Education and the Scottish People, 1750-1918

Education and the Scottish People, 1750-1918

Education and the Scottish People, 1750-1918

Education and the Scottish People, 1750-1918

Synopsis

Robert Anderson examines the distinctive characteristics and the historical myths of Scottish popular education, placing them in a broader framework of social, political, and intellectual history. Among the topics covered are: the development of Scottish educational thought in the early 19th century, the extent of schooling and literacy before education became compulsory in 1872, the role of education in late Victorian and Edwardian ideas on citizenship and democracy, and the neglected history of technical education. This authoritative, up-to-date study will become the standard work of reference for historians working in this field, and for all interested in modern Scottish history.

Excerpt

No apology seems needed for presenting this study of Scottish popular education, since the last general accounts of the subject, by H. M. Knox and James Scotland, appeared in 1953 and 1969 respectively. My original intention was to write a short textbook synthesizing recent research, but I soon realized that the gaps in scholarly coverage were so great that a more extensive treatment based on original sources was needed. For a book covering more than 150 years, the use of these sources is necessarily selective, and I have tried to incorporate the findings of other scholars with the results of my own research.

In 1983 I published Education and Opportunity in Victorian Scotland, which was devoted to secondary and university education. This book is complementary to it, and there is some common ground, since in Scotland the histories of 'popular' and 'élite' education were less distinct than in many countries. the core of the present book is the development of the national educational system. It expands in one direction into an account of educational politics, debates, and ideas. in another, it seeks to study how the system worked in practice, which involves looking at the relationship of education and social class, at the wide regional and local variations within Scotland, and at those outcomes of education which can be measured statistically. the book also seeks to relate Scotland to some of the general ideas about educational development put forward by recent historians. By comparison with some recent work on English education, the approach is a traditional one, in focusing on institutions and the decision-making élite, rather than on how education was seen and used by those at the receiving end. It also does no more than touch on the wider relationship of education to Scottish culture, literature, and daily life. Nevertheless, there is a lot in this book which is new, and it should act both as a foundation for the further research which is very much needed, and to make the history of Scottish education more accessible to comparative historians, and indeed to British social historians, who seem inclined to steer clear of the subject as a specialist preserve. the actual relationship of English and Scottish education was very close; yet their history has usually been written as if they were on different planets.

This book could hardly have been written without the resources of . . .

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