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VI. Of Writing. Sand, slate, and pen. Economy 40
VII. of Arithmetic. Numeration and notation. Ta-
Instruction in classes the same as in sand 42
VIII. Rewards and Punishments. Corporal punish-
ment entirely superseded by inspection, vigilance, and
emulation-Confinement at extra hours-Honorary
and pecuniary rewards-Fund-book ·
IX. Economy-Supereminent in the Madras School 49
X. Mistakes commonly made in Schools
XI. Memoranda for Masters and Visitors-General
History of the new system of education—its grand end.
§ I. The evidence on which it rests-object of Ap-
II. Its earliest introduction into English Schools.. 65
III. Its extention to Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, and
IV. Its progress in English Schools
V. The Royal Military Asylum-Regimental Schools 76
VI. Indian documents of a late date-Addresses of Pu-
To render simple, easy, pleasant, expeditious, and economical, the acquisition of the rudiments of letters, and of morality and religion, are the leading objects of Elementary Education. It has accordingly been the study of the Author of this Essay to combine in harmonious union the progress and amusement of the scholar, the ease and satisfaction of the master, and the interest and gratification of the parent.
Such is the proximate object of the Madras System. Its ultimate object, the ultimate object or end of all education, is to make "good subjects, good men, good Christians*;" in other words, to promote the temporal and spiritual welfare of it's pupils..
To attain these ends, to attain any good end in education, the grand desideratum is to fix attention, to call forth exertion, to prevent the waste of time in school. This, in the Madras School, is achieved, not by vulgar and coarse instruments, which reach no farther than the body, and produce only a degrading and momentary effect; but by the strong and permanent hold, which its machinery takes of the mind, and the deep impression, which it makes on the heart.
This system rests on the simple principle of tuition by the scholars themselves. It is its distinguishing characteristic that the school, how numerous soever, is taught solely by the pupils of the institution, under a single master, to whom, by multiplying his ministers at pleasure, it gives indefinite powers.
That those unversed in this mode of instruction
* See "An Experiment in Education, made at the Male Asylum of Madras: suggesting a system by which a school or family may teach itself, under the superintendence of the master or parent." London, 1797, p. 32. Or the literal reprint of that Experiment, "Elements of Tuition, part 1st the Madras School." 1813. p. 50.
may not regard it as an amusing theory, an Utopiar scheme, unfounded in fact and observation, and unfit for real life, it is necessary to remark that it has nothing in it fanciful or speculative; but that it is entirely practical-the result of an actual experiment*, which was carried, in all its forms, into complete effect at Madras; that at the Asylum established there, 1789, the school, consisting of 200 boys, was taught solely by 14 teachers and assistant teachers, selected from among themselves, none of whom exceeded 14 years and three inonths of age; and that, by these measures, according to the resolutions of the President, Vice-Presidents, and Directors, 13th January, 1796, "this Institution has been brought to a degree of perfection and promising utility far exceeding what the most sanguine hopes could have suggested at the time of it's establishment."
"Every step of my progress," it is said in the Report of that school of the 28th of June, 1796, "has confirmed and rivetted in my mind the superiority of this new mode of conducting a school through the medium of the scholars themselves§." And the Right Honourable the President in Council, of Fort St. George, in transmitting this record to the Governments of Bengal and Bombay, begin their letter, dated 6th August, 1796, with these words :"The Military Male Orphan Asylum having flourished under a system of tuition altogether new, we are desirous of diffusing, especially in India, the report of its progress and present state, and the
*Exp. or El of Tuition, passim
See particulars in the scheme of the school. Exp. p. 19. Elements of Tuition, p. 33.
Exp. p. 39. El. p. 58.
Exp. p. 10. El. p. 23-24. Exp. p. 21. El. p. 40. "The school teaches itself" Exp. p. 31. El. p. 48. "The school has been entirely taught by the boys from 1st June, 1795." Exp. p. 25. El. p. 41. "You have a teacher and an assistant for every class," &c.
mode of teaching practised there*." Hence was this system first styled the "new System of Education,”as it was afterwards styled from its origin "the Madras System; and from its principle, because by it "the school teaches itself," self-tuition.
In subservience to this general principle, thus acted upon and recorded, the Madras School furnishes certain individual practices or helps in the art of tuition, by which it's pupils are initiated into the elementary processes of reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, and the first principles of morality, and religion.
Some of these are "teaching the alphabet by writing the letters with the fingers in sand+," "spread over a board or bench before the scholars, as in the schools of the natives of this country;" spelling syllabically, and "reading syllables by themselves, and words by themselves, &c‡.
Having thus briefly stated the grand characteristic of the Madras System of Education, and the heads of the practices associated with it; and, shewn that it is no Utopian theory, but the result of an actual experiment, it may not only gratify curiosity in regard to a discovery, which has excited so much interest, but also give weight to the facts recorded in that experiment, to produce the authority on which they rest.
The Military Male Orphan Asylum at Madras was established in the year 1789, by order and under the patronage of the Court of Directors of the East India Companys. Of this Institution the Governor of Fort St. George was President, the Members of Council and Commander in Chief VicePresidents, and men first in rank and character in the + Exp. p. 11. El. p. 24 & 25. El. p. 27, & passim.
* Exp. p. x. El. p. 10.
Civil and Military Departments at the Presidency were Directors*.
After having acted seven years in the two-fold capacity of a Director aud the Superintendent, the author was reduced, by the declining state of his health, to the necessity of giving notice of his intention of returning to Europe. He had, at this time, as the last duty of his office, drawn up an amended code of regulations for the Institution, founded on past experience; and he was now called upon by the acting Committee to give a last report of the progress of the new System, and a summary of the mode of teaching, for the instruction and guidance of those who, in future, should conduct and superintend the school†.
His final report, dated 28th June, 1796, was entered, by order of a general meeting of the President, Vice-Presidents, and Directors, on their records, and transmitted by the Government of Fort St. George, (not only as has already been noticed, to the Governments of Bengal and Bombay, but also) as one of the numbers in their general letter of 16th August 1796, to the Court of Directors at home.
This record, so transmitted, and so authenticated, was literally published by the Author on his arrival in England, 1797, as comprising the sum, substance, and evidence of the Madras System of Education, and fortified with an Introduction and Appendix, composed solely of Indian documents, for the purpose of fixing, in every way, its authenticity and character. To these facts not a syllable was added, except a brief preface, ending with these words, "That further and similar trials may be made, and the success, in every instance, ascertained by experience, is the aim of this publication." The object of the publication is also intimated in the title under which it was.
* Exp. p. 2. El. p. 14. + Exp. p. 3. El. p. 15. + Exp. p. ix-x. El p. 9-10.