Third report of the Commissioners on University Education (Ireland): evidence

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Alexander Anderson, Esq., 

with such a College?—About 
the President, it is dif¬ ferent. 
My opinion is that in Belfast the President April 8,1902. 
should not be a clergyman of any denomination ; nor in 

Galway or Cork. 
With regard to Professors, I do not lenow the opinion of the Northern people, or that of Belfast. 
Perhaps some of them would object to Catho¬ lic Professors; but as far as I am concerned, I would object to no man on account of his religion, if he was a capable man in other respects. 
It was not what you yourself would say or do that I asked you about, but what the people of Belfast would say or do, in such a case?—I 
am not prepared to answer that question. 
Dt> you think the General Assembly would pass any resolutions in reference to such a state of things ?— 
1 really do not know. 
All these questions are hypo¬ thetical. 
Still, I must put the question. 
Do you think the Belfast College would be the success it is if such a state of things existed?—Perhaps 
Do you think that many people in Belfast, or in Ulster, would not send their children to such a Col¬ lege at all?—I 
suppose that is true; but really I do not know what the people in Belfast or in Ulster would do. 
At the same time, I must put this question— did you ever hear that a politician in Belfast, and a distinguished man, said that he would rather let his children run wild through the woods than place them under the care of a Catholic priest; do you not think that there are many in Belfast of that opinion ?—I 
dare say there are; but it is a pity. 
The purpose of my questions is to show that if you wish to make a College of this kind a success, you must take into account the feelings and sentiments of the locality, and perhaps also what you may call the political atmosphere of the place. 
That is the object of my questions, and I am quite satisfied if you decline to answer, because that is a sufficient answer for me. 
don't think the President has declined to answer any questions?—(Witness).—No, 
my lord; but I cannot speak for the people of Belfast. 
Speaking for myself, if I had the appointment of a Professor in this College, and a capable man, who was a Catholic, offered himself, I would be very glad to appoint him. 
Most Rev. 
Heaey,—I have no doubt what¬ ever of that. 
Now, you have given us some interesting figures with regard to the number of students that have come to this College from various counties in Ireland. 
Are you aware that it was only in recent years that the complaint has been made as to the number of students that came from the North—that it was not asserted that they came in such numbers in the beginning ?—Oh, 
but they did. 
From the very first a great number of stu¬ dents came here from the North. 
I don't think any complaint was made that they came in such numbers from the North in the be¬ ginning ; is there any trace of such a complaint having been made ?—I 
really do not know. 
I don't think there is. 
Could you give us the number of students from the North who, in late years, have come to this College ?—I 
have not got the figures at present; they are being prepared in the Office. 
Would you be kind enough to send them in to our Secretary ?—Certainly. 

If a witness in the North of Ireland, who had great knowledge of scholastic affairs, declared that more than half the students attending here at present were-from the North, would it be accurate ?—I 
think not. 
I can tell you in a moment the numbers last year. 
Last year there were ninety-seven in all, and from Ulster thirty-one, so that would be inaccurate. 
As a matter of fact, not one-third came from Ulster, and this year I think less than that. 
The statement was that half the students came' from Ulster, or perhaps it was that half of those who got Honours and prizes in Arts came from Ulster ?-~Oh 
that may be so, because they have got better schools in Ulster. 
Do you think it a desirable thing that the State should maintain such a system in this College that the-prizes would attract the Ulster men, and would not leave them, practically speaking, accessible to trie-natives of the district ?—I 
think tho prizes and Scholar¬ ships in the College should be free to all comers. 
Theoretically, they are free, but practically they are inaccessible to the Catholicsj who form the great majority of the people of this district?—They 
are ac¬ cessible to all; and 


as a matter of fact they do get Scholarships and prizes here. 
But not so many as the Northern men?— 
Really, we make no distinctions. 
Everybody is free to come to the College, and the prizes are given on account of academic merit alone. 
I am only speaking of facts. 
I am sure yort do not make any distinction ; but observe—it is only a. 
natural thing, and that is what I speak of—I cer¬ tainly do not make any insinuation against you, be¬ cause I have no doubt that you act with perfect im¬ partiality ; but it is natural that your being President of this College would be a great attraction to your countrymen, m a provincial sense, and to your co-reli¬ gionists, to come to this College ?—I 
do not believe that there exists any such attraction. 
I have only one more question to ask you. 
Yon say you deem the provisions in this College for the pro¬ tection of the faith and morals of Catholics to be ade¬ quate ?—Yes. 
Would you expect Catholics to regard you as good a judge, in expressing an opinion of that kind, as the Bishops of their Church ?—No 
; of course not. 
Do you not think that they would pay more de¬ ference, on that question, to the opinion of their own pastors, than to the opinion of the Protestant President of this College ?—Quite 
And don't you think that outsiders, if impar¬ tial, would pay more attention to the persistent and! 
repeated expressions of the Catholic Bishops, including the Bishop of this diocese, that the provisions were in¬ adequate, than to the opinion of the Protestant Presi¬ dent of the College that they were adequate ?—Yes. 
One is an expert, judging in a case where he has a right to judge, and the other is not an expert at all?—Of 
That is all I have to ask you.—(Witness).—I 
hope the Commissioners will take an opportunity of going through the laboratories, and the library and museums of the College. 
Commissioners are much ob¬ liged to you for the information you have given them. 
The Witness withdrew. 

Edward Towasend, Eaq,, h.a, 

Edward Townsend, Esq., 
Registrar and Professor of Engineering, Queen's College, Galway, 

Townsend, you are Professor of Engineering, and also Registrar, in this College?— 
Yes, my lord. 
You have noted some points on which you are ready to give us information. 
Will you kindly proceed to do so ?—The 
first is the unusually high standard of marking adopted by the Royal University, and the consequent difficulty in passing the several examina¬ tions, which have had a discouraging effect on the Engineering students. 
The standard for Pass marks for the Engineering examinations in the Royal Uni¬ versity has been pitched very high. 
They require 50 per cent, in every subject, in order that a student may pass. 
Considering that the Engineering examinations consist, in great measure, of Mathematical and Physical work, the standard of 50 per cent, is much higher than has been adopted in any of the other Colleges or Universities of the United Kingdom, for 

instance, higher than in Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester, Trinity, and other Colleges. 
There are-three professional examinations, which the students in Engineering have to pass, in the Royal University— the First Professional, the Second Professional, and the Degree. 
At these examinations the students are not ex¬ amined by only their own Professors, but principally hy¬ men whom they have never seen before. 
The standard in Colleges in England, where the men fite chiefly examined by their own Lecturers, is only 35 per cent. 
So the standard comes in as a serious factor; and; the consequence is that in the First Professional exami¬ nation the destruction of the candidates is something enormous. 
Generally, about 50 per cent, are stopped. 
This has a very discouraging effect on a young man going up for the first time. 
A great many are so dis¬ couraged that they give up the profession in despair. 
I believe that this has been brought before the Standing page 502.