Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/248

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233
1890.—Rev. D. Mackichan.

tion is in its infancy, and while it is impossible to predict the course of its future growth it is interesting to note such indications as it has already given of its fitness to accomplish the end contemplated in its institution. Already 145 candidates out of more than 500 have passed this examination, and the number of candidates for Matriculation has shown a corresponding diminution. I have made inquiries regarding the attainments of those who have selected this course, and find that it has attracted from the older examination not the weak and hopeless, but many of marked ability. The standard of examination has not been lowered. On the contrary, by our selection of experienced examiners and by the standard which we have fixed, we have made it clear that this is not to be regarded as an inferior examination, but one in which a high attainment is to be demanded. It has so far answered our first expectations that it has supplied a proper terminus to the scholastic course of a number of our youths, whose circumstances might have rendered the further career to which the Matriculation Examination might have allured them one of perhaps hopeless struggle with overpowering difficulty. Far be it from me to ward off from a career of self-denying study those who feel within them an impulse which stirs them to such noble effort. The Universities of my own country are a perpetual witness to the existence of this impulse in many of the noble poor; but it behoves us to see that we do not by influences, which are independent of the existence of any such impulse, produce a state of things which may prove injurious to the community as a whole, and detrimental to the interests of that higher education of which we are the custodians. The danger to which I allude has been felt in other lands, and in more ancient seats of learning, notably in Germany, where the problem of adjusting the position of the Realschulen with reference to the Gymnasien arose in great measure from a consciousness of the same difficulty which we have sought to meet by these tentative reforms which have already, in some limited degree at least, fulfilled their promise. And now we must look for the fulfilment of another expectation. The change referred to was undertaken in the interests not only of those who had another than an academical future before them, but also of those who were destined for a University career. The conviction has been growing that a University education cannot be turned to advantage by all who arrive at that standard of education, which was wont to be determined by the Matriculation Examination, and that if the door of exit from the school was also the door of admission to the University, many might be misled into paths which they could never follow with advantage or success. It has also been accepted