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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72


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At the annual meeting of the Southland branch of the Educational Institute, held at Invercargill on the 28th ult., Mr John Gammell, B.A., ex-inspector of schools in West-land, delivered the following address:—

Mr President, former comrades, and friends,—Personal feeling on the renewal of old acquaintance has the first claim to expression. If on the present occasion I seem to disregard that claim by proceeding at once to my subject, pray accept the assurance that the omission proceeds from no insensibility on my part to the claims of friendship, but only from the fact that I have much to say, and that on matters of the deepest public interest. That I have responded to your invitation to speak here tonight will show you without more words of mine that I am not indifferent to your kind recollection of me, or, still less, to your wishes and interests. One word more by way of preliminary. As you are aware, Orders-in-Council founded on the resolutions of the Inspectors' Conference at Wellington have now been issued by the Government. My paper was written and completed before the appearance of these orders, and I shall have to ask you to bear this fact in mind as I proceed, since some of my expressions will be less appropriate now than they were at the time they were written. And now to our subject.

In my judgment the best thing in New Zealand at the present hour is its primary education system. I think the historian of the future will point with pride to the broad lines and liberal principles on which that system was laid down by the Parliament of 1877. In spite of the opposition of the Minister that introduced the Bill, that Parliament in its wisdom determined that the education system of the colony should be a generous one, with nothing small or narrow about it. Accordingly primary education in New Zealand was made