But it will evidently be attainable in its details only to university students. The decision of what shall be prescribed to the higher schools concerns, therefore, only the two classical and the modern languages. The university teacher has, in respect to this decision, to insist that, whatever language is prescribed, it shall be so taught that the pupil shall learn to work independently in it, and that he preserve his pleasure in the work. It remains to be seen whether new methods of teaching will promote this object.
We can now show upon this subject that there are other fields of teaching, the methods of which have been so well shaped out that they are in a condition completely to carry out what is needed. They are mathematics, philosophy, and the natural sciences. They have, on the one hand, so rich and diversified a content that they ever stimulate the love of knowledge anew, and on the other hand they are so well adapted to an ever more extensive cultivation as to afford a rich opportunity for genuine research. It is thus made clear that occupation with them affords the young mind so sure a preparatory training that it can make itself at home with peculiar ease in every faculty.
Instruction in the branches we have named, at least in their elements, was introduced long ago in our higher schools. Only the measure of the knowledge which should be prescribed as the purpose of this instruction has been variously fixed at different times. The opinions of teachers as well as of the controlling state officers have frequently changed; and the excessive tendency of these men toward the philological course at last always borne against the extension of the designated branches. Only the extreme necessity of satisfying the demands of the rapidly advancing technical interest and the industries gaining strength evenly with it, irresistibly forced concessions, and when it was believed that these could not be carried in the humanistic institutions, a separation was decided upon. Hence arose the polytechnic schools and the gymnasia, and as a further result the technical high schools.
A final peace has not been reached in this way. Our age is in the midst of the fight over the claims of particular kinds of high schools. The call is ever anew rising for specially organized schools, and before everything for a far-reaching reform of gymnasial teaching. Not all these demands can be justified. The universities have in most cases not sustained the claims of the real schools for a general admission of their graduates. As we have already observed, the interests of the individual faculties in the kind of preparation of their students are not identical. Those faculties which look in their teachings for immediate support in philological aids can not declare themselves satisfied with a preparation which has pushed the ancient languages more or less into