Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/701

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NIGHT-SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK AND PARIS.

day have ended, being required to do so either by parents or employers; and, as they enter the class-rooms fatigued by such labors, unless the teachers can attract, interest, and instruct them, they will either become drowsy or resort to mischievous acts to keep awake."

This simple record is in itself a pathetic protest against a system of children's night-schools. If mere book-learning was all that its most earnest champions advocate, it would still be purchased too dearly by forcing growing girls and boys into crowded schoolrooms at night after a day of toil in factories, workshops, or crowded bazaars.

Taking Paris as a representative of European methods, we find that no such absurdity is committed there as the establishment of night-schools for children. The name of these institutions implies their mission. They are called "cours d'adultes" and are intended solely for pupils over sixteen years of age.

Their method of instruction contrasts with that of New York, by being in its character not only scholastic and commercial, but artistic, and to a constantly growing extent industrial, technical schools for mechanic arts being a marked feature of night instruction.

Choice of subjects in the cours d'adultes is entirely optional with pupils. And, as more circumstances are likely to arise preventing night attendance than day, the night-schools of France are perfectly free to all who desire entrance—even the formality of registering names not being required from applicants seeking admission.

All tuition at night in Paris is given in the form of lectures by competent professors. These lectures, embracing all subjects of study, are made both instructive and attractive by illustrations and experiments whenever possible. It is found that students learn more from these popular lectures than during hours of wearisome study. They also make familiar the technical names of things relating to different pursuits, and thus enable the multitude to read intelligently such books as treat in a scientific manner of the higher branches of their avocations. By making knowledge pleasurable, the schools of Paris, in marked contrast to those of New York, are crowded nightly by audiences desirous to learn.

Another special feature in night education in France, which would bear transplanting to America, is the school library. In 1877 there were 7,764 of these civilizers of men in France; the number has grown proportionately greater since then—five hundred new libraries having been instituted the past year of 1879. These libraries are either in the schools or school-wards, sufficiently near to be used for purposes of reference. The state has set aside a yearly sum of 120,000 francs for the purchase of books. Thus these libraries acquire a constantly increasing size and value.

Many of these free libraries, however, are not due to the state, but to the liberality of private individuals, who make strenuous efforts for their institution in localities where needed. All of these are accessible