphere of university education. It is enough for the

* I published a résumé on the work of Committee of Ten, having the report from America immediately on its publication and having in the file of EDUCATIONAL Review the first comments on this report by most distinguished American educators.



present to say that university administration is an ordinary department of state, or rather one of many sections of a special Central Government Board destined to organize and control all kinds of schools. . Some ten years ago our universities were granted a kind of autonomy, larger than the autonomy of French and even German universities. There is not the space to detail the process by which this autonomous régime was afterward curtailed. Our late minister, Kasso, tried to undo the process and to limit the autonomical tendencies of our higher institutions, which explains in part his unpopularity. Now we are experiencing quite opposite tendencies "under the new minister.

He nominated a special committee of experienced professors to elaborate a new university law. At the risk of wearying my readers, let me state that in the first draft of these regulations are to be seen the influences of English ideas in some of the most important phases of university organization. During the past two years I published in the Journal of the Russian Board of Education (1912-1913) a long series of articles on the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and in the beginning of this year the first installment of an analogous series of articles on New English Universities has been commenced. It is a pity that neither the minister nor his councillors took into consideration an important idea, namely, the inclusion in the field of university studies of the teaching of technical subjects and of applied sciences generally. It is an American idea dating from your Civil War and acquired its present authority from the time of that war. I have many times brought this to the attention of the Russian public and repeated my efforts some few months ago. It will probably be in vain, at least for the time being, as everybody knows that the German practises and theory on the question, universities versus applied science, is quite opposite, and Russian educationalists, not excepting our university professors, are too steeped in German ideas to be able to follow American practises yet, tho the

the gov

English universities, even Oxford and Cambridge, have organized the teaching of applied sciences on American models, and the French universities are beginning to do the same.

The horrors of the war have obliged our new minister to postpone any reforms along the lines which I have indicated. A quelquechose malheur est bon says a French proverb. Everybody realizes that this war is a war of technics and of applied sciences.

of applied sciences. I hope and believe that the common sense of the general public will prevail and that after the war we shall make the most of our not too numerous universities and that technical courses will find place in them. It is to be hoped that our universities have offered their services to ernment and are ready to take their part in the solution of the many scientific and technical problems of this terrible war.

Our higher technical institutions many months ago offered their laboratories for war purposes. The Technological Institute of Petrograd took the leading place in this matter.

I began my article by saying that the influence of Germany on the Russian educational world was overwhelming before the war.

It has declined enormously since the commencement of hostilities. In our pedagogical review one often sees depreciatory articles on German educational ideals and school practises, sometimes by the very persons who were, before the war, enthusiastic popularizers of German tendencies in the educational world. The teaching of the German language then occupied a very conspicuous place in the curriculum of Russian secondary schools even overshadowing the French language. Already some schools have shortened the time for the teaching of German and tried to introduce instead the teaching of English which was practically non-existent in our secondary schools before the war. The great impediment to such a reform is the absence of teachers even with least possible qualifications. We have always had in Petrograd many English ladies and gentlemen who gave private lessons in English. There are now greater opportunities for such lessons than ever before.

2 Excepting some private schools for girls in our capitals (Petrograd, Moscow) and largest cities, and some commercial schools.

The future will bring great changes in Russia. The English-speaking world will begin to exercise as great an influence on Russia, thru schools and otherwise, as is due to those countries which have made most for the progress of civilization and of humanity, and which are the strongest enemies of militaristic tendencies. There are already promising signs. Last spring in Petrograd and Moscow several associations were organized having for their object the popularization of English and American educational ideas. One of these organizations tried to popularize English pedagogical ideas among Russian educationalists. They have not yet accomplished anything important, but the very fact of their existence during the uproar of the world war speaks loudly for a change in the orientation of Russian public spirit and Russian sympathies. It is not much, but it is something; we move slowly in Russia.






There are two problems that must be of great interest to the executive officers of colleges and universities who study progressively the possibilities of their positions. One is the high rate of mortality among lower classmen, especially freshmen, with reference to finishing the respective courses upon which they start. The second is how to combat the allegation that is so frequently made that the finished products of colleges and universities do not make the showing in life's work that their opportunities and equipment would seem to warrant.

If such allegations are true it must be known that these institutions will suffer thru the lack of a uniformly prosperous alumni who constitute a most valuable asset to them when properly appreciated and organized, not only as exemplars of what college training will do for a man but also as guarantors for the payment of those future deficits with which most institutions will have to contend and for raising the necessary endowment funds to carry on those progressive programs which from time to time every live institution is bound to do.

There are many reasons why the freshman is likely to enter upon his college career with a high degree of enthusiasm and give up his ambitions along this line before many months have past away. Many young men enter college with the idea that it is a gentleman's job, that proficiency in athletics and success socially are the main ends of a college career. Upon being advised that they must spend some time in the preparation of their work and upon failure to reach the desired athletic and social

1 College departments of universities.

« AnteriorContinuar »