Education in Great Britain and Ireland (Classic Reprint)

Education in Great Britain and Ireland (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Education in Great Britain and Ireland

The future and strength of the nation unquestionably depend upon the vitality of the child, upon his health and development, and upon his education and equipment for citizenship. Great and far-reaching issues have their origin and some of their inspiration in him. Yet in a certain though narrow sense everything depends upon his physique. If that be sound, we have the rock upon which a nation and a race may be built; if that be impaired, we lack that foundation and build on the sand. It would be difficult to overestimate the volume of national inefficiency, of unfitness and suffering, of unnecessary ex penditure, and of industrial unrest and unemployability to which this country consents because of its relative failure to rear and to educate a healthy, virile, and well-equipped race of children and young people. There is no investment comparable to this, no national economy so fundamental; there is also no waste so irretrievable as that of a nation which is careless of its rising generation. And the goal is not an industrial machine, a technical workman, a hand, available merely for the increase of material output, and the acquisition of a wage at the earliest moment, but a human personality, well grown and ready in body and mind, able to work, able to play, a good citizen, the healthy parent of a future generation. If these things be true, as I believe they are, no re construction of the State can wisely ignore the claims of the child.

The national belief in the value of school medical inspection and treatment is best indicated by the efforts to maintain them in spite of the inroads made by the war emergency on the supply of doctors and nurses. The result of an experience of less than 10 years since the system was established as part of the school system is summarized in the following statements: To-day hundreds of thousands of children are healthier, better, and brighter for its labors. In large towns and small country villages there has arisen something of a new understanding of the child. He is coming steadily into his kingdom, into his individual birthright of health and well-being. Even in time of war, when the preoccupation and exigencies of the military situation have made exceptional demands upon the staff of persons, officials or voluntary, who have devoted themselves hitherto to the welfare of the child, the claims of the school medical service have been sufficiently valid and obvious to secure the maintenance of an irreducible minimum of its working.

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