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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Relief Asked for from Within

Relief Asked for from Within.

The report of the present principal of the Girls' High School for 1898 is most instructive: "The requirements of the university junior scholarships dominate the work of our two highest forms, and I have long felt that thus work, in the case of girls, demands too much of their time and strength. A girl doing this work has to study five hours in school and in many cases five hours in preparation out of school." I know of cases in which girls have worked for months as long as eleven or twelve hours a day when preparing for examinations.

Seeing how short a time is allowed for overtaking the work required of free page 48 scholars in the High Schools, it may be assumed that many of them. In their eagerness to reach the University, work equally long hours, apart altogether from the question of competing for scholarships. Nor is high school over-work confined to such. I have been spoken to repeatedly about the weariness of ordinary pupils.. To-day a doctor told me of his own child having to spend four hours at preparation in the evening in order to keep up with the requirements. He spoke to me because he said the matter had been causing him great uneasiness for some time, especially as the pupil appeared to be getting somewhat spiritless and less capable under the strain.

In well-regulated colleges boarders are limited to an hour and a-half or at most two hours, of evening preparation, and day pupils are advised to follow their lead. When it is borne in mind that our local high schools are defective in regard to ventilation and provision for outdoor exercise and recreation, I think it must be admitted by everyone that a very grave wrong is being done, which demands radical reform without delay. What is true of Dunedin is true more or less of the whole colony, since we all work tinder one broad system; but there are some very notable exceptions—so far as exceptional action is possible—in the case of certain schools.