Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/281

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the subject-matter of any prepared books offered, some questions on history and literature, and translation of easy passages not previously prepared, (e) Marks of distinction should be given for work of superior merit in any branch of this examination, as, indeed, of every pass examination conducted by the university. Candidates should not be excluded from residence before passing this examination, nor should they be required to pass in all subjects at the same time; but the completion of this examination would be the necessary preliminary to entry for any other examination required for a degree.

2. On the question of endowments and the minimizing of waste in the administration of them there is much to be said, and I would suggest for consideration: (1) That, as a rule, open scholarships and exhibitions might be reduced to free tuition, free rooms and free dinners in hall, or thereabouts. (2) That every holder of an open scholarship or exhibition, whose circumstances were such that he needed augmentation, should, on application, receive such augmentation as the college authorities considered sufficient. (3) That care should be taken to discourage premature specialization at school.

For this end it should be required that no scholar should enjoy the emoluments of his scholarship until he had passed the matriculation examination described above; and a fair proportion of scholarships should be awarded for excellence in a combination of subjects. The universities might also do good service in the way of stimulating secondary education, if some small proportion of their entrance scholarships were distributed over the country as county scholarships, on condition that the county contributed an equal amount in every case. In this way some equivalent for the endowments, so cynically 1 confiscated by the education act of 1902, might be recovered and used for the benefit of poor and meritorious students.

Other reforms, which would, as I believe, be productive of valuable results, are the requiring from every candidate for a degree a knowledge of some portion of our own literature and history, and the encouragement of intellectual interests and ambitions by abolishing all purely pass examinations. A pass examination, in which the candidates are invited simply to aim at a minimum of knowledge or attainment, is hardly worthy of a university. The opportunity of winning some mark of distinction in this or that portion of what is now a pass examination would frequently rouse some latent ambition in an idle man, and transform the whole spirit of his work. Thus a modest reform of this kind might be of practical benefit to the nation by helping in its degree to intellectualize the life of a great many of our young men, and draw out unsuspected interests, faculties and tastes.

My observations have run to such a length that I must, perforce, conclude, leaving untouched other aspects of university education and