The demand for technical and scientific education
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The demand for technical and scientific education book
A growing concern about industrial expertise and technical advance contrasted strangely with the national pride and apparent success of the Great Exhibition. Those who voiced their fears touched upon fundamental difficulties which seemed to arise from educational deficiencies as much as from technical stagnation. They saw an urgent need to provide more scientific training in secondary schools and universities, and they deplored the low standards of education and widespread illiteracy in elementary schools which made the provision of technical education to any worthwhile standard almost impossible. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to progress was the lack of appreciation of the need for technical instruction in school. The idea of learning skills on the shop floor through apprenticeship together with the example of the self-made man of industry threw doubt on the value of scientific education in school. Government policy towards scientific education was ambivalent until recent times and did little to give a clear direction to policy. This, indeed, was not surprising as there was little enthusiasm for technical instruction from industrialists, businessmen or the labour movement.