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The Reports of the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the state of Education in Wales. 1847

This report was published by three English university scholars into the educational system in Wales. The three were Lingen, Symons and Vaughan Johnson. The report unfairly drew attention to the inadequacy of Welsh education . One of their main points was that Welsh children , and often their teachers too, could not speak English. The report was produced in blue books, hence the name. Apart from , and because of, the understandable outrage of Welsh people the report helped to forge a  greater sense of national identity and the publication was referred to as "The Treachery of the Blue Books" [Brad y Llyfrau Gleison]. One of the principal Welshmen who fought a campaign against the report was Evan Jones , better known as Ieuan Gwynedd, a  minister and a journalist . One of the report's statements was that Welsh was a " peculiar language isolating the masses from the upper portion of society". Sadly, for the Welsh language, faced with such criticism many people did opt for an education in the English language despite the efforts of Ieuan Gwynedd and others. [ Based on an article in"A Helping Hand "by W J Jones 1996]

This is an extract by Aidan Jones from the actual Report as far as it relates to this parish;

BLAENPORTH.

On December 12th I visited the above parish, in which there was no day school whatever; I therefore managed to find five boys and one girl, ages from 9 to 12, whom I examined.  All them had been to a day school; there were only three of them who professed to be able to read: and one only who read English.

I heard them read in Welsh the 11th chapter of the Gospel by St. John, which they did in a very imperfect manner, not appearing to have the least comprehension of the meaning what they were reading. To the following questions, upon what they had read, they could give no answers: Who was sick?  What town was Lazarus of?  Was Mary related to him? What did Mary do to the Lord?  To some of the other questions I had the following answers  -  Did not know by whom the world was created.  Adam was the first man, and Eve the first woman. They had two children only. Did not know their names or anything connected with their history. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden but were soon cast out, because of sin.  Did not know what the sin was or how they were tempted to commit it.  Did not know the office or names of any of them.  One boy having reflected for some time said: "John was one of them".  Moses was coming from Egypt when he divided the Red Sea.  Did not know how, or by whose power he did so.  The Egyptians followed the Israelites into the Red Sea, but they turned back and returned to Egypt.  Did not know how many plagues there were in Egypt.  Mentioned that of the locusts and darkness.  The children of Israel were only two years in the wilderness. Christ was the son of God.  He had no other father or mother. Did not know where he was born or crucified. Christ was buried but rose in our days. Thought he is now in heaven. He will come to the earth at the last day, when good children shall go to heaven and bad ones to hell. Did not know the office or names of the Apostles. Quarters of the globe are four.  Could not name them. Knew the parish and. county, but not the country they lived in: whether it was England or Wales.  Ireland was a town. Days in a week, (different opinions) eight, six, four and seven.  Did not know the number of days or weeks in a year. They could not give the meaning of or spell correctly the most simple words.

(Signed)      D. B. PRICE, Assistant.

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