That the broadening of education is one of the most vital problems which confronts the world today is the firm belief of Professor Levy-Bruhl, French Exchange Professor at the University. As France has suffered most in the war, so has it learned the most, and it is from the standpoint of this new enlightenment of France that Professor Levy-Bruhl speaks.
"The war has shown to France," he said in an interview yesterday, "that education, if it is to be of the greatest good, must be widely diffused among every class represented in the nation. University training must cease to be the privilege of any single group of society and become the common property of all.
"To make university instruction a democratic institution and still to maintain it at its present high level is the chief difficulty in the broadening of education. France is now seeking the means whereby it can open the doors of the university to all men worthy of entrance and able to profit thereby.
France Attacking Problem.
"Whether this should be accomplished by the means of scholarships, by government aid, or in some other way, France has not yet decided but the ablest men of the country are now at work on the problem. The war taught France that education has passed from a luxury into a necessity. When early in the war, thousands of our officers were killed, we were forced to call on men from civil life and, naturally those best educated, best filled the gap.
"In the time of reconstruction at hand today, France must make the most of the slender stock that is left her. We must start afresh to fill the depleted ranks of our scientists and scholars and we must choose as broad and firm a foundation as possible. Every child in France should have an opportunity to make the most of its latent possibilities.
"Hereafter, also, there will be a greater importance attached to the study of social questions. Social economy and kindred subjects will assume far larger proportions than hitherto. All that pertains to society should be considered as a field of objective research for science.
Fewer Lectures in France
"I have also felt a certain tendency in France lately," continued Professor Levy Bruhl, "to reduce the number of lecture courses and to devote more time to the individual. The student should have an opportunity to talk with his instructor and to learn at first hand the answers to the questions that trouble him. In this closer relationship, there is much to be gained both by pupil and teacher.
Asked as to the value of the psychological tests that have recently been substituted at some universities for the customary entrance examination, Professor Levy-Bruhl was doubtful as to whether they could replace the present system. "I am skeptical as to the worth of this change," he said, "but we must wait until more complete records of the results are issued before we judge them too harshly.
"In France," he concluded, "the students are only now coming back to the universities and one cannot yet say definitely as to the extent of the changes the war has wrought but that education has cased to be a class privilege can no longer be doubted."