Educational studies in the Scottish Universities : 1870-1970

Bell, Robert Elliott (1986). Educational studies in the Scottish Universities : 1870-1970. PhD thesis The Open University.



In 1876, after an enthusiastic campaign by the main teachers' organisation, Edinburgh and St. Andrews became the first English-speaking universities in the world to establish permanent chairs of Education. Half a century later Scotland became the first country in the British Isles to demand university graduation of all male and secondary teachers in the public sector, except for those involved in art, crafts and physical education. Yet by the 1970s the Education Departments in the Scottish Universities were considerably smaller than in most English universities and,indeed,St.Andrews had abandoned the study of Education altogether.

The thesis suggests that the primary reason for this course of events lay in the persistent refusal of the Scottish Education Department, except for a few years at the turn of the century ,to allow the universities any role in the professional, as opposed to the general higher education of teachers.

With the training role denied them, the universities had thus to seek other tasks in the field of Educational Studies, notably the teaching of a postgraduate honours degree, unique within Britain,the old Scottish Bachelor of Education. Established at the end of the first world war, this degree was also recognised as a professional qualification by the British Psychological Society and during the next fifty years it not only provided a major stimulus to the professional development of school-teachers, training college lecturers and educational administrators but also became a key factor in the development of mental testing and of the educational psychology service throughout the United Kingdom.

The final chapters of the thesis explore the· nature and teaching. If this degree along with the eventual career patterns of graduates. This exploration is based on the hitherto unpublished findings of a questionnaire survey and series of interviews carried out by the author during the late 1960s.

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