» Issue 29: Spring 2001

Letter from the Editor

Dear Members of the City & Guilds College Association

Edwin Way Teale wrote in 1951: "The world's favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." Let us hope this is true for both the Association and Imperial College, as there are great plans afoot this year to increase Imperial's claim to be a world class university, for excellence in Science, Medicine and Engineering.

In recent months, Imperial College has had a particularly high profile; the radio and newspapers are forever seeking the opinions, on topical problems, of lecturers and professors from the College. The British men's rowing VIII winning Gold at the Olympics was wonderful publicity both for Imperial and the Guilds, as two of the crew were engineers and another a zoologist. Their coach, too, was also a Guildsman, from the Management School. Then, more recently, the Imperial College team won the final of University Challenge against St John s College, Oxford, by 55 points.

When William Forster s Education Act was passed in 1870 for elementary education, the government allowed three farthings per child by comparison, Switzerland was spending 17 times as much. Gladstone became worried that the training of the workforce was being neglected. It was felt that the livery companies had a moral obligation to do something about this, so in 1878, The City & Guilds of London Institute was born. The intent was to establish a national system of education. The Institute believed passionately in the advantages of an objective e~ternal examination system, but the Board of Education questioned whether "a system of science examinations, conducted not by the teachers of the schools, but by an external body, had any claim to continued existence."

Soon standards began to fall and Industry became concerned and the CGLI was allowed to resume its examinations. The ACGI that it awards to City & Guilds College graduates is unique and highly prized. It is the magic ingredient that binds many of our ever-growing band of engineers into a strong nucleus. Let us work to support Imperial College in its new endeavours.

Yours sincerely

The Editor

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