chapter  2
36 Pages

The Birth of the Educational System

The first attempts by the state to intervene in education in the nineteenth century were unsuccessful. Following a severe outbreak of fever in 1795 in Manchester a committee on health was established of which the first Sir Robert Peel was a member. Through his pressure in parliament the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act was passed in 1801. Factory owners were now supposed to provide adequate instruction in the three R's during the first four of the seven years of a child's apprenticeship. This schooling was not to be given before 6 a.m. nor after 9 p.m. An interesting point to note is that here education was defined as a state responsibility only inasmuch as parliament should make the rules by which it was to be supplied. The definition was not such that the state should actually supply educational facilities or levy taxation for this purpose.