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district. A district for a circulating school consists commonly of three or four sections. The teacher goes round from one section or circuit to another, to keep school. According to law, the youth of each circuit are to receive instruction during at least three months, or, where this is not possible, during at least two months in the year; but the fact is, that in some places the children in the circuit schools receive instruction during twelve weeks, but on an average during not more than eight weeks, over the whole country. The school is not, however, kept uninterruptedly in the same spot while within the limits of the same circuit. It is the duty of every farmer (Gaardmand) or small proprietor in the circuit, each in his turn, to provide a proper school-room in his own house, and to give the teacher board and lodging for a certain time, which is usually in proportion to the extent of the estate. The teacher usually moves with the school every week to a new house. The eight weeks in each year, during which the instruction is usually given by these schools in each circuit, are not consecutive, but distributed in several terms at various times, from October to April, that part of the year within the limits of which all the instruction of the circuit schools in most places begins and ends. In some places the teacher of the circuit school gives instruction also during some of the summer months, having either a district consisting of a greater number of circuits than usual, or to teach in each circuit during a greater number of weeks than the minimum required by law. The salaries of the circuit schoolmasters are very different. In some parts of the country only 12 sp. drs. are given, besides board and lodging in school time, for 30 weeks' teaching yearly, while in other parts the salary is 40 sp. drs. The whole number of such itinerating schoolmasters is about 2,000, and of circuits about 7,000.
According to the existing law on district schools in towns, every town is bound to establish so many schools that every child can receive two days' instruction per week all the year round, with the exception of the usual vacation, no teacher having on the same day more than 60 pupils. The district schools in towns are usually so arranged that every
child receives two or three days' instruction weekly. In most places each school is provided with only one teacher, who, where each child is to receive three days' instruction weekly, teaches on alternate days each of the two classes into which the children belonging to the school are divided; while in places where each child is to receive two days' instruction weekly, he teaches every third day each of the three classes into which the children belonging to the school are in that case divided. The division into classes is usually regulated by the advancement of the pupils in knowledge. In places where the children have access to the school two days in the week, each child will be able to attend school about 84 days in the year, and in those places where the children have access to the school three days in the week, about 126 days in the year.
What has been above remarked concerning the time of instruction in the different classes of district schools, applies only to that time during which the children have an opportunity of receiving instruction, and not to the time of instruction whereof the majority of the children actually avail themselves. Parents can indeed, according to law, be punished by the infliction of fines when their children, from having neglected to attend school, have not made such progress as they ought to have made; but in practice, this measure is seldom or never adopted unless the neglect appears to have taken place in a very remarkable degree. The fact is, that the children who attend circuit schools do not on an average actually receive instruction during more than four weeks in the course of the year. It must, however, be observed, that during the year, or at least the halfyear, immediately preceding their confirmation, which usually takes place in the interval between the fourteenth and fifteenth year of their age, the clergyman of the place gives the children who are to be confirmed instruction in religion, several hours weekly, besides the instruction which they receive at the schools. Moreover, according to the existing law for the organization of schools in the country, all children above twelve years of age are bound, until two years after confirmation, to appear in church at the public catechisms which are conducted by the clergyman in connection with the usual divine service, and are held several times a year in each church. It must also be observed that in many of the country districts the parents are anxious, as far as they are able, to assist the school in giving their children religious instruction particularly. As regards those children who belong to the permanent schools in the country, the disproportion between the opportunity of receiving instruction and the instruction actually received is not so great as it is with respect to those who belong to the circuit schools. The same remark may be, on the whole, applied also to the schools in towns.
According to law, instruction is to be given at the district schools, as well in the country as in towns, in reading, religion, singing, writing, and arithmetic. School begins and ends every day with prayer or psalm singing, or both. In a number of circuit schools, the instruction is contrary to law) limited to reading and religion, and in the great majority of circuit schools the instruction in writing and arithmetic does not extend beyond the first rudiments. As the circuit schools are kept alternately in the houses of the several farmers, and very frequently in the same rooms where the inmates are engaged in their daily avocations, there exist, of course, obstacles to the proper organization and successful operations of the schools. Very frequently the room is also extremely unwholesome, and especially it often happens that all ventilation is impossible, the windows not even being made to open. Drawings of rooms of itinerating schools in different parts of the country, and a drawing of the farm where one of these rooms is found, were exhibited at the Educational Exhibition. In many permanent schools, as well in the country as in towns, several other branches of instruction have been adopted; for instance, orthography, and sometimes a little history and geography.
Some superior district schools have been lately established, in which
the more advanoed children, not only from the nearest surrounding district, but from the whole parish or municipality, besides receiving instruction in religion, writing, and arithmetic, learn the orthography and grammar of their mother tongue, history, geography, mensuration, and the rudiments of natural history and physics, also sometimes a foreign language, usually English or German. The number of such schools is as yet very small, as the municipalities or parishes are not obliged to establish any school of this kind. They however often do so voluntarily, encouraged by the hope of obtaining some assistance from the amount of money which the Storthing (the National Assembly) has granted for the estabiishment of such higher district schools. In these schools a small sum is usually paid by the pupils; in all other district schools no payment is taken. The expense of the district schools in the country, including the outlay in kind of board and lodging for the circuit schoolmasters, is about 115,000 sp. drs. yearly. The cost of the district schools in the towns may be estimated at about 32,000 sp. drs.; adding to this the sum granted by the state to the five seminaries for teachers, namely about 8,000 sp. drs., together with the state subsidies to the poorer districts, it will appear that the country devotes on the whole about 195,000 sp. drs. yearly to the endowment and support of the district schools, in which about 213,000 children receive instruction.
The district schools are, with few exceptions, but poorly supplied with the means of instruction. This is especially the case with regard to the circuit schools, of which many have (beyond the pupils' own religious books) no other help than some few copies of the New Testament, a psalm book, and a rude but peculiar instrument used in teaching singing, called Psalmodicon, or Monocord, which in many places is also used in family worship. These means of instruction, belonging to the itinerating schools, the master, as a matter of course, takes with him from one farm-house to another, as he moves. All schools established by law lie under the joint management of the municipal authority (Formandskabet) in the towns and parishes, and the clergyman of the parish. No tax can be levied towards the support and improvement of schools, but after a grant of the municipality, which, however, by the law is bound to grant the means absolutely necessary to establish and keep up proper schools.* The head management of such schools is vested in a board, called “Stifidirectionen," which consists of the high sheriff and the bishop of the diocese, from whom the more important matters of education are sent to the Governmental department for church and education, in order to be submitted to the decision of government. Dissenters, of which there are but few in Norway, may send their children to school, but they are not obliged to let them take part in the religious instruction, but they, as well as the members of the Established Church, are by law bound to attend to the proper religious and temporal instruction of their children.
* It consequently depends on the people themselves whether the school is to be properly developed or not.
From the above remarks about the common schools in Norway it will be seen that the instruction given in most of these schools is of a very indifferent kind. But still the great bulk of the population does not stand low in point of education when compared with the people of other countries ; this is a consequence partly of the fact that no child grows up quite destitute of education; and partly to the cultivating and improving impulses found within life itself out of school. That the clergyman of the parish has the charge of the religious instruction of the children, and that the parents also very often pay a great deal of attention to this point, has been remarked above. The farms being spread widely over the country certainly increases the difficulties in properly arranging and fitting up the school, and also excludes the improvement that frequent intercourse with a great many other people is sure to bring about; but, on the other hand, it gives the life within each family a direction by which the mind of the individual is turned inwards, and creates a desire of reading, and of thinking closely over what has been read. The grandeur of the scenery in many parts of the country excites the imagination, and keeps up and develops the poetic element in the mind. Singing and narrations of old stories and traditions from the remotest times—nay, even poetical contests——therefore, form a peculiar feature and an essential part of the social entertainment of the peasants of Norway, especially in the mountainous parts, when they meet at weddings, and on other festive occasions. The many dangers by which nature has surrounded the Norwegian peasant, and the many difficulties that he has to struggle against in various parts of the country, strengthens his courage and sharpens his wit and acuteness. But more than anything else the peculiar social and political station of the Norwegian peasant contributes to promote the development of his mental faculties, though but inefficiently begun in the school. Even when the country of Norway was during its union with Denmark deprived of national independence, the Norwegian citizen and peasant enjoyed personal liberty and social independence. The Norwegian "bonde," or yeoman, has never been oppressed by a predominant nobility, who never gained any ascendancy there. His feeling of liberty and independence is, therefore, strongly developed. Add to this, that the whole country is divided between a great many small proprietors, whose farms, however, are large enough to render it necessary for them to employ eight or twelve horses for the proper cultivation of their fields; and this affords an opportunity to the proprietor to spend much of his time in the study of, more or less, practical science. There is, therefore, comparatively speaking, a very large number of persons whose social position not only allows but induces them to cultivate their own minds, and take care of the education of their children. They are still more induced to do so by their political position. Every landed proprietor, however little his property may be, has a vote, and may bimself be elected as a member of “Formandskabet " (the municipal authority) and of “Storthinget" (the National Assembly). At present more than half the members of the Storthing are peasants, and
many among them, who have received no instruction but what the common schools above-mentioned have been able to give them, have, by the agencies of life itself been prompted by their own exertions to acquire such an amount of knowledge, and their mental faculties have been so much developed, that they in the Storthing make most pithy and eloquent speeches upon all political and social subjects,
Of the 10,000 children who do not belong to the district schools about 4,000 may be supposed to receive instruction at home from parents, tutors, or governesses. Of the remaining, 6,000, about one-half attend private schools, which are about on a par with, or very little superior to, the bet. ter class of district schools in the towns. The other half, or about 3,000, may be supposed to attend higher public or private schools, both for girls and boys, but principally the latter. Among these schools the so-called Burgher-schools should be first mentioned, of which there are more than twenty in different towns. There are public schools, in many of which girls are also educated, but in separate classes or sections. The branches of instruction in these schools, which in the smaller towns have two or three, and in the larger towns four or five or more teachers, are usually reading, writing, arithmetic, religion, orthography and grammar of the mother-tongue, one or more of the foreign languages German, French, and English-history, geography, the rudiments of mathematics, and sometimes the rudiments of drawing, natural history, and physics. The most completely endowed Burgher schools are called “Real” schools, Thus, Christiania, Trondhjem, and Bergen have each a “Real” school, established partly by the public, and partly by private legacies. In Christiania there are also several more or less complete private “Real” schools. The whole amount of expenses for the Burgher schools is about 30,000 sp. dollars.
In eleven towns there exists (usually instead of, but sometimes esides, the Burgher schools) public Real schools, established by the State, which are placed in connection with the learned schools (Latin schools) established by the State. The peculiarity of the arrangement of these schools is, that the lower classes (until the pupils complete their twelfth year as a normal age) form, as it were, a common trunk or stem, from which there after. wards issue two branches, the Latin school and the Real school. The first of these, the Latin or learned school, imparts during five or six years, to those who desire to go to the University, a special preparatory instruction, of which the classical languages and their literature form an essential part. The other branch, or the Real school, imparts a suitable preparatory instruction to those pupils who are destined, after completing their fifteenth or sixteenth year, to enter on practical life,or to attend higher technical or commercial special schools, (of which there are scarcely any in this country,) or to enter the military school. The branches of instruction in the united