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Some National Problems of Today: Education, 18 Jan 1930

Identifier: Coll-1310/3/1/2/14

Scope and Contents

Thomson outlines some current problems in education, the most pressing of these arising from the raising of the school leaving age to 15. He briefly alludes to how the practical problems of the supply of specialist teachers and of buildings could meet the increased demand, before outlining his opinion on what secondary education should entail. He highlights the need for both vocational and cultural education in schools to ensure pupils of all abilities are prepared for the working world, whatever their profession or vocation.

Thomson dispels the belief that cultural education is superior to that of vocational, and stresses that the two should not be in competition with one another, giving examples from the Youth Movement in Germany and successful trade schools in Germany and America, and strongly advocating the need for industry and education to be in closer contact. However, he also emphasises the importance of culture to an individual as part of their leisure time and the character-training role of education, enabling future employees to become balanced, satisfied individuals, and in turn better and more co-operative members of society.

Equality is a pervading theme of the lecture, with Thomson stressing that exams, despite their pitfalls, eliminate nepotism. He discusses the positive implications of a common school for all which still makes provision for individual ability, giving examples from across continental Europe. He argues that society should continue to strive to ensure educational equality, even in the face of the differential birth rate.


  • Creation: 18 Jan 1930


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Delivered by Thomson at Dundee University College as part of the lecture series Some National Problems of Today.


1 typescript, 30pp

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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