France began to plan and legislate for the training of her haudworkers centuries ago.
The forerunner of the trade school began in 1799, but the great development of the subject has been during the last quarter of a century, following the French Exposition of 1878. The number of such schools receiving help from the government increased from 48 in 1880 to 292 in 1904. France appreciates that her industrial success depends on the education of her work men, hence the government takes a direct part in developing the system of trade instruction. Schools are provided to teach all grades of workers from the semi-skilled artisan in the ordinary trades to the engineer for the more ad vanced scientific and technical work. Trade training is always founded directly on primary education, design is considered fundamental and a large amount of shop work of a practical nature is given.
Manual apprenticeship schools have been organized to give boys instruction in their chosen industry or to fit them for the secondary technical schools. There are four national trade schools (ecoles nationales profession nelles), situated at Nantes, Vier zon and Voiron, and 32 practical commercial and industrial schools (ecoles pratiques de commerce et d'industrie), 26 for boys which are situated in various parts of France, and six for girls at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Havre, Marseilles, Nantes, Rouen and Saint Etienne. In addition to these, the municipalities of important cities have established schools for the elementary teaching of trades, industries and arts. Reli gious bodies, societies, business enterprises and private individuals, encouraged by the success of the national and municipal schools, have like wise organized instruction for the improvement of the artisan.
Government control requires that the schools receiving subsidies should all conform to certain requirements. The Practical School of Indus try at Saint Etienne (ecole pratique d'indus trie) may be taken as a type of these institu tions. The trades of weaving, modeling in wood, machine fitting, cabinetmaking, electricity and gunmaking are taught here. The work is on an elaborate scale, the course being four years in length. The first year is preparatory and completes the student's primary education while also giving him shop practice of various kinds to discover his aptitude for any trade.
During the next three years he studies his trade practically and theoretically, and continues his general education which is closely adapted to his trade needs. Here, as in other schools, much emphasis is laid upon the study of art.
The greatest and most progressive system of municipal trade schools is in Paris. The Diderot School was the first one organized, hav ing been established in 1872 for wood and metal work. The courses are three years in length, entrance being by examination. Practical work occupies the greater part of the day, hut consid erable time is given to drawing and theoretical instruction. By an ingenious arrangement a first-year student is put between a second and third year student that he may profit by their experience. Apprenticeship is made less of a tax on the city from the fact that the products of the classes are sold. The Boulle School trains skilled artisans and mechanics in wood and metal. The furniture construction is justly noted. The products are artistic as design is especially emphasized. The course is.five years in length, primary academic instruction, trade work, technical art and a scientific course being included in its curriculum. Schools of printing and publishing, applied physics and chemistry, industrial art and industrial drawing are Aso supported by the municipality of Paris.
There are six munidpal trade schools for girls in Paris. The instruction includes art, academic work and the chosen trade, and the courses are either three or four years in length. The trades taught are similar to those in Bel gian trade schools for girls. The aim is to educate for a trade, to develop the intelligence of the workers, and to teach them to be self reliant and resourceful. The French schools execute practical order work in their depart ments, and every trade school in Paris has its clientele. The model for these municipal schools is the private school begun in 1864 by Elisa Lernonnier. There are two of the Lemon nier schools in Paris at the present time. They offer courses of four or five years' in length.
The training for girls in the practical schools of commerce and industry (mentioned above) is similar to that offered in the Paris municipal schools. Schools are also organized which offer both home-malcing and trade. These are well patronized as many women de sire both subjects.