Page:Convocation Addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras.djvu/90

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1875.—Honorable James Gibbs.
at the present Convocation.The report just read offers several topics on which I may be expected to comment. You will be happy to find that the Chancellor's Medal, which was instituted by the late Chancellor, Sir S. Fitzgerald, has for the first time been awarded to a gentleman who has successfully passed the M.A. Examination in the first class. N. N. Vaslekar's departure to England. It has been noted that the Munguldass Nathoobhoy Travelling Fellowship had been conferred Nanaji Narayan Vaslekar. This gentleman left for England with the intention of entering the University of Edinburgh, and proceeding to the degree of Doctor of Science in Engineering; I am happy to state that news has just been received that Mr. Vaslekar has successfully passed his first examination, and, moreover, was the only successful candidate out of eight who presented themselves. I think this is a fair subject for congratulation. The report also notes the loss the University has sustained by the death of the late Registrar, Mr. Taylor, and one of the original Fellows, Dr. Bhau Daji, and informs you of the resolutions passed thereon by the Senate. I am in hopes that before the next Convocation memorials of both these gentlemen will form part of the endowments of the University. But besides these facts, there is one prominent feature in the report which calls for special observation, viz., the very small number of candidates who have passed the Matriculation Examination—only 262 out of 1,084. I have noticed that the press have commented on this, and in some of the communications they have published, attacks have been made, unfairly, in my opinion, on the Examiners. The Syndicate, with whom rest the arrangements for the examination, have made it a point to abstain from frequent changes in the Examiners in order that the standard of examination may differ as little as possible from year to year; and they feel sure that more painstaking and conscientious Examiners than those who examined this year could not be chosen. But I may be asked, how do you account for this result? Causes for large failure in Matriculation. I have given the matter much thought, not only now but for some time past, and I have arrived at an opinion, which a comparison of the results of the examinations for the past ten years seems to confirm, that the increasing number of failures is in a great measure to be accounted for by the fact that Government make the Matriculation Examination a test for admission into the Government service. Hence numerous youths, on arriving at 16 years of age, who have no intention of entering on a Collegiate education, go up, many very imperfectly prepared, on the chance of passing; and if they fail they return again and again, until they scrape