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SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
ON THE CONTINENT
MATTHEW ARNOLD, M.A.
FOREIGN ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER TO THE SCHOOLS ENQUIRY COMMISSION; ONE OF HER
MACMILLAN AND CO.
(Right of translation reserved.)
The thing is not, to let the schools and universities go on in
a drowsy and impotent routine; the thing is, to raise the culture of the nation ever higher and higher by their means.'
WILHELM VON HUMBOLDT.
WAS in 1865 charged by the Schools Enquiry Commissioners with the task of investigating the system of education for the middle and upper classes which prevails in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. In the discharge of this task I was on the Continent nearly seven months, and during that time I visited the four countries named, and made as careful a study as I could of the matters to which the Commissioners had directed my attention. The present volume contains the report which I made to them. I have here adapted it to the general reader's use, and divested it of some details which for his use were unnecessary.
It is the education of the poor, not the education of the middle and upper classes, which principally occupies public attention in this country at present. In Switzerland, more than in any other country with which I am acquainted, all classes use the same primary school; and in Switzerland, therefore, I had occasion to touch upon the primary school,—the school of the poor, because there this school forms a link in the chain of schools in which the middle and upper classes are educated. Accordingly, the English reader will in the following pages find a full account of the primary school system in Canton Zurich,-a region free like England, industrial like England, Protestant like England. School attendance is obligatory there, and the schools are very good; both in their goodness and in all the important points of their system resembling the schools of Germany, of which, therefore, and of their system, the reader, after acquainting himself with the Zurich schools, will be able to form a clear notion.