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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 Committee en Textbooks From the time of the foundation of the system of State education (1777) until the beginning of the period of absolutism (1849) all State—that is, Catholic—elementary, secondary, and higher schools were provided with textbooks by the Royal Hungarian University Press upon the basis of a privilege granted by Maria Theresa. Protestant denominations took care of their own textbooks through their individual presses; yet, because of a general censorship of textbooks, even these were not free from State supervision.

During the period of absolutism (1849-1860) the independence and privileges of the University Press were suspended, but following the restoration of constitutional life, it endeavoured to supply the elementary and middle schools first with textbooks. A majority of the higher institutions during this period obtained liberty in the matter of textbooks, while from the middle of the past century some of the larger publishing houses of the capital began to supply textbooks for secondary schools.

Today six big publishing concerns provide the textbooks for 42 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY elementary and secondary schools. Moreover, smaller private concerns both in the capital and in the provinces contribute to this end in a rather minor way.

The making of textbooks subject to the permission of the State originated with the Organisations-Entwurf. This system was taken over in 1868 by the Ministry of Public Worship and Instruction. For almost a quarter of a century the reviewing of textbooks was in the hands of the National Council of Education.

In 1925 the Committee on Textbooks was instituted with a membership of twelve rapporteurs, the delegated representative of the Ministry, a chairman, and a manager. This committee meets from time to time when convened by the chairman. Texts submitted for approval must be sent in typewritten form. These are examined first by a selected critic and afterwards by one of the rapporteurs of the committee. Final approval is given upon recommendation by the Committee and the determination of the price of the book. Besides criticizing the regular textbooks, the Committee has also been entrusted with the general examination of all textbooks previously approved. In general, its sphere extends over the care of all textbook matters. Its chief object is to limit the over-production of textbooks, to promote their continuous correction and perfection, and to raise the standard of their make-up. The result of these endeavours is already perceptible in the field of textbook literature.

The National Council on Children's Literature

The tasks of this Council, with headquarters in Budapest, are:

(1) To supervise closely all children's books from a moral and patriotic point of view, to direct the preparation of literary productions for young people, to keep in contact with the literary needs of young people's organizations, to determine the catalogue of books to be used in children's libraries, and to supervise these libraries; (2) to make proposals for deepening the relationship between parents and school children and proposals in all matters referred to it for investigation by the Ministry of Education.





The beginning of Hungarian kindergartens is connected with the name of Countess Theresa Brunsvick (1775-1868). This widely travelled, cultured, and intelligent lady (Beethoven's favorite student and his "immortal lover") in 1808 spent six weeks in Yverdun, Switzerland, at the home of Pestalozzi, who made a deep impression upon her. During her stay at Yverdun ehe became acquainted with public education, for which her soul had long thirsted. She decided to give up selfishly educating herself alone and to dedicate herself to the education of the people. She desired to increase her nation's number of worthy men by saving and educating the little ones. At home, however, she was regarded as a dreamer. Misunderstanding and malice raised great obstacles in her way, but she staunchly persevered in her purpose. "If I am crucified," she wrote in her diary, "I shall yet proclaim that we need schools for small children." The book of Samuel Wilderspin concerning the education of little children, issued in 1823, happened to fall into her hands, and in this book she found the systemization and practical materialization of all the ideas she had received under the influence of Pestalozzi. She travelled to England, conferred with Wilderspin, and studied his school for little children at Spitalfields. Upon her return she asked permission to start a kindergarten, but was refused. Making use of her connections at the court of the Palatine, she finally materialized her object and on June 1, 1828, at her home in Buda, with many prominent guests present and amidst a great celebration, she opened her kindergarten, which she called the "Garden for Angels." Within a short time many such institutions were established both 44 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY at the capital and in the country. It was through the influence of Countess Brunsvick that kindergartens were first established at Vienna in 1830, at München in 1833, and at Augsburg in 1834.

The greatest sacrifice for the maintenance of the first schools was made by Theresa Brunsvick. Among the founders of the institutions were some of the most prominent men and women of the country, beginning with the first duchess of the land.

Among the names of the founders is also that of Edward Read, an English preacher, who spent 1828 in Hungary and advised Brunsvick in a letter written from London in 1830 among other things to form a great national organization out of the many small and inactive societies, which were composed of the founders. As a result of unfavourable circumstances, such an organization did not come into being until the year 1836, under the title of The Society for the Propagation of Kindergartens in Hungary, in the committee of which some of the most eminent leaders of the country were included, among them Louis Kossuth.

As a result of the work of this society there were already eighty-nine kindergartens by 1847. During the ministry of Baron Eötvös there was talk of regulating kindergarten work by law in connection with public education. The storm of the war of independence and the subsequent period of absolutism not only killed this enthusiasm but even checked the splendid development of the kindergartens. In ten years the eighty-nine institutions were reduced to fifty-two. It was only after 1860 that kindergartens began to take on new life, but really vital activity was initiated only after the reconciliation of 1867, when other organizations also took up the work of the propagation society. In 1876 the State also joined the ranks of the supporters of kindergartens and established more and more kindergartens from this time on—and especially since 1891, when the establishment of kindergartens in communities that could not support one themselves was made the legal duty of the State. As from 1880 two other types of schools were formed for the care of children, namely, the permanent day nursery and the summer day nursery. The summer day nursery was designed to take care of the children of farmers during the agricultural season (April to October).




The regulation of kindergartens by law was effected in 1891.

The law was supported by the following motivation: (1) children receiving the physical and mental training of kindergartens can more easily overcome the difficulties of the elementary school; and in districts where there are racial minorities, kindergartens enable children to learn the State language at an early age; (2) the high death rate of children is due in part to the fact that children are without supervision and in case of sickness do not receive proper medical attention; (3) children not under supervision cause great damage by building fires and these losses can be checked only by placing children under supervision.

According to the law, the object of the kindergarten is to protect children between the ages of three and six from dangers during the absence of parents and to aid their physical, moral, and mental growth by training them to be orderly and clean and by developing their skill, understanding, and character according to their age. There is no place for school instruction in the kindergarten.

The law provides for kindergartens, permanent day nurseries, and summer day nurseries. It makes attendance at one of these schools compulsory for all such children as are not constantly under supervision. A fine is imposed upon all who do not conform to the requirements. Ill or feeble-minded children may not attend kindergartens.

The duty of maintaining kindergartens is incumbent upon communities. The State, denominations, legal bodies, or private individuals also have the right to maintain kindergartens. The latter, however, must obtain the permission of the royal superintendent. Kindergartens must be organized and maintained (a) by every borough with autonomous rights, (6) by every county seat, and (c) by every rural community in which the total amount paid under direct State taxes exceeds 30,000 crowns, provided there is no kindergarten, or if there are forty children for whom there is no room in the existing kindergartens.

A permanent day nursery must be established by every country parish community in which the amount paid under the head of direct State taxes ranges from 20,000 to 30,000 crowns and which 46 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY happens to have at least forty children under school age who are not under supervision. A summer day nursery must be established by every rural community in which the direct State tax does not exceed 20,000 crowns and in which there are at least fifteen children' not under supervision.

Where no other kindergartens exist, those maintained by denominations, legal bodies, or private individuals must admit children, irrespective of denomination or mother tongue.

Only such persons may be employed in kindergartens as possess a qualifying diploma. Kindergarten teachers are employed for life and can be removed from their positions only by legal disciplinary procedure. The employees of State institutions are appointed by the Minister of Public Worship and Instruction and those of rural communities are elected by the kindergarten supervising committee of the parish, which also employs the nurses for the day nurseries.


The law stipulates that the curriculum of kindergartens must include the following items: prayers, exercises in speaking and comprehension, songs, play, handwork, and physical training. In the exercises in speaking and comprehension the teacher chats with the children about subjects within the sphere of their perception and interest; the children learn rhymes and sayings;

and finally, they listen to stories. Play embraces the various social and creative games. In handwork the children are given a chance to draw and color and make articles out of different materials, such as sand, clay, wood, stone, paper, etc.

The influence of Froebel, which appeared toward the sixties of last century, may be strongly felt upon both the inner life of kindergartens and upon the laws. As a result kindergarten education became divided between two tendencies. The first was marked by the traditions of the first schools and the second, by Froebel's educational system. The struggle between the two tendencies came to an end in the nineties; and a so-called Hungarian tendency, impregnated with Froebel's ideas, triumphed.

The ministerial Instructions which accompanied the law, while they included many of Froebel's ideas in the program of the kindergarten, in general emphasized an education of a nationalistic trend. The finest specimens of child-poetry, gathered either


from the life of the people or from the works of poets, are employed. Teachers collect the games of Hungarian children and adapt them to the use of kindergartens. The results of modern child study and the endeavours of Montessori, particularly, make themselves felt upon Hungarian kindergartens, which are trying to develop their peculiar Hungarian characteristics more fully.


The local authority over kindergartens is the supervising committee. This consists of five members, and may include women, also, although the number of women may not exceed that of men. The supervising committee for state kindergartens is appointed by the Minister of Public Worship and Instruction. If a community or denomination maintains an elementary school also, the functions of the supervising committee are performed by the school council with addition of women members. The local medical officer is an ex-officio member of the committee.

The functions of the committee are: (a) election of teachers for community kindergartens and supervisors for permanent and summer nurseries; (6) visitation of schools and control of wrork; (c) enforcement of compulsory attendance; and (d) care of the material needs of the school and supervision of the building, equipment, and property. The functions of denominational committees are determined by the respective denominational authorities. State supervision of all kindergartens is carried on by the Minister of Public Worship and Instruction through royal superintendents.



The Act of 1868 distinguishes two groups of school support— first, the parish; second, the state, denominations, associations, and individuals, the first group being required, and the second entitled, to maintain schools.

Community Schools Where there are at least thirty children of school age for whom there is no school and whose parents decline the use of the denominational school, the community is obliged to establish an 48 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY elementary school. The community must provide the salaries of teachers, school building, equipment, and other material needs.

Schools are maintained by community funds, school fees, and community tax; if necessary, state aid may be asked for. The parish school fund consists of a fixed percentage of the income from property set aside by the community to be used for school purposes.

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