Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 10. August, 7, 1946
Our reporter was fortunate in contacting personally the Leader of the Opposition. In his interview Mr. Holland indicated his preference for submitting a statement of policy in writing, rather than answering the questions individually. In accordance with his express wish, "Salient" is publishing the full text of his letter below.
"It is presumed that members of the college are concerned mainly with education policy as it affects the university and its constituent colleges, but I wish to say generally that the main consideration of our policy is the welfare of the child. We believe that the best brains and characters must be attracted to the teaching profession and pay and conditions of service must be adjusted so as to attract these people; it will be necessary also to overhaul the methods of selecting trainees. A fifth training college will have to be established, and in view of the importance of rural education and ideals, this should, if possible, be attached to one of the agricultural colleges. One of the first things to be done must be to implement the scheme for smaller classes, but until this is done and an adequate supply of teachers is available it will not be possible to raise the school leaving age further: our objective is, however, to raise the age to sixteen as soon as conditions warrant.
"Members of the College will no doubt appreciate the fact that after the last war the University population showed a very considerable and permanent increase, and the same will happen this time, and provision will have to be made accordingly in regard to buildings, equipment and staff. In our view the true functions of a University are firstly the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, and secondly, research. The teaching of the Undergraduate student naturally arises out of these two.
"To enable this idea to be given effect would require a much more [unclear: liberal] staffing both as to number and salary than at present exists, so that professors and senior lecturers could obtain relief from the very heavy burden of lectures they are at present carrying. A University College should also carry cut regional functions and the course of the growth of University education in this country is admirably suited to carry this out. but in the past both professors and lecturers have been too tied down by their teaching and examining duties and the staffs provided have been inadequate to carry out this idea.
"It is recognised that a University must have the utmost freedom to develop and must not be regarded as the top story of a State-controlled educational edifice. The Government can encourage and provide the means but the real development and inspiration must come from the University itself and from the Senate and the governing bodies of the constituent Colleges.
I have not commented on the question of equal pay for male and female teachers—the whole question of salaries is at present before a consultative committee which will be able to elicit all the facts and until that is done any expression of opinion would not be proper.
"I can assure you that my party, comprising as it does so many university men. fully appreciates the tremendous importance of education in all its aspects and realises that all its ideas cannot be carried out unless the present education vote is increased. We are determined, however, to put our proposals into operation for as has been most truly said, 'upon Education the future of the Nation depends.'
"This very brief [unclear: statement] is not intended as an official policy statement but is rather a general statement indicating the direction in which the "National Party is looking in connection With education matters, which we regard as of the greatest importance to the future welfare. of the country.
"Our policy concerning education is at the moment receiving the intensive study of a specially chosen committee of the Parliamentary Caucus and full details of our progressive proposals will be released when the coming election campaign is launched.
S. G. Holland."