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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30



The Premier reverenced nothing so much as education, and, within certain limits he was right. But they had to consider that the education system of this colony was supported by every person in the colony, whether that person could avail himself of it or not. Consequently it was the duty of Parliament to see that education, which now costs close on half a million of money what with revenue from endowments, building grants, etc., should not weigh so heavily on the colony. Last year there were 106,328 children in our schools of which no less than 21,000 were under seven years of age, while those receiving education above the fourth standard were 13,000. His opinion on this matter was this, that in all large centres of population at least, it was not desirable that the State should undertake the education of children under seven, and that in every part of the colony the duty of the state should finish at the Fourth Standard (applause). The average cost last year was £4 18s 8d. Now if they took 15,000 as representing the proportion of those under seven that the large towns contributed out of the 21,000 they had a sum, if reckoned only at £3 per head in place of £4 18s 8d, of £45.000. If to these were added the 13,000 above the Fourth Standard, and reckoned d at £5 each, they had another saving of £65.000, or £110,000 in all. If, for the sake of county schools, where the pay was of course less than in towns, they took ten per cent off this amount, they would still have £100,000 that ought to be saved to the taxpayers of the colony (applause). With Sir R. Stout's £100,000 they would thus have a sum larger than it was necessary to raise by additional taxation, and if this scheme were insisted on it would relieve the colony from a great burden and the settlers from further taxation. One word more as to the cost of education. He would not reduce the salaries teachers now receive, they were low enough already, but he believed that fees might be imposed in page 6 cases where children were admitted under the age, or were educated beyond the Fourth Standard. So much for retrenchment, and next he came to the question of the incidence of taxation or