§ MR. ROBERT WALLACE
I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education whether his attention has beeu called to a paragraph in The Westminster Gazette, in 1602 which it is alleged that myopia, or short sight, is greatly on the increase, being fostered by malnutrition, by working and sewing in badly-lighted and badly-ventilated schoolrooms, and by reading badly-printed books; whether he can say what progress has been made in this inquiry into the number of children compulsorily receiving education in a state of starvation or excessive hunger; and if he will inquire whether there is ground for believing that the existing conditions of school life are favourable to the increase of myopia, and take such steps as may be competent to him for checking the evil?
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Mr. ACLAND,) York, W.R., Rotherham
My attention has been called to the paragraph in question. The Department is doing its best to remove some of the alleged causes of short sight by insisting on improvements in ventilation and lighting where these are defective. A Circular shall be issued to the Inspectors, inviting their special attention to the question of badly-printed books. Some of the largest School Boards have been asked to give their opinion on the question of insufficient food and its effects on the educational progress of the children, and their answers may be expected shortly. I propose to make further inquiry, with the assistance of competent persons, into the question of defective vision in schools.