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PRESENT STATUS OF INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION IN SCANDINAVIAN
Trade schools have not, as yet, attained great importance in Scandinavian countries. Outside the trade departments of some of the technical schools but few exist, and these are still in their infancy. Among artisans there is a strong opposition to the ordinary trade school; but the general opinion among educators and others favors them, and almost every employer finds youths who have graduated from trade schools superior both as artisans and as men. The most important trade schools are those for weaving in Sweden; schools for wood carvers and one for mechanics in Norway; and schools for shoemakers and watchmakers in Denmark. A number of new schools are spoken of, and some are soon to be opened.
Of much greater importance, as yet, than the trade schools in the industrial life of the Scandinavian countries are the technical schools, of which (not including technological institutes) Norway has 14, Sweden 31, and Denmark 82. All of these schools receive support from the governments of their respective countries. They are for the greater part evening schools, and have as their chief object the technical education of artisans, though a few of them offer facilities for general academic studies. A few have trade departments, but most of them are content to give theoretical instruction in the trades, leaving it to the pupils to obtain manual skill in the shops. The greatest attention is paid to drawing of all kinds, especially trade and mechanical drawing. The great majority of the pupils of these technical schools are working already at some trade. Employers are obliged sometimes to send the youths who work for them to these schools; others are glad to pay their fees, and encourage all to attend.
It was observed that nearly every foreman of a shop was a graduate of some technical school. Some idea of the importance given these schools in Scandinavian countries may be gathered from the fact that in Denmark alone, with its 2,500,000 inhabitants, about 10,000 pupils attend technical schools every year.
Next in importance to the technical schools are, in Norway and Denmark, the so-called schools of home industry, their task being the revival of home industry among the country population by teaching the men to do such carpenter and blacksmith work as may be useful to the farmer, and the women, weaving, spinning, etc., and also different kinds of ornamental work for those who desire it. These schools are regarded as productive of great economic results, in many cases enabling country laborers to double their income during the winter months. In Denmark no less than 500 schools of home industry exist, generally in connection with other schools, and are supported by 400 societies for the promotion of home industry, and in part by the government.
In Sweden few schools of this kind exist, as home industry has always flourished in that country, and skill in all kinds of manual work has been transmitted from generation to generation,
The manual training schools (sloid schools) play a great part in Scandinavian education. In Norway manual training, or sloid, is yet in its beginning, having been introduced principally in higher private schools, but after January 1, 1892, will become obligatory in all public schools throughout the country.
In Sweden the manual training departments are nearly all in pub. lic schools of a lower grade. The higher schools teach manual training to a very limited extent. There are also a number of schools in Sweden where manual training only is taught.
In Denmark instruction in home industrial work scems to have taken the place of sloid in most of the public schools; the latter is found only in schools of a higher grade (about 60 in all).
As to the real aim and purpose of instruction in sloid there is even at this date considerable difference of opinion among educators in Scandinavian countries. Although its very practical results are obvious, and manufacturers and otlier employers are enthusiastic over these schools because they furnish youths who possess more manual skill combined with corsiderable technical insight than those who have not enjoyed the same advantage, still this is by others regarded simply as an incidental advantage, and not that which gives sloid its real worth.
The prevalent belief that the so-called Nääs system is the one according to which all manual training is conducted in Scandinavian countries is erroneous. Each country has its own system, and nearly every large school some peculiar feature of its own. Thus in Upsal shoemaking is a part of the instruction, in Gothenburg tinsmiths' work, etc.
The higher schools in Norway, where manual training is obligatory and occupies a part of the time which would otherwise be given to the usual studies, have the book work to be accomplished in a year's course fixed by law. Inquiry has shown that in order to introduce manual training the time for the ordinary studies had to be shortened by two or more hours a week in several schools, yet no difficulty had been experienced in doing as much book work as formerly and in doing it as well. This was the case in some schools where inquiry was made. The directors of these schools all agreed that in some cases manual training had the effect of making a student more proficient in book
work. It is further believed that manual training has a wholesome · influence on mental work in general, in this that it stimulates the fac
ulties besides effecting a more harmonious development. Most schools aim to have their manual training departments extended. Only in one case was manual training spoken of with indifference and looked upon as beneficial only as taking the place of gymnastics. In no case was it regarded as detrimental in any way to proficiency in study.
Sewing, knitting, mending, and various kinds of needlework have been taught in every girls' school in the Scandinavian countries for a great number of years. Embroidery and finer needlework, however, are taught only in private schools. In Sweden an attempt is also being made to introduce cooking courses into the public schools, but so far with poor success as the attendance is not obligatory.
In the folk schools the pupils receive instruction for four, eight, and even twelve hours a week for seven years in sewing and industrial work. In the higher private schools the same instruction extends over a period of from ten to fourteen years, and is in most cases obligatory.
The aim in the public schools is to enable the pupil to make and mend her own clothing, and to teach her various kinds of housework. There seems to be but one opinion as to the results of this kind of instruction, viz., all agree that they are excellent, and that especially among the poorer classes the ability in different sorts of handiwork and the economical and orderly habits the girls bring with them from school are of great moral and economic importance. Usually the girls on leaving school are competent enough to do sewing of all kinds, plain dressmaking and other similar work, with some skill. The training they receive is thorough and systematic, and many attain a degree of proficiency that enables them to earn a living by this kind of work, with out seeking special instruction out of school. Constant improvement in methods is made, and only specially trained and experienced teachers are employed.
For the benefit of those who wish further training in the kinds of work above referred to the Scandinavian countries have so-called in. dustrial schools for women, generally private enterprises, though some of them receive state aid. In addition to teaching sewing, dressmaking, etc., these schools have made great efforts to revive the interest in art weaving and lace making. Their success has far surpassed expectation, and it is predicted that owing to their influence home industry will fiourish in the Scandinavian countries as never before. Some of these schools offer courses in languages, bookkeeping, etc., and do much, it is claimed, to better the economic and social position of women.
The number of graduates in trade, technical, and industrial schools in the Scandinavian countries, and the per cent. who go out as graduates and non-graduates into the occupations for which they have been fitted, are as follows:
In his address before the manual training congress at Munich in 1888 the celebrated Salomon, director of the seminary at Nääs, gave a brief outline of the development of sloid as an educational factor in Swedish schools. He said:
The work of introducing sloid instruction in the Swedish schools, in accordance with present principles, had its beginning in the year 1872; in which year, also, was founded the sloid school at Nääs. In those first years the movement was restricted to the establishment of independent schools and to the introduction of sloid, as a special branch of instruction, into a number of common schools.