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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;

DIHEWYD

I visited to-day the parish of Dihewyd. The Rev. David Evans of Llanarth is also the Incumbent of this parish, whom I had seen yesterday at Llanarth. Though I had been informed that there was a day school here open at present, I found that the report was not correct. An old man, of nearly 60 years of age, kept a school here last winter, but was so inefficient, even in the estimation of the parents, that when he came here this year for the same purpose, he could not obtain a single scholar, though there is a well-built schoolroom, 30ft. by 15 ft., shut up. It was erected by the Independents for a Sunday school and a preaching station.

There is much need of a school here and the parents in the neighbourhood begged of me to enquire for a competent master, and send him there.

I examined two boys here. The name of one was John Rees, aged 11 years. He could not read. He did not know how many days there are in a week, nor the number of months, weeks, or days in a year. He did not know who made the sun or the world. He did not know who Jesus Christ was, not, where he was born, nor how he died, nor where he is now. He did not know what becomes of the wicked after death. He did not know how many pence there were in a shilling, nor in 2s. 6d. He did not know in what county he lived. He said the righteous go into the grave after they die. He did not know what a soul is, or whether he had one or not. I scarcely ever met a more ignorant boy than this.

The other boy was Evan Evans, aged 10 years. He had been to school and could read, Imperfect as the education is, which is accessible to the people in these districts, yet there is a difference between those who have attended school, and those who have not. This boy, though younger than the other, answered me very correctly most of the questions the other failed.

I left a schedule to be filled for the Sunday school held in the schoolhouse belonging to the Independents and also one for the Sunday school at Twedyrhiw. There is no Sunday School connected with the parish church, and I was assured by Thomas Davies, and Evan Evans, a respectable and intelligent farmer, living at Brynau-bach, that there are no schools in this parish, beside what I have above reported.

HENRY PENRY, Assistant. [1846]

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(Gareth Hicks)

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