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Sees Education Directed Toward Demands of War


In discussing the effect of the War on the English Universities in the current issue of the Alumni Bulletin, President Conant, fresh from his trip to England, shows that, although the War has lowered the average enrollment to about half its normal size, academic work has been intensified along certain lines to meet increasing demands from the country for skilled and trained men.

Oxford and Cambridge have suffered little or no damage from bombs, while other schools, especially London University, have been hit more frequently but not enough to stop research and schooling. Yet their curriculum has been considerably changed to meet the needs of wartime.

Many Exempted From Army

Before the War began Parliament proclaimed a list of "reserved occupations" considered vital for national defense, which exempted men engaged in these from military service above certain specified age limits. In this group were included architects, professors, school teachers, engineers, scientists, and medical men, whether students or practicing doctors, who were left free to train the young men coming along. In the past eighteen months this list has been drastically reduced and age limits have been raised, yet the urgent need for physicists and chemists has eased restrictions on them rather than tightened them.

Promising young men are hurried through their university training, one year for students in arts and letters, two for scientists, and three for future doctors, with military training four or five hours a week. Physicists and engineers are needed most at the present time and as a result many men in chemistry and biochemistry have momentarily turned their efforts to these fields to fill in the gaps as best as they can.

Non-War Research Ceased

To increase the speed of research and training young men coming up, all laboratories have been turned to war problems, and outside research has temporarily ceased. Also all these highly trained scientists have been put in a Central Register and thus subject to call by the Government for full time war work when needed. By this means the government is able to redistribute men to places where they are most needed in training students.

By means of this register and the "reserved occupations" list the government has mobilized the full scientific power of the country and kept men from wasting their knowledge as soldiers in uniform and creating an even greater shortage than now exists.

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