In March 1879 Ferry had introduced two bills on higher education. In effect, the first handed back to the University the sole direction of State education. It abolished the higher committee and its subsidiaries. The second bill, which reorganised higher education, was largely an institutional measure, but its seventh article was irrelevant to the bill and political in aim and character. It ran: ‘No person is permitted to direct a public or private establishment, of whatever kind it may be, or to teach, if he is a member of an unauthorised congregation.’ (This is the amended final text, not the original draft.) As Léon Blum remarked many years later: ‘It is difficult to see why this was inserted in a bill relating to higher education. By its own terms it in fact applied to all the teaching Orders whatever they might be, also in fact it aimed at and could only aim at secondary education…. Higher ecclesiastical education was ceasing to be dangerous, while the powerful congregations which practised primary education were authorised.’1
KeywordsFree School High Committee Municipal Council Original Draft Sole Direction
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