The educational role of the Canterbury inspectorate, 1877-1916.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
School inspectors were key figures in the development of education in New Zealand. This thesis is a study of the North and South Canterbury inspectorate from the establishment of a national system of primary education in 1877 to the transfer of the inspectorate from Board to Department control in 1916. It focusses on the inspectors' professional role rather than attempting a group biography. This thesis argues that the four decades of the inspectorate's history fell into three distinct periods, characterised by turmoil in the first, stability in the second and rapid change in the third. The kinds of men considered suitable for holding inspectorships changed in each period. Inspectors were uniquely placed to influence educational policy and their two annual visits to each school, for inspection and examination, enabled them to see it implemented in the classroom. Despite the intention that Board inspectors would carry out the wishes of the central Department, a legislative anomaly allowed them to interpret Departmental regulations as they saw fit. Foucault's ideas of disciplinary power through hierarchical observation and normalising jUdgement provide a framework for locating inspectors within the education system. In their role as annual examiners 3 they were unwilling agents of disciplinary power, resisting the Department's measurement of educational success solely through examination statistics. Yet their annual unannounced visit to each school, their close inspection of the teacher's records and of the school's tone, discipline and cleanliness, brought both children and teachers firmly within an extensive and permanent field of surveillance. This thesis examines these two aspects of the inspectors' role in detail. It describes their ideas of reasonable efficiency in teaching and the preparation and continuing education of teachers. It explores their role in creating a safe and healthy educational environment for training intelligent and loyal citizens. And it analyses their success in guiding the educational development of their districts.