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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

What England has Done

What England has Done.

"That examination," said Dr. McDowell, "was intended to apply to youths who were in their last two years of school life, from 13 to 15, when they were preparing to enter upon business life, and it was agreed among a number of leading London merchants—between 400 and 500 of them banded together—to give preference of employment to all applicants who had gained the certificate for the junior examination. Then they established the senior examination for those actually engaged in business As it page 8 covers much the same ground as the Associate course at the School of Commerce, I shall not refer to this examination further at present, but I may say that the preference of employment given has had a wonderful effect. The number who take these examinations is growing year by year. Of late years the London Chamber of Commerce has instituted an examination for teachers of the subject, in order that teachers may be thoroughly equipped for teaching commercial subjects in the schools. This examination has also been highly successful. Last year no less than 10,000 candidates sat for the various examinations conducted by the London Chamber of Commerce. This result shows the value set upon this work, and what wonderful good has been accomplished, and I think that the example set might well be emulated by the Chambers of Commerce throughout the whole of the Empire. They should realise, as the London merchants have done, how very important it is that those they employ should be educated on lines that will be useful to them in after life. The same feeling that moved members of the London Chamber of Commerce to undertake this work also appealed to business men throughout the whole country, and there came a great demand that the Highest teaching the Universities afforded should be turned towards commercial life. One of the men who figured prominently in this movement was the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, who has done so much in waking up English commercial men to realise the need of wedding Science with English commercial life. What he did in Birmingham has also been done in Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds, and Bristol. About three or four years ago even the ancient University of Cambridge instituted a diploma in Economics, which would be serviceable to those who would be engaged in commercial life. Only last week I received advice that the Council for the Reform of Oxford University, under the presidency of Lord Curzon, has decided to seek the establishment of a diploma specially suitable for candidates contemplating a commercial career. The resolution adopted by the Council reads as follows:—

That the Council is in favour of constructing a scheme for a diploma specially suitable for candidates contemplating a commercial career, the subjects for which shall be mainly those of the Diploma in Economics and Political Science, with the addition of a modern language and other subjects, the diploma course to be under the control of the Committee for Economics and Political Science.

"The details of the scheme are still under consideration, and the report suggests that while 'the concrete study of commerce can hardly be undertaken at Oxford,' it will probably be necessary to J appoint a Lecturer in Accountancy. That resolution shows how 1 even the ancient Universities are all coming to see the importance page 9 of providing the highest education for commercial men. The old I idea that special educational courses were only required for professional men, clergymen, teachers, lawyers, and doctors, has been completely swept away, and it is realised that, if commercial men are to succeed in the struggle going on throughout the whole world in commercial, industrial, and business affairs, they must be fully equipped as far as educational means can equip them for their work." (Applause.)