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THE TUTORIAL SYSTEM AGAIN

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Discussion of the application of the English tutorial system to Harvard, originating this time with a body of undergraduates and not with the faculty, has once more assumed prominence in University affairs. The Harvard Educational Society, unfortunately so entitled because of its likely confusion with the new School of Education, has been organized among members of the Junior class with the avowed purpose of stimulating interest in the introduction of the tutorial plan into every department of the college. The association will open its active campaign of publicity with a meeting in the Union Thursday evening at which the English university system will be explained by Professor Merriman, and the society will submit plans for further action.

A printed outline of the changes which the new society proposes has been sent to every member of the class of 1922. This draft, it is to be supposed, is only a working basis, upon which general discussion may be based, and from which, as a point of departure, desired reforms may be instituted.

Examination of the scheme as proposed in the circular would certainly lead one to hope that no general agitation for the acceptance of the plan as it now stands will be started. While the spirit behind the suggestions is undoubtedly earnest, there are flaws which would make the scheme as a whole unwieldy if not impossible.

One such defect is the proposal of having two parallel complete systems of education at Harvard, the present system and one based on what the supporters of the Educational Association would term the English system. Such a duplication of effort would be impossible to maintain at any University. A second, and more surprising fault is the expression of opposition to a scheme whereby tutors may grade the examination papers of their own pupils. No such scheme exists at Harvard now, or ever did, so far as can be ascertained.

One outstanding proposal contained in the circular is worthy of universal support at the University and of speedy acceptance by the Faculty; the proposal of requiring students who are working under the tutorial plan and taking general examinations to assume during the last two years of their stay a minimum of three courses instead of the present four. The first years, it is rightly stated, are spent chiefly in the distribution of studies and the process of settling into the life of the college. The last two are spent in preparation for honors or general examinations. The superimposition without extra credit of much reading under a tutor makes proper attention to regular courses difficult.

The merit of this manner of reducing required course-work in the Junior and Senior years is highly commendable. Other points suggested by the association are worthy of discussion. The fact that students, as well as their instructors, are taking an active interest in the betterment of the present system is encouraging, and should meet with support from undergraduates and consideration on the part of the Faculty.

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