Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/130

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115
1880.—Sir Richard Temple.


In the first place, then, our higher instruction in arts—including the various subjects mentioned above—has of late suffered some discouragement. Decrease in the number of graduates. The late Vice-Chancellor (Mr. Gibbs), in his farewell address to Convocation last year, presented a statistical summary of the results of examinations for entrance to the University and for degrees, during the last decade of years; for all which results we may be truly thankful, and the contemplation of which may encourage us to persevere in our academical efforts. Still, a consideration of the educational statistics in detail show us that although the number of those who annually present themselves for matriculation is maintained—though without any tendency towards material increase—the number of matriculated undergraduates studying for future degrees in the Arts Colleges affiliated to the University, has, during the last two or three years, shown fluctuations and in the main a tendency to decrease. Such a circumstance cannot fail to cause regret and anxiety, not only to us who are connected with the University, but also to all who desire the moral and mental advancement of the Natives of this country. As the teaching establishment is maintained in full strength and undiminisbed efficiency; as the professorial chairs continue to be filled by gentlemen whose talents and zeal are undisputed: the decrease of the students must be due to extraneous causes which are not fully discernible. But some of the causes can be partly discerned.

In Western India the agricultural distress which has lasted for three years and the commercial depression which has existed for two years, Adverse tendencies. the consequent diminution of income, and augmentation of the cost of necessaries pf life,—have rendered parents and guardians unwilling to incur the cost of collegiate education for the students. The same circumstances shut the avenues to some employments, darken the prospects of some walks of life, and thus damp the aspirations of those who hope to carve out a career for themselves by the force of intellectual training. These adverse tendencies have proved so unyielding that we dare not predict their immediate cessation. Still, we cherish the hope that ere long they must, under Providence, yield to the benign influences of returning plenty and reviving commerce. Again, notwithstanding the considerate intentions of the Government that those who acquire the higher education should have due advantages respecting admission to the upper grades of the public service, it has been found that University graduates in arts frequently fail, through no fault of their own, to obtain the situations or