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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 32

A Constitution for the Association

A Constitution for the Association.

This cannot indeed be finally determined until an Association be in existence, since necessarily the rules of it must be made by the members who form the Association. The present paper is in reality but an endeavour—felt to be a very imperfect one—to put before the community a liberal interpretation of the objects aimed at (by many so misapprehended), and a sketch of the basis upon which an Association for carrying these forward may be planned and established. The promoters think that in their efforts to draw page 17 public attention to, and awaken an interest in the twofold subject—the practice and theory of Economics—approval and encouragement enough have been received to warrant them in believing that many persons will be willing to enrol themselves into an Association, and take an intelligent and active interest in promoting its objects in their integrity.

A chief means of kindling interest and keeping alive activity, would be for the Association to undertake the publication of pamphlets, translations, extracts from magazines and newspapers, in leaflets, reports of progress, statistics, and other items of useful and interesting; information, and the constant interchange of these amongst the members of the Association and their friends, by distribution and circulation. From the experience of the Committee in the distribution of over two thousand copies of the pamphlet on the Ghent Schools and about as many of another short paper, they are prepared to urge such a course as the one of all others most likely to lead to success; it would be the oil to keep up the smooth running of the machinery. Such publications would treat of whatever related to Economic knowledge—Thrift, School Banks, and their kindred subjects. School Reports, statistics, with other facts and proceedings, would be supplied to the Secretary by the various Sub-Committees, and arranged and classified by him for publication, say once a year. It need hardly be observed that such an undertaking could be met and sustained only by combination.

The Committee are well aware that not a few teachers are eager to take up the work, the secretary already having had many requests for instructions; others, less enthusiastic, are simply prepared to accept it as inevitable; but they are also aware, that in the minds of another section, prejudice, more or less, exists against education being conducted by any such agency as the Savings Bank. Part of the work, therefore, of the members of the Association would consist in their doing their best in endeavouring, by persuasive efforts, to induce the holders of such preconceived opinions to set them aside, and consent, at least, to give the plan a trial. The teaching of the science commences with the first invitation of the teacher to his pupils, to become bank depositors. "What we have got to do," said the Otago Association of Schoolmasters in concluding their discussion of the question at a late meeting of the body, "is not to encourage miserly habits in our children, but to train them up to take care of, and spend wisely any money that may come into their possession and, in the truest sense of the term, such teaching forms the very foundation of the science. So excellent a beginning in dealing with the subject, augurs well for the future appreciation of the study, and we may be permitted to congratulate the Association on the correct judgment which dictated a resolution so pregnant with sound principle.*

page 18
The following is the outline of a basis for the Association. It is hoped that it may be found suitable for preliminary organisation, after which, the work of forming a permanent constitution will devolve upon a Committee of members who shall be elected for that purpose :—
I.That the officers of the Association shall consist of Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer.
II.That the Association shall consist of Members and Associates.
III.Members to be classed as Honorary, Ordinary, Corresponding, and Corporate.
IV.That the honorary title of Associate shall be conferred upon persons who have distinguished themselves as having rendered specific service to the cause of Education in the direction aimed at by the Association.
V.Honorary membership shall be conferred (with their consent) upon such persons as are considered to have special fitness to promote the objects of the Association.
VI.That a yearly payment of five shillings (5s.) constitute ordinary membership; and a yearly payment of one pound (£1) constitute corporate membership.
VII.Corresponding members to be elected by ordinary and and corporate members, and shall be those willing to undertake the work of corresponding with the Secretary; such election to constitute membership without fee.
VIII.That School Committees, the separate Lodges of Good Templars, and other Friendly Societies, shall bo corporate members; these to elect their own corresponding members.
IX.That every Associate, Honorary, Ordinary, arid Corresponding member shall be entitled to receive single copies of every paper issued by the Association; also, a copy of its yearly Report, and every Corporate member shall receive of the same, copies to the number of twenty, or a greater number at a scale to be fixed.
X.That members who occupy positions of power and influence should, with teachers and other local residents, form sub-societies. These sub-societies would endeavour—1. To promote the opening of a Bank in every school, public and private. 2. To induce page 19 teachers to commence simultaneously with the Bank if possible, giving instruction in economic knowledge by the use of such manuals as William Ellis' Principles of Social Science, or, Mrs. Fawcett's Political Economy for beginners. 3. In order to accustom children, even while young, to the idea of saving money, to frequently give, or allow them to earn small sums for deposit, and, as occasion offers to guide them in the spending or investment of the same. 4. Generally to aid and encourage teachers, pupils, and parents, to mutually understand and work with each other, and to take an active interest in the progress and change to the improved habits which such training must evolve.

The promoters of the movement have carried on the work so far under the name of Organizing Committee. This Committee is now dissolved. A Provisional Committee has been elected who shall continue to organize the Association. When the Association assumes a more definite shape, a General Council will be formed, composed of a few of the best known friends of Education in each of the Provinces, and who shall advise and assist by correspondence an acting or executive Committee, whose centre shall be Dunedin. It may be mentioned that the chief work of this Committee would be to secure co-operation throughout the Colony, to look carefully through all available periodical literature for papers bearing on Economic Science, and kindred subjects, and having the same published in suitable form for distribution to the sub-societies, members, and friends, and generally to conduct and carry forward the business of the Association.

The fee of membership has been made as small as possible, with the hope of swelling the number of members. The expenses incurred will chiefly be those for printing, stationery, and postage; incidental expenses are not likely to amount to much. The extent to which the printing of special papers can be carried on will necessarily depend, on the supply of funds, but it is hoped that not a few donations, will be received to swell the amount disposable for this purpose.

The ideal of the Association is not alone to create centres of activity, but to interest the whole Colony in the movement, and to afford to all workers a common bond of union and a means of intercommunication with each other; at the same time to leave the Committees of the various schools, whether Government, sectarian, or private, to form and work out their own organisation.

Cards of membership are in course of preparation. Persons desirous of becoming members, on application to the Secretary, with name and particulars, shall receive in return one of them page 20 as a gage of membership. The entrance fee may be sent in penny stamps or by P. O. order.

It is proposed that the Association proper shall date its commencement from the 1st of February, 1877, but meanwhile all who are desirous of taking part in it should not delay in communicating with the Secretary. The school year may be said to begin in February.

Suggestions are cordially invited, and the Secretary or the members of Committee will gladly furnish any required information.

Donations of large or small sums will be gladly received, and acknowledged by the Secretary or Treasurer.

This prospectus cannot be closed without mention of Mr. J. G. Fitch, M.A., of London, to whom the British public are indebted for their acquaintance with Professor Laurent's Savings Bank system in the Belgium Schools through his paper originally contributed to "Macmillan's Magazine." Deep obligation is due to him for his ready manifestations of interest on learning that it was desired to familiarise the Colonists of New Zealand, with the same by the publication of his paper in an adapted form to suit their changed circumstances. And not alone to him, for his own substantial tokens received subsequently, but warmest thanks are also due to his friends, Mr. William Ellis, the author of many works on social science, Dr. Hodgson, Professor of Economic Science in the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Laurent, of Ghent, from each of whom kind words of encouragement and sympathy came, together with copies of such of their productions as bear on the subject.

Since then, written and printed communications, containing much useful and interesting information, have been received from Miss Buss, of the North London Collegiate Schools, Mr. Meikle, of Glasgow, and M. de. Malarce, of Paris, the latter having accidentally discovered our intended proceedings in a copy of the Dunedin "Evening Star."

A brochure by M. Laurent, "Conference sur L'Epargne," a dozen copies of which have been distributed and lent about amongst the friends of the movement, has elicited much warm commendation, and a general desire that it should be translated, one gentleman of no mean authority in such subjects having in a note to the Secretary said, "Every teacher in the land should possess a copy." MisslIuie, of the Dunedin Girls' High School, has most kindly undertaken the task of translation, and, all being well, the promoters trust that before many months are over, every teacher in the Colony shall have it in his or her power to bo in possession of the valuable little work.

The Secretary also embraces the present opportunity of publicly thanking the Secretaries of the various Education page 21 Boards in the Colony, for their ready compliance with his request for the names and addresses of the teachers in their respective Provinces.

George Elliot's beautiful couplet contains the philosophy of the whole matter :—

"Our deeds do travel with us from afar,
And what we have been, makes us what we are."

* It is worthy of note that whilst these pages were being written, the "Problem of Poverty" should form the subject of a thoughtful paper in the "N. Z. Magazine" by Professor Macgreggor. For its solution and prevention, it is both cheering and encouraging to find that the aims proposed by the Association arc clearly in the direction of those pointed out by the Professor. A single sentence concentrates the essence of much that is brought forward as the means by which the "festering sore" might bo kept from these shores : it is this—" The nation must see that its children are educated with a view to fit them intellectually and morally for the battle of life."