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«The International Institute of Teacher’s College, Columbia University The INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE of Teachers College, Columbia University, was ...»

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The educational system of the Jesuits in Hungary, as in the other countries of Europe, was governed by the Ratio Studiorum (1599). Their Gymnasium consisted of three classes of grammar, one of humanities, and one of rhetoric. This was followed in the higher institutions by a three-year course in philosophy.

Elementary education was not embraced by them; where an elementary course preparatory to the Gymnasium was included, this was conducted by a lay teacher. In the Gymnasium, apart from religion, Latin was taught almost exclusively, especially with an emphasis on formal rhetoric. The speaking and writing of good Latin was the chief task of instruction. Of the classical writers, therefore, Cicero stood in the foreground. Selections were read from Caesar, Sallust, Livy, and Curtius; of the poets, from Vergil, Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius. Apart from Latin, the rudiments of mathematics were taught and, beginning with the eighteenth century, even biblical and ancient history.

Hungarian history had no place in their educational system.

The Greek tongue generally received little attention. An important method was the spirit of competition. The production of dramas by students also played an important part in their teaching.

In the latter part of the seventeenth century there rapidly spread in Hungary another order—that of the Piarists, devoted exclusively to education (Scholae Piae). There was a time when the Piarists taught in nearly thirty Gymnasiums and also engaged in elementary education. They laid greater stress upon the teaching of practical subjects than did the Jesuits. They even entered into professional training. In the middle of the eighteenth century they were to be found in the first agricultural school, the Collegium Oeconomicum of Szempc, teaching bookkeeping and economics.

A decisive moment in the development of Hungarian education


was the great endowment made in 1653 by Peter Pázmány, Archbishop of Esztergom and leader of the Counter-Reformation, for the establishment at Nagyszombat of a university under the control of Jesuits. Ferdinand II invested the university with the same privileges as were enjoyed by the German universities. To the Faculties of Theology and Philosophy endowed by Pázmány there was added a Faculty of Law (in 1667), mainly through the efforts of Prelates Lósy and Lippay. Maria Theresa completed the university in 1769 by the addition of a Faculty of Medicine and in 1777 removed it from Nagyszombat to Buda, the capital of the country; from there Joseph II transferred it to Pest (in 1784). After the plan of the University of Nagyszombat another university was established in 1657 at Kassa, again under the control of Jesuits; but this became extinct in 1773.


Protestants also had institutions of higher learning. In 1531 a Protestant college was established at Sárospatak, another at Kolozsvár in 1581, and again another at Debrecen in 1588.

Gabriel Bethlen, prince of Transylvania, in 1629 founded a college at Gyulafehérvár, to which he invited as professors Martin Opitz, John Henrik Aisted, Henrik Bisterfeld, and Louis Piscater, all from Germany. The Lutherans founded a college at Eperjes in 1667. All these institutions also taught theology.

Although Protestant schools were often hindered in their work by the innumerable anti-Protestant edicts and persecutions by the Catholic sovereigns, they nevertheless preserved their vitality for Hungarian culture even amidst persecutions and religious wars.

The educational system of several larger Protestant schools served as a model for their smaller Latin schools. The Lutherans had such model schools at Eperjes, Pozsony, and Sopron, while the Reformed Church had such schools at Sárospatak, Debrecen, and Nagyenyed. Each had its own peculiar individuality. The pivot of their educational program was Latin grammar and rhetoric; they also taught Greek and even Hebrew. Of the more practical subjects only the rudiments of arithmetic were taught at first, but later some of the schools paid more attention to geography and the natural sciences. Beginning with the eighteenth century world history, Hungarian history began to find a place in the curriculum.


The Moravian Comenius, who taught at Sárospatak for four years (1650-1654), had a significant influence on Hungarian Protestant schools. Under the title Illustris Patakianae Scholae Idea he developed plans for the reorganization of the school at N Sárospatak. The three lower grades of this' newly organized school opened in 1651; the higher grades, however, in which the pansophic educational theory of Comenius might have been realized, never came into being. It was here that among other things Comenius wrote his textbook, the Orbis Sensualium Pictus, in which he endeavoured to represent by pictures all those things which the scholar could not see in actuality. He inculcated into Hungarian minds his fundamental conception of national schools, that is, public schools using the mother tongue and ignoring the Latin language altogether. He urged the teaching of practical subjects in the schools. The Latin textbooks that he wrote, were used in the Protestant schools of Hungary for a hundred years.

Contemporaneously with Comenius in the middle of the seventeenth century lived John Csere de Apáczai, a brilliant Hungarian scholar, who evolved plans for the reform of the educational system. He desired to elevate Hungarian culture by a better training of the younger generation, for he believed that culture was the principal source of the power of liberty and politics. He considered the number of the village schools for peasants too small. Education in the Gymnasium, he thought, revolved in a dry and spiritless way about mere words and not actualities. Grammar consumed all the energies of the student.

Not only mathematics and physics, but even literature and history were lacking in Hungarian schools. He urged textbooks in the Hungarian rather than in the Latin language. Trained in the universities of Holland, Apáczai particularly lamented the complete absence of technical sciences in Hungary. One of the greatest shortcomings of the country's culture, he believed, was the lack of a complete university, on account of which Hungarian scholars were forced to study abroad. In the interests of a university, Apáczai in 1658 sent a memorandum to Prince Barcsay and presented detailed plans for a complete university.

It was Apáczai who first sketched a logical Hungarian educational system that was to cover the whole range from the grade school to the university.



EDUCATIONIS OF 1777 The systematization of Hungarian education on the basis of a definite theory, however, was delayed by the continual Turkish wars and national uprisings and did not receive consideration until the second half of the eighteenth century.

Already at the opening of the eighteenth century the idea appeared that the state should exercise influence upon the direction of public education. The laws of 1715 and 1723 expressed this idea by declaring the royal right of supervision over schools.

This right of supervision in practice, however, did not influence the development of schools very profoundly until the spirit of the age and necessity had brought about the actual realization of the principle of state education. The state reorganization of education, above all, may be attributed to the great pedagogical enthusiasm of the eighteenth century, which so staunchly believed in the power of education. The enlightened absolutism of Maria Theresa and Joseph II, like that of Frederick the Great and the Russian Empress Catherine, desired to produce obedient and useful subjects through an educational system sponsored entirely by the state. The disbanding of the Jesuits in 1773 made nation-wide reorganization of education by the state particularly necessary. Thus in 1777 appeared the first comprehensive and royally sanctioned code of Hungarian education under the title The System of Education and Complete Instruction in Hungary and Incorporated Provinces (Ratio Educationis Totiusque Rei Literariae per Regnum Hungáriáé et Provincias Eidem Adnexas. Tomus I. Vindobonae. MDCCLXXVII. 496 p.) It is surprising that this epoch-making work, being an organic and original synthesis of the pedagogical movements in Europe at that time and for its age really unexampled, is to this day absolutely unknown abroad despite the fact that it appeared in Latin. It is the more surprising since there was not a country at that time in Europe which possessed such a universal and unified textbook code of education. The influences of the old Jesuit system, of Locke and Rousseau, of the French enlightenment, and especially of the Philanthropinists may be detected upon it; however, in the reorganization of the country's educational system the authors of the Ratio used these Western ideas


–  –  –






and endeavours at reform with such uniform harmony that their work may be regarded as an original and organic structure.

The Ratio Educationis consists of three parts. The first has to do with the administration and material needs of schools.

The second, which is the most extensive, gives the curricula for the various types of schools and also includes instructions regarding methods of teaching. The third part deals with the discipline and supervision of schools.

The school system is so constructed that each type of school is organically built upon the one lower. The lowest type is the elementary school, which may be located in a village, small town, or larger town and accordingly may have one, two, or three teachers. Upon that the three-graded grammar school is built, and this is followed by the Gymnasium with two grades. Those finishing five grades of the secondary school are eligible to courses in philosophy and later on in law at the royal academies.

The culmination of this entire system is the royal university.

The significance of the Ratio Educationis becomes clear only when we examine the underlying principles on the basis of which it attempts for the first time to regulate Hungarian education on a national scale. The first principle for all schools in the country, either Catholic or Protestant, is systematic state supervision in the matter of a uniform curriculum, methods of teaching, administration, and discipline. The control of these is put into the hands of the royal directors, whose number is nine. Such a regulation of education, binding upon all subjects of the crown alike irrespective of denomination or nationality, is looked upon by enlightened absolutism as an absolute sovereign right. This enlightened spirit of the eighteenth century manifests itself in the stipulation that students of any religion are permitted to attend the royal Gymnasiums, academies, and university, where they are to be treated without regard to their denomination, since they are all subjects of one king and citizens of one country.

The second underlying principle of this enlightenment is that of utilitarianism, which is to be detected throughout all the measures of the Ratio. For the various classes of schools it sets forth a curriculum, which has bearing upon the future life of the students, and such studies as will be useful. For this reason the Ratio greatly extends the field of cultural subjects and broadens the curriculum upon an encyclopedic basis. The curriculum emHISTORICAL· DEVELOPMENT 11 braces every possible subject which may at any time be useful to the scholar. The secondary school, for example, besides religion, Latin, universal and national history and geography, natural sciences, physics and mathematics, teaches bookkeeping, natural rights and laws, and practical logic, and provides for the reading of newspapers. In the course of philosophy, which is ηολν equivalent to the two upper grades of the secondary school, very specialized instruction in rural economics was planned. The Instructions for the teaching of the various subjects everywhere make special mention of the practical use which each subject is to serve.

Although the Ratio inserts a great amount of scientific and technical material into the curriculum, nevertheless comparatively little of it is included in actual school life, since there is neither the teacher nor the means. Thus the curriculum of the secondary schools and the philosophy courses continued to exhaust itself mainly with instruction in Latin, the purpose of which is entirely guided by its worth for practical living. The Ratio time and again emphasizes the principle that the chief aim of the Latin schools is to produce efficient officials for the State, such men as can thoroughly understand Latin and are conversant with the practical affairs of their office. Hungary at this time was a Latin country; Latin was the language of politics and public affairs.

It is natural, therefore, that schools should conform to the ideal of the rhetorical culture common in public life. The object of this Latin culture of the schools was that the nobleman at county or national gatherings, the lawyer before a court, and the professor in the classroom should be able to speak and debate in Latin fluently and that the county or state official should be able to write fluent Latin letters and documents. Hence the Latin schools, as their name indicates, until the middle of the nineteenth century devoted more than three-fourths of the school time to the teaching of Latin grammar, sentence structure, syntax, rhetoric, and poetics. Latin was the only universal instrumental study preparing for public life. The ideal of a Latin rhetorical education naturally resulted from the entire Hungarian national life and constitution at that time.

It is surprising with what great emphasis the Ratio makes physical education a task of the schools in an age in which not one of the European states provided for systematic physical


education, although the Philanthropinists could not sufficiently stress its significance. The Ratio is the first European State code systematically organizing physical education, especially games.

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