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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

The Fourteenth Annual Report of the Educational Institute of Otago 1890-91

The Fourteenth Annual Report of the Educational Institute of Otago.

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Dunedin Coulls, Culling & Co., Printers, &c. Crawford Street.

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Past Presidents of the Educational Institute of Otago.

  • 1878—Professor John Shand, M.A., LL.D.
  • 1879—Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G.
  • 1880—Professor James G. Black, M.A., D.Sc.
  • 1881—Professor D. Mcgregor, M.A., M.B.
  • 1882—John B. Park, Esq.
  • 1883—Wm. Macdonald, Esq., M.A., LL.D.
  • 1883—W. S. Fitzgerald, Esq.
  • 1884—William Milne, Esq., M.A.
  • 1885—James Reid. Esq.
  • 1886—Robert Peattie, Esq., M.A.
  • 1887—David White, Esq., M.A.
  • 1888—David A. Mcnicoll, Esq.
  • 1889—Alex. Wilson, Esq., M.A.
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The Fourteenth Annum Report of the Educational Institute of Otago, 1890-91.

Officers of the Institute.


  • C. Chilton, Esq., M.A., B.Sc.


  • W. McElrea, Esq.
  • J. H. Gray, Esq., B.A.
  • A. M. Barnett, Esq.


  • John R. Don, Esq., M.A. B.SC.


  • R. G. Whetter, Esq., M.A.


  • James Jeffery, Esq.
Representation of Branch Association:
Dunedin W. Davidson, Esq.
Milton C. Mahoney, Esq.
Waitati W. Kennedy Smith, Esq.
Balclutha J. Nicholson, Esq.

Representation of Institute on Committee of Management:

  • D. White, Esq., M.A.
  • Jas. Rennie, Esq., B.A.
  • W. S. Fitzgerald, Esq.
  • A. Wilson, Esq., M.A.
  • G. H. Smith, Esq.


  • George Reid, Esq.
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Fourteenth Annual Report of the Educational Institute of Otago, 1890-91.

The Committee of Management has pleasure in laying the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Institute before members. Five Ordinary and three Special Meetings have been held during the year, and the attendance has been very satisfactory, the average attendance being eight.

Mr. G. H. Smith, for several years a member of the Committee, left for Victoria last month. The Committee regret Mr Smith's departure, as he was an active and useful member of the Committee, and one who always took a lively interest in the affairs of the Institute.

Meeting of Council of the N.Z. Educational Institute.

The Meeting of the Council of the N.Z. Educational Institute was held at Auckland on June 6th and following days. The Delegates from the Otago Educational Institute were Messrs W. S. Fitzgerald, G. A. Simmers, James Jeffery, C. Mahoney and W. J. Moore. Copies of the report of the meeting of Council will be supplied to Members of the Institute at the Annual Meeting.

As the travelling expenses of Delegates were much heavier than usual this year, the Committee made a special effort to raise a fund to pay part of the expenses. A circular was issued to each member of the Institute asking for a subscription of 5s. towards Delegates' expenses. In response to this circular, the sum of £16 10s. was forwarded to the Committee, thus enabling it to pay to each of the five delegates the sum of £4 8s. Delegates this year also received a share of the £60 granted by the Minister of Education for travelling expenses.

The attention of members is particularly directed to the amendment of the constitution of the Educational Institute of New Zealand page 5 with regard to:—(i) The number of representatives a district is entitled to send to a General Council Meeting (Resolution 10, p. 16). (2) The increase of 4s. 6d. on each member's subscription necessitated by resolutions 12 and 15. (3) The appointment of an Executive, consisting of the officers of the Institute and three others chosen by the Council. The three for this year are Messrs White, Watson, and McMorran.

Reduction of Salaries and Bonuses.

The Education Board, in the early part of the year, proposed to make considerable reductions in teachers' salaries by the abolition or reduction of bonuses.

The Committee of Management drew up a report on the working and incidence of the bonus system and sent it to the Board for their consideration. The report referred to is printed as an appendix to this report. As a result of their deliberations the Board, while disavowing any intention of reducing teachers' salaries, resolved to alter the system by cutting off the bonuses from all teachers below Division II. of their class, and by reducing the amount of the remaining bonuses by one-fourth. Considering that the reductions have very seriously affected many teachers whose salaries were already small, the Committee hope that the Board will make some arrangement whereby those salaries will not be permanently reduced.

The extent of reduction in the smaller salaries by the abolition of bonuses is shown approximately by the following figures:—Four teachers lose £30 each; six teachers lose £20 each; sixty-seven teachers lose £10 each Almost all the salaries affected as above are under £200 per annum.

The Committee of Management hope that teachers who are interested in this matter will make a point of attending the Annual Meeting, when this matter will be discussed.

In connection with these financial arrangements, the Committee cannot overlook the fact that whilst teachers' salaries have been considerably reduced during recent years, it has at the same time been deemed advisable to increase the salary of some of the Board's officers.

The Committee do not call attention to this fact in any spirit of dissatisfaction with the increase itself. The Institute, however, is of opinion that any policy of increase or retrenchment should be made to apply to every branch of the service.

The 'Auckland Herald' Article.

A communication was received from the Hon. the Minister of Education, drawing the attention of the Institute to a leading page 6 article which appeared in the 'Auckland Herald' of February 7th, 1891. This article, as members are no doubt aware, condemned very strongly the education system of the colony. In connection with this matter the Committee of Management drew up the following resolutions and forwarded them to the Minister of Education:—
1."The Committee of Management of the Educational Institute of Otago desire to thank the Minister of Education for his courtesy in submitting to them the leading article which appeared in the 'Auckland Herald' of February 7th, 1891."
2."They are of opinion: (a) That since its inauguration the New Zealand educational system has had a wide and lasting influence for good on the youth of the colony; and that, though not perfect in all its details, it compares very favourably with the educational systems of Great Britain and the neighbouring colonies. (b) That the criticisms in the article referred to are expressed in extravagant language, and are based, not on a wide and intimate knowledge of the educational system, but on supposed facts of a more or less exceptional nature."
3."They would respectfully call the attention of the Minister to the fact that they have from time to time through the Council of the N.Z. Educational Institute suggested improvements in detail with regard to the syllabus and other matters, and that the adoption of these suggestions would go far to remove any real defects that may exist in the educational system."

Interview of the Executive with the Hon. the Minister of Education.

The Executive of the General Institute being about to interview the Minister of Education on business transacted by the Council, Mr White, a member of the Executive, went to Wellington at the urgent request of the Committee and at considerable personal inconvenience, to take part in the interview with the Minister.

The Executive brought under the notice of the Minister the question of the Standards, a Court of Appeal for Teachers, and the alleged appropriation by certain Education Boards of the capitation allowance for the purpose of erecting school buildings.

It is understood that the Minister of Education has in preparation an amended syllabus, which it is believed will be to hand in time for discussion at the Annual Meeting of the Educational Institute of Otago.

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The Education System.

The Committee of Management consider that the influencing of public opinion in matters connected with the Education system is a very important part of the work of the Institute. During the year a Sub-Committee was appointed to watch the interests of education at the time of the general election.

This Committee issued a circular to Otago candidates for a seat in Parliament, and had the replies sent by candidates published in the local newspapers. A copy of this circular is printed in Appendix B. In this and in other ways the Committee succeeded in bringing the education question prominently before electors.

Branch Reports.

Branch reports from Dunedin, Waitaki, Milton and Balclutha are attached.

The Committee are pleased to note that the Balclutha Branch has been re-opened, and that increased interest has been taken in the work of some of the other branches. In some cases joint meetings of two of the country branches have been held, and the Committee think that an extension of this plan would be very beneficial in maintaining a cordial feeling among teachers, and in increasing the usefulness of the Institute.

Annual Meeting.

The Committee has fixed the Annual Meeting for the 7th, 8th, and 9th July, 1891. The Education Board has courteously sent out a circular to School Committees notifying the date of meeting. As the date fixed coincides with the midwinter vacation at the University of Otago, and at the Dunedin High Schools, the Committee hope to see a large attendance of members.

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Annual Reports.

Milton Branch.


Mr James Reid.


Mr C. Mahoney.

Four meetings have been held in the year, at which matters of interest to teachers were discussed. The last meeting was in conjunction with the Balclutha Branch at Kaitangata. This meeting revivified languishing interests in both districts. The roll of membership is greater than it has been for some years past, the ladies of the profession in this district showing a particular interest in the welfare of the Institute. The coming year can be confidently looked forward to as a successful one.

C. Mahoney,


Waitaki Branch.

During the year the Branch has held six ordinary and two special meetings, the average attendance being twelve, or one better than last year. A paper was read early in the year by the Rev. Mr Parsonson on "The Position and Functions of School Committees," which was well received by the members and led to a good deal of discussion. During the year several questions of importance to teachers were discussed and a certain amount of action taken thereon. A petition was drawn up for presentation to Parliament in favour of Major Steward's Bill, and this was signed by 51 teachers, or practically unanimously from Kurow to page 9 Palmerston. The abolition of the cumulative vote and prior nomination—the provision for which the Board agitated—have now become law, and have met with general approval.

Circulars were sent to teachers regarding the desirability of forming a Teachers' Union, to which, in most cases, favourable replies were received, but owing to the lack of enthusiasm, nothing definite has yet resulted.

A discussion, opened by Mr Piper, also took place regarding the Board's proposed alteration in the Bonus System. After much debate, an amendment by Mr Fraser "That if there is a financial necessity for altering the present system of bonuses, it should be based on the principle of reducing bonuses on the higher salaries, and leaving them as at present on the smaller ones" was carried in opposition to Mr Piper's motion "That the Branch, while recognising the necessity for an alteration in the system of bonus giving, strongly deprecates making any alteration retrospective." A copy of the amendment was sent to the Education Board.

The Branch suffered considerable loss by the departure of Mr D. Ross from the district, Mr Ross having taken great trouble, as secretary, in forwarding the objects of the Institute.

Kennedy Smith,

Hon. Sec.

Balclutha Branch.

I have to report that this Branch, after languishing for a considerable time, was resuscitated in December, 1890.

The following were the officers appointed:—President, Mr John Nicholson. Kaitangata; Secretary, Mr Chas. R. Smith, Stirling; Representative on Committee of Management, Mr John-Nicholson.

Four meetings have been held. At one of these the members of the Milton Branch were present, when a short paper entitled "Corporal punishment in schools—its necessity for dealing with one difficulty in school work" was read by Mr Chas. R. Smith. At the same meeting Mr C. Mahoney, of Milton, gave a resumé of the work done at the Council Meeting in Auckland last year.

This Branch, believing that periodical conferences are of the utmost value to those taking part in them, would like to see the teachers of the district take a greater interest in the work of the Institute.

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Dunedin Branch.


Mr R. G. Whetter, M.A.

Secretary and Treasurer,

Mr A. Pirie.

During the session of 1890-91, seven ordinary, and one special, meetings have been held with an average attendance of 17; the highest being 24 in June, and the lowest 12 in October.

The number of members of the Branch is 58 at 7s. 6d.. and 15 lady members at 2s. 6d.

During the year the following programme was carried out:—
"Illustrations as an Aid to Teaching" Mr G. H. Smith.
"Some Phases of the Land and Labour Difficulty" Mr J. Jeffery.
"Continuation Schools" Mr G. M. Thomson, F.L.S.
"The Overlapping of Primary and Secondary SchoolS" Mr T. H. Gill, M.A.
"Stray Thoughts on Grammar" Mr W. Eudey.

A special meeting was held on October 11th to consider the action of the Board re the proposed abolition of bonuses. The matter was discussed by those present, but it was eventually referred to the General Committee of Management, as was also the matter of the 'New Zealand Herald's' article on "Education." The amount standing to the credit of the Branch is £2 16s. 10d.

A. Pirie,


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Appendix A.

The Bonus System.

At a meeting of the Committee of Management of the Otago Educational Institute, held in the Normal School on 1st November, the bonus system was fully discussed. The subjoined statement was formulated and agreed to, and the Secretary was instructed to forward a copy of it to each member of the Education Board:—

The Institute wishes to lay before the Education Board the following statement showing the incidence, extent, and increase of the bonus system.

To understand the effects and working of the system, it is necessary in the first place to know exactly the number of teachers in the various classes and divisions. The following table shows the:—

1. Classification of Teachers, giving Approximately the Number in Each Class and Division (1889).

A1—1 A2—4 A3—0 A4—1 Div. 5, part certificates & licenses.
B1—4 B2—6 B3—6 B4—0
C1—15 C2—16 C3—4 C4—2
D1—26 D2—43 D3—47 D4—29
E1—12 E2—40 E3—56 E4—19

Div. 1—58 Div. 2—109 Div. 3—113 Div. 4—61 17

Though the bonus system has undoubtedly been largely instrumental in stimulating teachers to enter on a university course of training, it is very evident from the figures quoted that the number of graduates is still small compared with the whole body of teachers in the Board's service, there being only 22 graduates out of a list of 358 teachers (1889). In some parts of Scotland where the education of the parish school was at its best, it used to be the boast of educationists that three-fourths of the teachers were university graduates. Otago is still a very long way below this standard. The following table shows:—

2. The Number of Teachers in each of the classes A. B, C, D and E.

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The number of teachers in each class is (approximately) as follows:—Class A, 6; Class B, 16; Class C, 37; Class D, 157; Class E, 140.

In speaking of the present bonus system, it is very often assumed that nearly the whole of the amount given for bonuses goes to the two highest classes of certificates (A and B), whereas, in fact, Classes C, D, and E get something like £4000 out of a total sum of £4879 paid as bonuses in 1889. as may be seen from the following.

3. The amount of the Bonus Fund falling to classes C, D and E:—
Bonus falling to Class C £1180
Bonus falling to Class D 2110
Bonus falling to Class E 640
Total £3930

It has been slated that the money paid yearly in bonus should be given as an addition to the fixed salary of teachers of long experience, irrespective altogether of literary qualifications. In reply to this statement, the Institute would draw the Board's attention to the following figures:—

4. The Sum Paid as Bonuses to Divisions 1 and 2 of each Class.

The following table shows the sums paid as bonuses to each division of the various classes:—
Division 1—58 teacher £1820
Division 2—109 teacher 2180
Division 3—57 teacher 730
Division 4—3 teacher 50

Divisions 1 and 2 thus receive £4000 out of £4879 paid as bonuses. A teacher's division in his class is determined solely by length of service and inspectors' marks for efficiency. The figures quoted above show that nearly the whole sum paid as bonuses is given to those teachers whom the Board's inspectors have placed in the two highest divisions. Nothing could show more clearly that the bulk of the bonuses as at present distributed goes to the most experienced teachers.

It is proposed to make an all-round reduction on bonuses. The Institute wishes to point out:—

5. The Effect of the proposed Reduction in the Amount of Bonus paid to Each Rank.

As there are 227 teachers in receipt of bonuses out of a total page 13 of 358, the proposed reduction simply means a very general reduction in the salaries of the oldest and most experienced teachers.

Besides the reduction in the amount of each bonus, it is proposed to retrench still further by cutting off the bonuses altogether from Division 3.

6. The effect of the Proposal to Abolish the Bonuses for D3.

From the table already given, it will be seen that there are 47 teachers holding D3 certificates. Of these, 26 are males, 16 of whom are employed in small schools with an average attendance of 41; average salary £170, with a house valued at £35 per annum. The 21 females have an average salary of £110. To abolish the bonus in this class means a reduction of from 6 per cent, to 10 per cent, in their salaries.

7. Have Teachers in the Third Division been Sufficiently Long in the Service to Entitle them to a Bonus?

It is true that a few young teachers of exceptional skill, who have also served as pupil teachers, have got into D3 soon after leaving the training college. In such cases, however, the inspectors must have given very high marks for efficiency. An examination of the list of D3 teachers as given in the Board's report for 1889, shows that the majority of them are teachers of considerable experience. Divisions 4 and 5 in any class may, however, be easily reached without any considerable length of service.

It has been urged as a reason for reducing or abolishing the bonuses that many of the teachers holding the lowest certificates are inadequately remunerated, and that there should be:—

8. A Readjustment or Increase of Salaries in the Case of those Teachers not now receiving Bonuses—viz., E3, D4, E4, and Lower ranks.—There are 131 teachers not receiving bonuses. Of these 131, 35 are males employed in small schools with an average attendance of 32, average salary £143, with a house valued at £30 a year. Of the 95 females, the great majority are employed in small schools, with salaries ranging from £70 to £110, in many cases having a house provided.

It is often said that the class in which a teacher is placed should count for little or nothing in determining the amount of his salary, because teachers in the lowest classes get as good results as those in the higher classes, if not better. The Institute has no sympathy with this cry about percentages, as if they were an essential feature of a teacher's work; still it is well to know what the actual facts of the case are, not in this particular school as against that, but in a very large number of schools, thus eliminating exceptional circumstances. The Board's reports furnish most convincing data on this point.

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9. A comparison of Schools with regard to Percentages.

An examination of the results obtained by nearly 80 of the schools taught by teachers holding E3 or lower certificates shows that (1) in passes, (2) in class subjects, (3) in additional subjects they fall much below the average results of the schools of the province. In the Board's report for 1889, page 8, there is a list of 33 schools getting from 31 to 67 per cent, of failures. In these schools some 60 per cent of the teachers are in E3 or lower classes. These results are not quoted for the purpose of showing that percentages are a real test of a teacher's work; but simply with a view of giving the actual facts of the case.

10. The Annually Increasing Amount paid in Bonuses.

To understand the rale at which promotion has been going on, and the consequent increase in the Board's expenditure, it is necessary to follow the system for some years past. How frequently do promotions occur, and how have these promotions been brought about? The following table shows approximately the cause of promotion and the number for each year from 1885 to 1890:—
Promoted for Service Inspectors Marks. Examination. Total.
1885 8 22 10 40
1886 17 24 10 51
1887 20 17 20 57
1888 12 19 14 45
1889 20 26 15 61
1890 23 26 10 59
100 134 79 313

It will be seen that there are fewer promotions by examination than from any other cause. This is a very significant fact: three-fourths of the promotions arise from length of service and increased practical skill, and only one-fourth from examination. This year, out of a total of some 59 promotions, 10 only are the result of examination.

The Institute expresses the hope that the Board's finances will, without embarassment, continue to meet the increase arising from the annual promotions.

11. Principles Underlying the Bonus System.—In any system of fixing salaries it is well, in the opinion of the Institute, to recognise these three principles—viz.: (1) Average attendance, (2) practical skill, (3) scholarship. Under any method that the Board may be pleased to adopt, whether as in the system at present adopted, or by classifying schools and appointments, it is, in the opinion of the Institute, most desirable that the principles underlying the bonus system should find a place.

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In thus supporting the bonus system, as in advocating a scheme for classifying schools and appointments, the Institute has proceeded on the principle that to aim at securing a high standard of scholarship, as well as a high degree of excellence in the art of teaching, is to do the best thing possible for education.

The Institute respectfully submits the foregoing statement in the hope that the facts brought forward may be of some service in discussing the question at present under consideration.

Signed on behalf of the Committee of Management,

John. R. Don,


Appendix B.

Dear Sir,—

As you take considerable interest in the political affairs of the colony, you are no doubt aware that the education question is likely to occupy a prominent place among the many important subjects coming up for consideration in the next Parliament. In view of this fact and believing that you have given some considerable attention to the subject, the Educational Institute of Otago would gladly receive from you an expression of your opinion on the following points:—
1.Would you suggest any alteration in the Standard course of instruction prescribed under the present system?
2.What are your views regarding the proposed introduction of technical or manual training into public schools?
3.What is your opinion with regard to raising the school age from 5 years to 6 or 7 years?
4.It has been suggested that the course of instruction should be limited to the Fourth Standard: what is your opinion on this point?
5.If a Private Schools Bill similar to, or the same as, that introduced into the last Parliament by Mr Pyke, were brought forward, would you oppose or support such a measure?
I am, yours, &c.,

J. R. Don,

Hon. Secretary Educational Institute of Otago