Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/215

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203
METHODS IN INDUSTRIAL EDUCATION.

elements of certain handicraft industries. Overlooking the extreme diversity of type that exists among such schools, we have been apt mentally to throw them all together, and to refer to the supposed system on which they proceed as "the Continental system," in contradistinction to our British system of training, as we are pleased to term our obsolescent institution of apprenticeship proper. Nothing could be more misleading than this classification. It arises from lack of information as to the nature and work of such schools. It is not surprising, when such ignorance prevails, that the fallacy has in consequence been widely spread that the long undisputed superiority of British-made goods was due to the superiority of the British system. On the contrary, that superiority, which arose out of quite other economic causes, was the very thing which stirred up the Germans, Swiss, Belgians, and French to devise schemes for training workmen more efficiently and intelligently than was done in England, since only by such means could they hope to compete with her industries. Let the significant fact, that a very large proportion of the foremen of workshops in our skilled industries are Germans or Belgians, attest the result of a higher technical training. Besides the innumerable Gewerb-schulen and Real-schulen of Germany, where a general preparatory scientific and technical education is given, that empire can now produce a long array of trade-schools, sometimes organized as polytechnic schools, and sometimes devoted to particular trades, such as weaving, dyeing, or carpentry. In Switzerland such schools also abound; and in the commercial centers of Belgium they exhibit an extensive and healthy development. In France there are the technical schools of Douai, Chalons, and Aix, the École la Martinière of Lyons, the Horological School of Besançon, the Apprenticeship School of Havre, where workers in wood and iron are trained, and twenty others, including five or six in or near Paris. The technical schools of Paris present, indeed, so much diversity in their several organizations and results that it would be extremely difficult, even by going over a much wider area, to find so many different yet thoroughly characteristic types. To understand how completely different are the systems of organization by which it has been sought to solve this great problem, it would be necessary to pass from the Polytechnicum of Zurich—the Technical University, par excellence—to the Horological School of Besançon, and from the Kunst-gewerhschulen of Munich and Nuremberg to the unrivaled Pedagogic School of Moscow, and even then the list of types would be less complete than that which is afforded by the schools of Paris. In that great capital, in addition to the École des Arts et Métiers, the École des Mines, and the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, whose portals open only to an older and better educated class of students, and the great schools of modern type, such as the École Turgot, the Collége Chaptal, and the École Commerciale in the Avénue Trudaine, which qualify their pupils for commercial and mercantile careers,