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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;

LLECHRYD

On December 9th I visited the above parish accompanied by Mr. Price, in which I found no day school of any description; there had been a small day school lately in the parish, but it had been closed about a fortnight; owing to illness in the mistress's family.

I examined seven boys and two girls, (ages from 9 to 14,) who had all, with two exceptions, been in a day school for at least three months, some for two and some for three years. The following was the result of the examination :-Who made the world? - Christ. Christ came to the world to save sinners, He was born at Calvary, and put to death at Bethlehem. What death did Christ die? - He was crucified; the meaning of which they did not know. What will become of you after death if you are good, and if you are bad? - Good children shall go to heaven (a happy place,) and wicked children to hell, to be punished for being wicked. Godly people will be glad to see the day of judgement. Did not know what judgement meant. Who did Christ appoint to preach the Gospel? - God. Who were the Apostles? - Simeon and Issachar. Moses was going to Canaan when he opened the Red Sea. Did not know how or by whose power he did so. All thought Moses went with the Israelites to Canaan. Moses died in heaven. Knew nothing of Paul, but thought he was a good man from the beginning. Christ will not come again to the earth. Judgement will be in heaven. This world will be burnt.

Two only knew anything of arithmetic, one of whom had been to the higher rules [sic]. 3 x 3=9; 4 x 6=24, 4 x 9 =32; 7 x 5=35: 7 x 8=48; 8 x 7=53; 9 x 8=72; 20d.=1s.8d; 29d=2s.6d.; 40d.=3s.4d.;

86d=7s 6d.; 40s.=2l.; 60s.=3l. Seven days make a week. Did not know how many days, weeks, or months made a year. In geography they could not answer the simplest questions

J. C. S. [Jelinger C. Symons, the chief commissioner in Cardiganshire]

Calvinistic Methodist Sunday School

On Sunday, December. 13th, I visited the above school, which was held in a very large and roomy chapel belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists.

I sat for a short time with several of the adult classes in the school, and their system of going on was to ask each other questions upon, and explain to the best of their ability, some doctrinal and other points they thought necessary, as they went on through the chapter. I likewise sat with a class of four boys, who were reading the 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews: the teacher asked them a few questions, such as the following: :-Who were those who sought a country in verse 14? - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What did Abraham offer, verse 17? - Isaac.

I then asked them what faith was said to be in the chapter they had just read; which they answered from the first verse. How was it that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain? And what did each of them offer? No answer. Enoch was translated, i.e. taken into heaven without tasting of death. Knew of no other that had been taken to heaven in a similar manner without dying. Knew hardly anything of the history of Moses and the children of Israel while in Egypt. The plagues were ten but could not name any of them. A Prophet foretells things before they come to pass. Did not know any particular person foretold by them. Knew the names of a few of them, but not their number. I found as the teacher had previously told me, that they were unacquainted with most parts of the Old Testament history.

They were considerably better in the New Testament. Christ was born in Bethlehem ; he was the son of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, whom they could not distinguish from any other of that name. Christ was crucified on Calvary by the Jews, with two thieves. He was buried ; did not know where, or by whom. He rose from the grave in three days, and ascended into Heaven; but did not know how soon after his resurrection.

I afterwards heard another class of older boys read the 1st chapter of the Gospel by St. John, which most of them did exceedingly well. They were very little, if at all, superior to the others in their knowledge of the historical part of the O1d Testament. The children of Israel were brought out of Israel by Moses, who opened the Red Sea before them, by striking with his rod. Knew nothing more connected with the history or their journey through the wilderness. A Prophet foretells future events. Knew nothing foretold by them. Named the four greater Prophets and Malachi. Were pretty well acquainted with the history of the birth, betrayal, death, and resurrection of Christ. Grace and faith, what meant by? No answer. Why did Christ die? To save sinners. How are sinners saved by his death? - No answer. I asked them a few questions in Scripture geography, but had scarcely any of them answered.

(Signed) D. B. PRICE, Assistant

 

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