Andrew Bell - A Famous Scottish Missionary and Educationist
Andrew Bell (1753 - 1832) became an Anglican clergyman and in1789 went to Madras to run the East India Company's school for orphans. To overcome the acute shortage of teachers he applied the mutual tuition system which had already been tried out in the poorer areas of London. The boys were divided into groups which were taught by the clever or senior boys. The master then concerned himself with supervising and teaching these monitors, and could thus control a class of several hundred pupils.
On his return to England Bell published his views in An Experiment in Education in1797. The same ideas had also been developed by Joseph Lancaster, a Quaker. The system was widely adopted in Europe and America. Bell and Lancaster were friendly for some years, but later diverged over the question of religious control in schools.Bell became involved in the denominational disputes, believing that the local clergy should control the schools set up to educate the poor to certain minimal standards.
To this end he used the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor. Despite the obvious drawbacks of the monitorial system. Bell's ideas and the National Society did something to help the education of the poor, partly by stirring the British public conscience over the complete lack of any system of general education at that time.