CHINA’S ONLY HOPE

CHAPTER IV. THE STUDY OF REGULATIONS

The educational institutions of every foreign country may be divided into technical and collegiate. The former teach subjects that are very profound and abstruse, embracing inventions unknown to the ancients and the discovery of new appliances now hidden from the world. It thus possesses an unlimited curriculum. The collegiate course is regular and the curriculum definite. The student graduates in three or five years, as the case may be, not alone, but constituting one of a class who have been under the same professors and studied the same books. These classes are started with a number of students. If some fail to pass their examinations, through indolence or sickness, they are dropped. If others, through diligence, master their allotted tasks, they are not allowed to take up lessons outside the regular course of the class. The students with inventive genius go into one class and the dullards into another. No branch is taken up without maps and illustrations; no department without mathematics; and no recitations without ample elucidations of the subject. There are no students who are not given the opportunity of understanding what they study, and no professors who are not versed in their departments. Thus the latter are not harassed, and the former, who are made to understand that the art of explanation is learning, are not embittered.

By knowing what institution a man comes from, it can be discovered at once what branches he has studied, and by knowing how many years he continued in the institution one can discover how far he has progressed in his studies. Civil and military officers, farmers, merchants, artisans, all classes and conditions of men go to school. The lower schools teach the elementary branches, astronomy, geology, drawing, arithmetic, languages, drill, etc. The higher schools, algebra, logarithms, chemistry, therapeutics, government; and the languages of all countries are taught in schools of a still higher grade. These institutions grade the students into two or three classes according to their mental equipment.

If the government wishes men of ability for certain posts, it selects them from these institutions. The men are qualified to fill these appointments and hold diplomas to this effect. The course of study is marked out by experienced professors, and the Government School Board approves. The prospectus is distributed among the people; several years afterwards it is revised or corrected to suit the needs of the times. These institutions are founded mostly by wealthy alumni, but in part by the Government. The students pay their own expenses and expect to get an education — not loaves and fishes; the poorer pay less than the rich. The money subscribed by individuals is used for buildings, professors’ salaries, books, and apparatus — not for stipends for the students.[23] Thus those who matriculate see the advantage of the course and are willing to pay for it. After graduating in their department, whether official, merchant, artisan, or what not, they possess the means of making a living, and are not cast out on the world to starve. Consequently, in every country there are myriads of high schools, thousands of colleges, and hundreds of universities, whose expenses are not paid by the officials, or defrayed entirely by wealthy individuals. The methods of establishing these institutions are, generally speaking, the same in all the countries of the world, and we suggest that they be adopted also by China.

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