A New Overseas Problem
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 8 Nov 1917, p. 14-24
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A New Overseas Problem

What may be done to assist our soldiers overseas through an educational programme. The speaker, sent overseas by the Y.M.C.A. for a close and intimate study of this question. The speaker's experience and findings. Reasons the speaker found that such a programme might be successful. A plan, divided into two parts: one dealing with the present hour, another with the great demobilization period. Organizational details "for the present hour." Finding people willing and able to teach in the spare hours of the men. Planning a curriculum based on the mens' interests. Material planned to go through the whole of the coming winter. Arrangements made for group study courses for the men, relating these group studies to historical subjects. Finding an interest of a semi-academic nature, and providing for it. Libraries and inter-library loans established in the camps. Discussion with the mean about their future life in Canada. Determining subjects to be organized for study during the demobilization period. Recommendations made to the Board of the Y.M.C.A. to undertake to plan an institution of learning in one army camp during the demobilization period; to try to get permission of the army authorities to bring to that camp during that period the men who would undertake intensive study; that there be a plan to carry on the equivalent of an extension department of a great modern University, reaching out to every camp in England, giving an opportunity for the vast mass of the men to get the benefit of a more general instruction than that which will be given in the more central and highly organized camp; that there also be established an Agricultural College there. Confidence in, and rationale for, such a programme. The speaker's plan to organize for the express purpose of bringing these men to such a state of mind during the demobilization period that when they come home, they will be content to go forward with the very thing that they originally intended. Further recommendations made by the speaker, including the establishment of a Business College, a department in every camp such as those found in Universities, to carry out a series of lectures dealing with problems like the British Empire, our own Canadian economic problems, social betterment, agricultural reconstruction, etc.; an organization for men who want to take up religious studies; that the whole matter be laid before the Universities of Canada, and organize a Board of Management representing the Universities and the Y.M.C.A.; that we make this a great educational scheme; that the Universities be made responsible for it in an important sense. Commitments made since the speaker's return. First steps to be taken to fulfil these recommendations. The scheme fairly launched. Pride in our men in France. Staying united in hand and heart till we see the finish of the War; then taking up the work of progress and establishing our liberty on a higher plane.