Dr. Heenan outlines 4-point plan for schools campaign
STOP BANKRUPTCY TREND
Catholic Herald Reporter
ARCHBISHOP HEENAN of Liverpool this week put for ward a four-point educational plan to save the country from cultural and economic bankruptcy. He was speaking at a meeting of the 1963 Campaign for Education in St. George's Hall, Liverpool, on Wednesday evening, attended by almost 800 Liverpool teachers.
The chair at the meeting was taken by Mr. F. E. Shields, President of the Liverpool Teachers' Association, who is a Catholic headmaster.
In his speech Archbishop Heenan called for:
1. More centres of higher education;
2. Improvement in teacher status and prestige, including the payment of " competitive salaries"; 3. The continued growth of parent-teacher associations; and 4. Immediate steps including daring improvisations. to meet the country's most urgent needs for University places.
Stressing the need for continued expenditure or, education, Arch. bishop Heenan, stated: "Too many politicians fail to see that, if we continue to fall behind other countries in education, the whole of our economy will suffer. Without more widespread opportunity, it will be impossible to hold our own in the world.
"Other nations," he added, "invest in education in the sure knowledge that it will produce dividends. If we continue to be neglectful now, we shall become culturally and economically bankrupt."
Archbishop Heenan described the prestige of the teaching profession as "the fundamental challenge." When teachers became as respected as scientists and industrialists, they would then be able to influence the politicians. When students at training colleges were of university standard. and when undergraduates looked up, not down, to teachers, the prestige of the profession would be assured.
Teachers, he added, should have a sense of vocation, and should also be avid readers. "If they never open a serious book or read educational journals, but take their ideas from TV and the popular press," he warned. "they must relapse into semi-illiteracy. A cultured mind becomes coarse if it is not nourished."
Archbishop Heenan supported the growing demands for an extension of fully-developed parentteacher contacts throughout the country. "Heroic efforts" from teachers would be needed to persuade parents of the value of their role.
The parents of most of our children had a poor education, and, for them, higher education
meant achieving through the famous "11-plus" the status of grammar school scholar. Remedying this situation often called for visitation of homes, and this "engaging of parental interest" was of much more value than rallies and leaflets.
" I know it is a hard and even a heart-breaking task to organise parents," the Archbishop commented. "These arc the people we must teach, for they can move politicians."
Calling for urgent measures to provide for "the thousands who will need and deserve university education during the next decade," Archbishop Heenan said that the key to the problem was improvisation.
"It should not be impossible," he suggested. "for a genius to plan the use of the same buildings at different times by two sets of undergraduates. University terms are short, and in any case, evening courses are not to be despised."
Tremendous sacrifices would have to be made. Scholars and scientists in industry would have to become part-time lecturers. "But," he stressed, "if this campaign is successful in firing the enthusiasm and imagination of citizens, wonders can be achieved."
Earlier, the Archbishop had criticised people for suggesting that the Government spent too much on defence and too little on the social services. " It is. of course, pitiful." he said, "that any community should have to spend so much of its resources on the means of destruction and leave itself too impoverished to house and educate its citizens. But the dull fact is that national defence is the Government's responsibility.
"Until, please God, universal disarmament comes," he added, "it is the plain duty of Governments to risk the accusation of wasteful expenditure rather than betray rational security."
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