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CHAPTER III.

PRESENT STATUS OF INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION IN

BELGIUM.

S. Ex. 65_--11

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CHAPTER III.

PRESENT STATUS OF INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION IN BELGIUM.

THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

Public education in Belgium, dating back to 1812, was organized as it now exists under the law of July 1, 1879, and is controlleil by the ministry of the interior and public instruction. It comprises-

I. Primary education.
II. Intermediate education.

III. Higher education.
1.-Primary education embraces-

(a) The kindergartens (écoles gardiens or jardins l'enfant*) which, by the last official report (Annuaire Statistique de la Belgique, 1890), minber 1,012 schools and 101,760 pupils.

(1) Primary schools, 5,614 in number attended by 614,671 pupils.

(c) Special classes for alults corresponding to our night schools; and, besides, all instruction provided for inmates of asylums for deaf mutes, and for inmates of prisons and reformatories.

(1) Primary normal classes, normal schools, and schools for regentsa grade above the normal.

(e) Private schools under state inspection. II.-Intermediate education includes

(a) Intermediate schools of three divisions, state, commwal or district schools, and private and sectarian schools which are inspected and sometimes subsidized by the government.

(6) High schools (athénées royaur) and communal and sectarian colleges, also inspected and partly supported by the state.

III.-Higher education is represented by the two state universities at Ghent and Liege, and the two free universities at Brussels and Louvain-free in the sense of not being state institutions.

Under this heading also may be comprehended special examinations for degrees before the university faculties and central board.

KINDERGARTENS.

The direct relation of the kindergarten to manual training and to trade schools is being earnestly studied and experimented with in Belgium.

Everywhere the kindergarten forms a large, important, and well organized part of the public school system, and in several cities a woman inspector devotes her whole time to the improvement of these infant schools and to the proper training of teachers to preside over them.

Children enter the kindergartens at 3 years of age and remain till they are 6 or 7. At Brussels, Liege, and Verviers, experimental trausition classes exist, which prolong kindergarten methods into the primary grades, the manual training exercises of Froebel reappearing in the primary schools and there developing into some simple form of actual land labor with paper, pasteboard, or clay. The results have been very satisfactory.

In the city of Liege there were, according to the report of 1891 (Rapport sur l'Administration et la situation des Affaires de la Ville), 4,717 children in attendance at the kindergarten. All of these children, of course, learn the alphabet of manual training.

A normal course for kindergarten teachers (Cours normal de la méth. ode Froebel) is also maintainel in Liege. During the school year 1890– '91, 18 pupil teachers attended this course, and 5 took the final examination and received diplomas in that year.

This Department has receited from one of the Liege kindergartens (Jardin d'Enfants des Près Saint Denis) an album filled with specimens of paper work executed by pupils of that school. These specimens consist of artistic designs wrought in colored paper, and the interwoven figures make patterns that are most pleasing to the eye. Such work aftords an excellent discipline in form study and in the combination of colors.

MANUAL TRAINING FOR GIRLS IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS.

Sewing, drawing, and gymnastics have long been taught to some extent in various Belgian• schools. In 1887, however, the director of primary education, Monsieur A. J. Germain, was charged to report to the ministry on the advisability of incorporating throughout all the primary and normal schools of the kingdom, classes in domestic work and housekeeping. One result of this valuable report (De l'Enseignement des Travaux du Vénage) was the improvement and extension to all the schools of those sewing classes previously existing only in a few; and a no less important consequence was the adaptation to the public school system of courses in cooking and dressmaking which had already proved successful and useful in institutions founded and supported by private effort. Trade instruction for girls, started by private initiative, having iaken firm root and flourished in Brussels and other Belgian cities, the idea was adopted by the more progressive communes and was applied in their primary or intermediate schools in the form of trade classes (cours professionnels). Tried as an experiment at a few points only, it was found too expensive to attempt to give such special. ized industrial training to the whole school population; but the number of centres where trade instruction is provided in connection with the free schools is constantly increasing.

The oldest and best of these trade classes engrafted on the communal public school was established in 1886 at Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode, Brussels, by Monsieur II. Frick, the alderman of public instruction. In the girl's primary school, rue de la Limite, lessons in plain sewing, dressmaking, cutting and fitting, and pattern draughting are given. The course covers three years, and arouses much interest. It is entirely gratuitous. The school day is divided into two equal parts. During the morning, pupils follow the complete primary studies; during the afternoon, they learn special trades, electing either commerce and bookkeeping, or dressmaking, including cutting and fitting, or underwear making. Industrial drawing is an important feature of each course. At the close of the third year the pupils pass an examination before teachers and technical judges (gens de métier), and then readily find employment in work rooms or commercial houses.

In connection with the higher divisions of the primary schools in Verviers, classes in domestic economy and housekeeping have been opened, which complete the prescribed course in one year. They comprise cooking, washing and ironing, household economy, how to make a fire and manage it economically, ventilation, the uses of various kinds of fuel, precantions to be taken in the use of combustibles, means employed for illumination, precautions requisite in certain modes of lighting, household and personal hygiene, classification of foods, their nutritive value and medicinal properties; potatoes of different species, relative price of the various kinds, nutritive principles of, industrial use of, etc.; bread, varieties of, nutritive value of; meat (beef, pork, veal, mutton, etc.), uses of different parts in culinary preparations; meals, ordinary, for a workman's family of six persons; for a spread for a workman's family of twelve persons; bills of fare for a middle class family of six persons; the purchasing of provisions, counsel as to buying to advantage for winter use; drinks-water, milk, beer, coffee, tea, chocolate; pernicious effects of alcoholic liquors; condiments, preserves; table service; household medicine; furniture; accounts; plant culture, etc.

MANUAL TRAINING FOR GIRLS IN THE INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS.

So great was the success of the free classes in the primary schools at Brussels that, on the demand of patrons, this identical type of instruction, vut more advanced, has been adapted to the intermediate school of the same commune, rue Musin, under the capable direction of Mademoiselle Destrée. Here a small fee is charged for the special courses, remitted, however, as a reward to the brighter pupils from the trade classes of the primary school who wish to profit further by industrial training. The mornings are devoted to the usual intermediate branches, and in the afternoons the industrial pupils pursue whatever trade

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