THAT fifteen thousand blue-books are annually consumed in the examinations of Harvard College is hardly an extravagant statement, and although the trouble and annoyance entailed by the blue-book system cannot be expressed in digits, it is none the less very great. Every one of these fifteen thousand books has to be bought by a student, carried to the recitation or a professor's room before a fixed date, looked over by the instructor, and arranged in proper alphabetical order in the examination-room. This certainly involves an amount of labor enormous in the aggregate, on the part of both students and instructors, and this burden has been greatly increased by the new rule requiring the delivery of blue-books to the instructor at least one day before the examination. We know of no reason for requiring the students to furnish the examination-books other than that arising from the aggregate expense (some $600 or $700, at retail rates), which would otherwise fall upon the College. Whether Harvard is able to stand an extra annual expense of $600, the Corporation knows better than we. We would suggest, however, that in case the Corporation do not feel justified in making this expenditure, the required number of blue-books should be purchased by the College, and a suitable extra charge be made on the termbills. The saving effected by purchasing the books at wholesale would certainly be sufficient to cover all clerical expenses. The instructor could then before an examination draw a suitable number of blue-books and distribute them in the examination-room, where the men could write their names upon them at the opening of the examination. By this means the instructors would be saved the trouble of making repeated requests to have the books handed in, and of examining and arranging them afterwards; the students would be free from the annoyance of obtaining and handing in blue-books, and from the danger of forgetfulness or neglect; while the expense would be, at the worst, no greater than at present. This is the plan adopted at most colleges, excepting that the college governments pay the expenses, and we see no reason why the present awkward and complicated system should be longer continued at Harvard.
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