Old news from Armidale and New England

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Drummond / Davies spat, part 4

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Saturday 31 October 1931, The Sydney Morning Herald

Building Policy.

“Mr. Drummond, M.L.A., ex-Minister for Education, in his reply to my remarks regard, ing his building policy during the period of his administration of this department, is rather naive and unconvincing,” said the Minister for Education (Mr. Davies) yesterday. “The largest proportion of the money expended on building requirements by Mr. Drummond was not for much-needed primary school purposes but was wasted on High and Intermediate High school buildings. We have the spectacle of dwindling fourth and fifth year classes in High schools-in some cases less than a dozen students taught by high-salaried teachers.

“There has been too much money spent on High school buildings, under Mr. Drummond’s ‘vigorous’ policy. I have a case in mind, which came under my personal observation, where a new High school building, on a new site, was erected at a cost of £8500. That building is half empty, and the needs of the children could have been adequately met by the provision of two additional classrooms, as an extension of the existing school block, at a cost of about £1000, thereby saving £7500 of the taxpayers’ money.

“Mr. Drummond, in defence of his policy, refers to the annual increase in enrolments of 7000, or a total of 21,000, during his term. As a matter of fact, the number is 16,000 in this year alone. Mr. Drummond thanks me for my further advertisement of the Armidale Teachers’ Training College. If he is proud of that kind of advertisement, I am sure no one wishes to share it with him, and he may participate in more of it if he so desires.

“He mentions that the Sydney Teachers’ College was overcrowded, which was the reason for placing a white elephant at Armidale. The position is that there will be 565 students coming out of the two colleges at the end of this year, and we do not know what to do with them. Without any undue hardship to the teaching service, we could carry on , without admitting one new student to either the Sydney or the Armidale teachers’ colleges next year, so that Mr. Drummond’s £100,000 spent at Armidale could have been much better distributed in providing accommodation for children in primary schools, who have been forced in consequence of that wasted expenditure to herd on school verandahs, draughty corridors – sometimes two on one chair – and to utilise other temporary expedients.”

Written by macalba

May 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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