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Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.

Education and Public Worship

Education and Public Worship.

A glance at some of the Public Schools for European children, in the City and neighbourhood, as well as in the outlying districts, will serve to explain how it is that the proportion of our youth receiving education is so high. In connection with the Church of England, there are the Epsom Grammar school; St. Paul's schools, for boys, girls, and infants; St. Matthew's, for boys and girls; St. Barnabas, for girls; St. John's College has just been re-opened, and there are schools at Remuera, Onehunga, and other places, while four schools will shortly be opened in the Papakura, Drury Hunua, and Wairoa districts. The Wesleyans have Wesley College, the Academy in Victoria Quadrant, and another in Freeman' Bay. The Presbyterians have schools for boys and girls in Symond's Street and Hobson Street; they have also schools at Tamaki, Otahuhu, Mahurangi (to the north), and Drury (to the south). The Roman Catholics have schools for boys and girls in Hobson Street, Freeman's Bay, and Parnell. A large proportion of these schools are in connexion with the Board of Education; and though they may be called denominational schools, there has been in this Province, from the first, a remarkable admixture of children of various denominations at most of the schools referred to. In addition page 42to these, there are purely Public Schools, immediately in connection with the Board of Education, but not with any particular Church or denomination. There are also in Auckland about thirteen private schools for boys and girls, mostly conducted by very competent teachers, and there are two on the North Shore. When the report of the Board of Education is issued, we shall be able to give a more complete résumé of the Educational Machinery of the province. But we have here cited sufficient proof that the Provinceof Auckland is already provided with schools of a very superior quality, to an extent that could have hardly been expected in so young a country.

In connexion with the Board of Education of this Province, 35 schools have been returned in operation on 30th September, 1859, with 1857 children in attendance. Assuming that children between 5 and 12 are of an educational age, wefind, on reference to the General Census of December, 1858, that for the Province of Auckland 2924 children are returned as between 6 and 12, and 3566 as under 6 years; 600 of this number we may fairly assume to be 5 years old: we shall then have 3524 children of educational age. It appears from a return furnished in September, 1858, to the Board of Education by their Secretary, that, in round numbers, 1000 children were in attendance at private schools. Allowing 200 as a fair increase upon this number, we shall then have 1200 in attendance at private schools, and 1557 at public schools; making a total of 2757 under instruction—that is, 1 in 6½ of the whole population. As an indication of the progressive tendency of the Educational interests of this Province, we may add that, in 1857, only 20 schools were in connexion with the Board of Education; while for the year 1859, 35 schools have been returned. A marked increase upon this number is anticipated for 1860.

The assistance afforded by Government is administered through the Board of Education to all schools, on certain specified conditions. The allowance so given is at the rate of £2 per annum for each child in average attendance, except in remote or thinly-populated districts, where the Board, if they think fit, may grant an additional £2 for each child. The patrons or managers of all schools aided by the Board are bound to contribute, by children's payments or otherwise, not less than an equal amount to that granted by the Board. "Before such aid shall be granted to any school, the Board must be satisfied of the Teacher's moral character and fitness to conduct a school; and they shall cause such teacher to be examined in their presence, either by their Inspector or such other person or persons as they shall appoint for that purpose."—Education Act, sec 17.

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"Every teacher, with whose qualification the Board shall be satisfied, shall receive a certificate of the first or second degree, according to the order of merit."—Education Act, Sec. 18.

"The salary granted by the Board to teachers receiving a certificate of the first degree shall not exceed £75 per annum for a master, and £50 per annum for a mistress; and the salary granted to teachers receiving a certificate of the second degree shall not exceed £50 for a master, and £35 per annum for a mistress."—Education Act, sec. 19.

The Provincial Government have guaranteed to Teachers, after a term of five years' employment in connexion with the Board of Education, a free grant of 80 acres of land, which, in the event of death, is secured to the Teacher's legal representative.

In estimating the state of education in this Province we must also remember that many children are also educated at home by tutors and governesses; such education we have reason to believe, is, in many cases, of a superior character.

From statistics furnished to us in reference to Sabbath schools, we have much pleasure in being able to inform our readers that this most important branch of instruction is well attended to. Within the past two years a considerable amount of emulation has been displayed by the different churches in the Province with regard to their Sabbath Schools. The teachers have been placed under able leaders, and thus, acting together, every district is attended to. A great number of young men and young women have devoted themselves to this duty, and the result is that the parents are aroused, the children are cleaner and better dressed on the Sabbath than they used to be, and the teachers themselves have the noble satisfaction of feeling that they have been useful in preparing the heart as well as the mind for the services of the sanctuary.

The above statements must convince our readers that a vast amount of private energy is devoted to the intellectual and religious improvement of the youth of this colony.

Another point to which every parent desirous of emigrating, must attach great importance is, the provision for Public Worship in the intended new home? In this respect also, Auckland will bear a strict scrutiny. The Church of England has two Churches in Auckland, and a third projected; one at Parnell; one at the North Shore; two at Remuera; one at Epsom; one at each of the Pensioner Settlements and at Tamaki; one at Waiuku; besides arrangements for visits to various outlying districts. The Wesleyans have three chapels in Auckland, chapels at Parnell, Onehunga, and page 44several preaching stations. The Presbyterians have chapels in Auckland, Otahuhu, Papakura, Drury, Waiuku, Mahurangi, Waipu, &c. The Roman Catholics have churches in Auckland, and in each of the Pensioner Settlements. The Independents have two chapels in Auckland, one in Remeura, and one, we believe, in projection in one of the adjoining districts. The Primitive Methodists and Baptists have each a chapel in Auckland; and the Jews have a synagogue. Whatever, therefore, the denomination or church to which emigrants may belong, they will, see that there are numerous places of public worship, both in town and country. In several other districts we have not named, movements are now on foot for erecting churches or chapels; while there is hardly a district, in which only a few families are settled, where, sinking for the time differences that would be thought of moment in more populous places, they do not meet for the purpose of keeping the Sabbath.