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Year of celebrations for EIS

A hundred and fifty years ago yesterday the resolution was passed which led to the setting up of the Educational Institute of Scotland in September 1847. Celebrations of the anniversary will culminate next September.

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the institute, announced yesterday that these are likely to include a major event in Edinburgh to which public figures and EIS members from all parts of the country will be invited, a conference which will survey changes in education over a century and a half, the commissioning of a new history of the institute, and a schools competition.

Mr Smith said: "We are anxious to involve pupils. Right from the outset the founding members recognised that the EIS was not just about teachers but every bit as much about the interests of young people. That is why I believe the major competition we intend to organise in primary and secondary schools is so important."

The first president of the institute was Leonard Schmitz, rector of the Royal High School in Edinburgh, now the intended site of a Scottish Parliament. He delivered the first presidential speech in his own school, and Mr Smith, referring to next year's general election and the possible setting up of a Parliament, commented: "I'm sure Mr Schmitz would be proud to see his old school being put to such good use."

* Young people throughout Scotland benefit from EIS sponsorship of the arts, Mr Smith said when he gave details of grants this session totalling Pounds 15,000 (0.5 per cent of members' subscriptions).

Projects assisted by EIS sponsorship include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for the opera Cake Talk, composed for its junior chorus; The Selfish Giant, a version of an Oscar Wilde story being presented to children with special needs; school visits to next year's Edinburgh Book Festival; and a training course for the Scottish National Association of Youth Theatre.

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