A Celebration of Women Writers

"Education of Girls and Women in Glasgow." by Miss Janet A. Galloway.
Publication: Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed. The Congress of Women: Held in the Woman's Building, World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, U. S. A., 1893. Chicago, Ill: Monarch Book Company, 1894. pp. 337-341.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 337] 



As may be known to my audience, Glasgow is the commercial and industrial capital of Scotland, as Edinburgh is the historical and official capital. In some respects there is a resemblance between Chicago and Glasgow, though the latter is so much the smaller of the two cities, for it is a place of only about eight hundred thousand inhabitants. Like Chicago, one source of Glasgow's strength lies in its commerce and manufactures, and its position as a great center of trade, of export and import; and, like Chicago, it is also rapidly developing into a nucleus of intellectual activity and education, with its university and public schools and free education. The University of Glasgow has been in existence for several centuries, and has done good work. It has an average attendance of two thousand students. It has numbered many men of renown among its professors. In the present staff the name of Lord Kelvin, formerly Sir William Thomson, professor of natural history, is of world-wide reputation for his discoveries and his inventions, especially in connection with electricity and scientific instruments for marine purposes; and those of Principal John Caird, and his brother-professor Edward Caird, are well known in the domain of philosophical thought and research; and those of professors Gardner, MacEweln and McKendrick for eminence in medical, surgical and physiological science. But it is only quite recently that free education has been established, and it is still but a short way beyond what might be called the experimental stage.

The education of girls in Glasgow can be given on three different lines–those of the board school, the endowed school and the private or proprietary school. Of course some girls are educated at home by private governesses, but the number of these is so small as scarcely to require separate mention.

For board or public school purposes, Glasgow is divided into two districts, one being Glasgow proper, with a population of about one hundred thousand children (97,108) of school age, the other being Govan, with about twenty thousand children. These public schools work under the act of parliament passed August, 1872, by the name of the Scottish Education Act, the chief object of which was to exchange the denominational system, which existed until then, for a really national system of education. It established in every parish and borough in Scotland a popularly elected school board, the principal duties devolving on which are the provision of sufficient school accommodations, the imposition and levying of tax payable by householders under the name of school rate, and the management of all schools supported by that rate [Page 338]  within the respective school board districts. School boards must also see that all children of school age residing within their districts receive at least elementary education, even if it be necessary to use compulsion to secure their attendance at school.

The number of ordinary public schools under the Glasgow Board is sixty-seven (67), with a staff of 780 teachers fully qualified (342 masters and 438 mistresses), and 595 assistants, besides pupil teachers and monitors. Under the Govan Board there are nineteen (19) schools. A child beginning her education enters first the infant department, receiving kindergarten instruction and lessons in elementary reading and spelling, class singing, arithmetic and drawing; efforts are made to train the senses and the memory, to form in the child habits of attention, and to cultivate her intelligence and physical powers, besides preparing her for more advanced work. She then on through the six successive "standards" or grades of work, which constitute the primary school, and at the end of this course she is expected to be proficient in reading arid writing, in composition, and in arithmetic as far as compound proportion, vulgar and decimal fractions, and simple interest. In the upper standards special subjects are added, such as geography, history, needlework, drawing and elementary science. After the fifth standard is passed the choice of specific subjects is enlarged, and a girl can receive instruction in domestic economy, including cookery; French and Latin and Greek and German; mathematics, physical geography, physiology, etc., taking such of them as her teacher may consider advisable. Some, but not all, of the schools under the board (Glasgow) give secondary education, and at the end of a course given there, a pupil may be examined for the Leaving Certificate, either in the lower or the higher grade, or in honors. The subjects included in this examination are English, with modern history; geography, French, German, Latin, Greek, mathematics and bookkeeping with commercial arithmetic, from which the pupil can choose. The examinations are general and not on prescribed books. The Leaving Certificate has been hitherto accepted by some universities (including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St. Andrews), and also by the general Medical Council and some other bodies, in lieu of such preliminary examinations as are held under their directions.

Should a girl attending the public schools not be able to take the full course of instruction in the usual classes on account of being obliged to discontinue her attendance during the day in order to engage in business pursuits, she can take evening classes after she has passed the sixth standard. These are held in twenty-four of the Glasgow Board schools, and include ordinary commercial art and science subjects. In these the courses are arranged to extend over four years, but the scholars may spread their classes over a longer period, if they find it necessary to do so. The school board awards special certificates to the students who complete these courses. For evening instruction, as well as for the special subjects taught in day schools after the sixth standard, a small fee is payable; but so very ample provision of bursaries is made by the Educational Endowment Board that no child of average intelligence need have any difficulty in obtaining such a bursary as will practically assure for her a free education.

If a girl requires to be trained as a teacher under the school board, the usual course is to begin as a pupil teacher or monitor. There are employed in the schools of the Glasgow Board three hundred and eighty-eight pupil teachers. They have to be apprenticed as pupil teachers, and to take a course of instruction lasting over four years (or it may be less, if they have taken the Leaving Certificate) in the Pupil Teachers' Institute, receiving at least twelve hours' instruction per week during the first three years. The subjects taught are most of those taken up in the higher school classes, but given with a view to teaching purposes; also instruction in school management. At the same time they serve as teachers in the board schools, giving instruction to the younger children, for, on an average, of about twenty-two hours per week during their four years' apprenticeship, receiving payment for their services at the rate of from forty to one hundred dollars for from the first to the fourth year. [Page 339]  Yearly examinations are held during these four years. At the end of their apprenticeship they are examined by the government inspector for admission to the Normal schools. If successful in passing, the candidates receive a further course of instruction in the schools named, continuing over two years, which includes school management and other subjects, and after their final examination they are available for a situation as assistant teachers in board or other schools.

Of endowed schools there were a considerable number in Glasgow previous to 1882. But as these had chiefly been founded by private benefactors in order to provide for the education of poor children, under various conditions specified by the founders, and as the institution of the school board had made the existence of these unnecessary, an act of parliament was passed in 1882, entitled the Educational Endowments (Scotland) Act, appointing commissioners to review all these foundations, and to make arrangements for the alteration or abolition of many of the schools, and the application of most of the money bequeathed to them to the purposes of education in the shape of bursaries and scholarships. One large bequest, however, remained, that under the Hutchesons' "Trust," which was too large to be abolished, and for it the commissioners formulated a new scheme, appointing a board of governesses, to be elected by various public bodies, and making regulations for the continued existence of two schools, one for boys and one for girls. They also fixed the amount of the fees to be charged, and the subjects to be taught, and made provision for the remission of the very moderate fees in the case of two hundred "foundationers," and for the maintenance and the clothing of a few of them, besides offering a number of free scholarships and bursaries for secondary and higher education to be held in the schools; also for some bursaries for university and higher education in other institutions. The staff of the girls' school consists of a head master and twelve men and fifteen women teachers, and the organization comprises a preparatory school and a higher school. A girl can enter the preparatory school at the age of seven, and can continue her education after passing from it to the higher school until the age of eighteen or nineteen. The course of instruction begins at the stage that corresponds with the school board's 'standard two,' extends over nine years, and is divided into two parts of almost equal duration, the plan of study for the first five years being divided with a view to laying a solid basis for the higher work which the school makes its special province. Besides the usual branches of an English education a special study is made of modern languages, a three years course of oral instruction in French, and a two years' course in German, given in the preparatory school, followed up by further continuous study of both in the higher school, and mathematics, drawing and science also receive special attention. The pupils of the higher classes are prepared for the government Leaving Certificate, and those who intend to adopt teaching as their profession have, if they so desire, opportunities of becoming acquainted with the organization of the whole school, and of handling various classes under the criticism and guidance of the head master. The yearly fees range from twelve dollars and fifty cents in the lowest class of the preparatory school to forty dollars in the first or students' class of the higher school; but after the bursary system was established fee-payers in the higher class became gradually fewer, until now the two highest classes contain none but scholars and bursars.

Private or proprietary schools are numerous in Glasgow and of considerable variety as to grades of instruction and fees, some being for kindergarten work and young children only, others carrying their pupils up to preparation for university classes. These are much more expensive than the public schools, and much smaller, but they are preferred by some parents as giving more attention to manners and individual training than it is possible to expect in a large public school. Some of them have a master at the head of the school, others a mistress; there is generally a staff of visiting teachers, chiefly masters, and a staff of governesses, who remain during the whole of the school day. There is, however, especially one exception in Glasgow to this general rule, viz., a girls' school worked by a company of shareholders, many of whom are parents of the pupils being educated there. This school is taught entirely by ladies. [Page 340] 

As regards higher education, a girl on leaving school can continue her work along various lines. For higher instruction in art provision is made in several institutions, the principal of which is the Government School of Design. There she can either prepare herself for work as an artist, or learn designing of patterns for textile fabrics, or architectural, mechanical, engineering or other drawing, ceramic painting, modeling, etc. Domestic arts can be learned in the School of Cookery, which includes also a school for laundry and other household work; and there are a variety of classes for dressmaking and millinery on different systems. The West of Scotland Technical College provides instruction for women as for men in many scientific and practical subjects.

University education for women is given by the University of Glasgow in its department for women. Queen Margaret College and the various university degrees are open to women as to men, the same subjects of instruction and examination being given to both sexes, and the same degrees conferred. This, however, is a concession which was made by parliament in the summer of 1892. Previous to that time no degree of any Scottish university would be conferred on a woman, nor could the universities provide for her instruction.

To meet the desire of women for higher education, while waiting for the often asked for, but not then granted, opening of the universities, associations for the higher education of women were formed in the different university towns. In Glasgow one was founded in 1877. Before that date some of the professors of the universities had from time to time given short courses of lectures to women in public halls, etc., but in that year a full organization was formed and classes were held in connection with it on university subjects, taught by university professors and graduates, some of the courses of lectures being given in the university and others in rooms rented for the purpose outside. After six years of existence this association was incorporated as Queen Margaret College, the name being taken from Queen Margaret of Scotland, the first patroness in Scotland of literature and art. A suitable building with extensive grounds was presented to the college by Mrs. Elder, widow of John Elder, a well-known engineer and shipbuilder, on condition that $100,000 should be raised as an endowment. These buildings have since been considerably increased by the addition of science laboratories, etc., and are situated about ten minutes' walk from the university. And by donations from various residenters in Glasgow and its neighborhood, with the addition of a bazaar which brought in about $55,000, the cost of these new buildings was met, and an endowment fund of upward of $125,000 was collected.

From its incorporation in 1883 the college went on gradually building up on university lines. By degrees a full curriculum in arts, including modern languages, was established, with courses of lectures of the same scope and length (one hundred lectures each) as those of the university for the master of arts degree; then several classes were instituted; and in 1890 a school of medicine for women was added to the college, which is now complete as to classes, hospital and dispensary work, the same as those provided for men at the university. The lecturers were university professors or graduates, the dean of the medical school being a university professor (Prof. Young, M.D.), and the fees and regulations were the same as those of the university. When, therefore, in 1889, the act of parliament was passed, called the Universities (Scotland) Act, which appointed commissioners to revise and alter where necessary the constitution and regulations of the Scottish universities, and when the ordinance of those commissioners was published, in 1892, which permitted the universities to provide for the education of women and to admit them to the degrees, Queen Margaret College was in a position both as to nature and completeness of the courses it offered to its students, and as to the state of the buildings and endowment fund, to offer itself to the university to become university property, to be taken under the government of the university and to be especially recognized as giving preparation for the degrees. On this offer being made by the council of the college it was accepted by the university, which accordingly adopted Queen Margaret College as its department for women. [Page 341]  The college is now governed entirely by the university court and senate, and all its lecturers are appointed by the court. The average number of students in the college is about two hundred, of whom about fifty are in the medical school. They receive full preparation for the university degrees in arts, science and medicine.

The course of work for the master of arts degree, after the preliminary examination (preparation for which usually occupies one or two additional years) has been passed, takes three years, and duration of study is the same for the degree of bachelor of science; the degree of doctor of science can only be taken five years after that of bachelor of science, after further study and examination. The course of study after the preliminary examination for bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery is of five years' duration, and the degree of doctor of medicine and master of surgery can only be taken after two years' further study, after the bachelor degree has been obtained.

The women students of the University of Glasgow do not study with the men students, having their classes in their own college, but they are examined together.

A woman can thus now in Glasgow obtain a full university education, and has every facility for preparing herself for her life-work, whether for a professional career as a teacher, a literary woman, a scientist or a doctor, or for home life–to which she will bring the culture and the large and practical views derived from a university education. The progress made in Scotland in general, and in Glasgow in particular, in educational matters during the last few years has been great, and still goes on. And although in the old country we do not move so rapidly as in the new, the movement continues, if slowly yet surely–the New World and the Old advancing hand in hand and working together in the great field of intellectual progress and culture.

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Miss Janet A. Galloway was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland. Her parents were Mr. Alexander Galloway and Mrs. Anne Bald Galloway. She was educated partly in Scotland, but chiefly in England, Brussels and Dresden. She has traveled over Great Britain and Ireland, and France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark, Sweden and part of the United States of America, including the Eastern States, Pennsylvania, Illinois and North Carolina. Her special work has been in the interest of the higher education of women. Her profession is that of Honorary (i.e., unpaid) Secretary of Queen Margaret College University at Glasgow. In religious faith Miss Galloway is a member of the English Church, the Episcopalian. Her postoffice address is Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, Scotland.


Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This chapter has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.
Initial text entry and proof-reading of this chapter were the work of volunteer
Mary Hitchcock.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom