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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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Rural Schools The population of the Lowland for the most part lives not in compact villages but in scattered farms, the result being that their children have always received an inferior education. This accounts largely for the fact that 15 per cent of Hungary's population has been illiterate. Count Kuno Klebelsberg aims to bring this condition to an end as soon as possible by the law of 1926, which deals with the establishment and maintenance of schools in the interests of the farmer class and constitutes the starting point of an extensive building program.

The Hungarian educational policy regards as its chief task the maintenance and strengthening of the cultural supremacy of the Hungarian nation over its Balkan neighbours. This is the more necessary in view of the nation's endeavour to put its constitution upon a democratic basis, because political democracy can be sound only when it is preceded and ensured by educational democracy.

According to the Act of 1926, "the Hungarian nation bears testimony to its dauntless faith in the future and its vitality by building schools for the agricultural class, especially those of the Lowland farms." To realize this end, the government may, ex officio, order elementary schools to be established wherever twenty families or thirty children of schooling age reside within an area of about three miles, provided there is no school already in existence. Accordingly, the law creates a new category of school supporters when it declares that interested landowners must establish such rural (homestead) schools. This act was based on the argument that if a landowner controls a large share of the country's land he should also share the educational burdens. An adequate building and property are to be provided, together with a refectory, a rest room, and transportation for children living at great distances. In case the interested landPUBLIC EDUCATION owners or parish cannot cover all of the expenses, the State will grant aid or loans for covering building expenses. The complete equipment of the school is to be provided by the interested supporters.

Accordingly, the building of hundreds of rural (homestead) schools has been started. Down to the end of last year, 5,000 schoolhouses, including classrooms and teachers' homes, had been put into use. The execution of the enormous program of 8,562 buildings will cost about 100,000,000 Pengő, a considerable proportion of this sum having to be advanced by the State.

Denominational Schools As in other countries of Europe, elementary schools at one time were almost exclusively of a denominational nature. The Act of 1868 assigned special importance to communities as factors of popular education, but this proved of no avail, for a great part of the elementary schools remained in the hands of denominations, which, through great sacrifice and aided by the State, have striven to maintain and develop their schools and to satisfy the requirements of the law.

State Schools The Ministry of Public Worship and Instruction, on the basis of the Act of 1868, provided for the establishment of elementary schools only where those entitled or obliged (denominations and parishes) did not do so, either because of lack of funds or because they did not wish to conform to the requirements of the State. All such schools established by the State became strongholds of national ideals and modern education. In this way State elementary schools increased parallel with the progress of popular education and they served as model schools, carrying out the intentions of the law, and were a good influence, particularly in those places which the authority of the government could not reach direct. Since the World War, the rôle of the historical school supporters—the denominations and communities—has again increased in importance.


The legal requirements incidental to the maintenance of schools in whole and in part are the same for all. The law uniEDUCATION IN HUNGARY formly demands (a) that the subjects taught in the school be in conformity with the state curriculum established by law; (b) that school buildings and classrooms conform to certain standards; (c) that classrooms be provided with furniture and equipment; (d) that the maximum of pupils in one room be 60; (e) that girls and boys receive separate instruction; (/) that teachers hold qualifications prescribed by law; (g) that a definite salary be provided for teachers; (h) that teachers' pensions be regulated; (i) that school hours conform to requirements; (j) that local school supervision be organized.

BUILDINGS The matter of buildings is dealt with in the ministerial ordinance of 1897, giving model plans and suggestions, and in the Act of 1907. Ever since the appearance of the model plans, school building in Hungary has made remarkable progress.

Not only do the big cities have fine buildings, which meet the requirements of modern pedagogy and hygiene, but altogether satisfactory school buildings may be found throughout the country, even in small villages. Our finest school buildings were erected in communities along the border; and these have been lost as a result of the Trianon Treaty.


The Act of 1921 stipulates that parents or guardians must provide every child with an elementary education for nine years after the completion of his or her sixth birthday—six in the elementary school and three in the continuation school. During this period church attendance on Sundays and holidays is obligatory. Parents have a right to enrol their children in any kind of school, even outside of their place of residence.

The school year averages 10 months in length, but for serious reasons may officially be shortened by two months at the most.

The number of school days is determined by the Ministry as follows: 227 days in the elementary schools (reduced to 195 in agricultural districts), 60 half days in the continuation schools, and 80 half days in the agricultural schools. Children may be exempt from school attendance, provided that they receive satisfactory instruction at home or are mentally or physically defective or that their health or safety would be endangered by school PUBLIC EDUCATION 51


–  –  –

attendance. Those having any organic defect which hinders them in their studies, those suffering from some contagious disease, those who are mentally diseased or feeble-minded, and such as would endanger the morals of other children, may be excluded from school. Failure to enrol children in school incurs the penalty of the law.

The law differentiates two courses of study in elementary schools—the six-year day school and the three-year continuation school. In community and State elementary schools both courses are compulsory, but denominational schools are not compelled to maintain continuation courses. Only those schools are considered complete elementary public schools which include both types. In places where various kinds of public schools are located and the continuation school is not embraced by all, the State is required to provide a continuation course.

Day Schools The elementary day school may have one or more teachers;

accordingly, schools fall into the two types of graded or ungraded schools. Separate schools for boys and for girls are conducted only in places where the number of the children of school age permits a completely divided school with at least four teachers. There are relatively few non-coeducational schools in the country, inasmuch as small communities are in the majority. At present 93 per cent of the elementary public schools are coeducational.

Prescnbed Subjects and Time-Schedules

Subjects required in all elementary schools are as follows:

(1) religion, (2) Hungarian language, (3) arithmetic and geometry, (4) geography, (5) history, (6) natural sciences and home economics, (7) drawing, (8) music, (9) handwork, (10) physical training.

The time-schedule for graded and ungraded schools, including also the time-schedule of partly graded schools, is given in the table on the following page.

–  –  –

for State, community, private, and Jewish schools. Other denominational schools prepare their own curricula, with due regard for the State curriculum. This curriculum defines the objective of the elementary school thus: "The objective of the elementary school is to prepare such citizens for the country as will be religious, moral, intelligent, and self-conscious patriots, who possess the fundamental elements of education and are able to make use of their knowledge in daily life." Each subject is adjusted to this general objective.

1. Religious and ethical instruction in State and community schools is provided for by the respective denominations, which designate its object and content.

2. The objective of instruction in the Hungarian language is to develop the child's instinct of expression so that he can freely express his thoughts and emotions in both speech and writing;

to develop an understanding of the living word and of reading matter so that the child may comprehend the ideas of Hungarian writers and poets in works that correspond to his mental age, and may gain a sense of appreciation and enjoyment of fine literature; to connect home and school life and link the child with national life; to instil a love for the home, country, race, and nation and safeguard the elements of a national culture based upon religious and moral foundations.

The course of study is divided into the following groups: (a)


exercises in speaking and comprehension; (6) reading; (c) writing; (d) composition; (e) spelling and grammar. It is evident from this grouping that living speech is most important and must be used above all in the education of the people. Where a teacher has more time and opportunity, reading and writing, also, can be developed to an extent making for the independent understanding of the ideas of others and for the intelligent expression of the pupil's own ideas. Explanations of the language must take only the third place in importance, and that only to the extent necessary for the mastery of correct spelling.


grammatical instruction is beyond the scope of the elementary school.

3. The aim of instruction in arithmetic is to acquaint children with the common calculations and measurements which are in use in daily life and to train them to disciplined and systematic thinking.

The course of study embraces the teaching of the four fundamental operations with numbers according to the number group system, distributed among the grades according to the difficulty of the calculations—for instance, in the first year the easier calculations in the number space from 1 to 20; in the second year, to 100; in the third year, to 1,000; in the fourth year, to 1,000,000; in the fifth year, whole numbers and decimals; in the sixth year, whole numbers with common fractions and decimals, percentage, and interest. Written exercises are begun only in the fourth year. Geometry in the first year includes simple measurements; in the second year, the square and primary conceptions; in the third year, the rectangle and measurements of area;

in the fourth year, the cube and computation of dimensions;

in the fifth year, the circle, its circumference and area, and simple constructions; in the sixth year, triangles and computations of volume.

4. The purpose of instruction in geography is to secure acquaintance with Hungary, other countries, the continents, and the earth; inculcation of a love for the pupil's native country and nation, and awakening of a national consciousness.

The course of study in the fourth year, after a preparation in the second and third years by relevant exercises in speech and comprehension, embraces a comprehensive study of the geographical divisions of the country, the dismembered territories, 56 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY the Hungarian kingdom, and a general view of Europe; in the fifth year, the general geography and counties of Hungary, the countries of Europe, continents, and oceans; in the sixth year, the economic geography of Hungary, the economic relations of European and other countries to Hungary, the earth, and other spheres.

5. The purpose of instruction in history is to acquaint the pupils with the history of the Hungarian nation in connection with the main events of general history and to give them a knowledge of the Hungarian constitution; to instil a national consciousness, a love of country, and respect for the past; to enforce the pupils' faith in the vitality of the nation and the guidance of Divine Providence; through an acquaintance with civic life and the most important rights and duties of a citizen to develop respect for law and an understanding of national unity.

In the fifth year the course of study embraces the nation's history from the beginning to the eighteenth century and civic matters, such as the administration of communities, taxation, lawrs concerning agriculture, industry and commerce, schools, records, public health, public justice, citizenship, associations, press, and denominations; in the sixth year the history of the nation after the Turkish invasion, the struggle for liberty, absolutism and the reconciliation of Nation and King, the constructive period, the World War, modern Hungary, and the old and new constitutions.

6. The purpose of instruction in natural and economic sciences is to impart a knowledge of the most important natural phenomena and laws and of their practical application in life; to acquaint pupils with the most important animals, plants, and minerals and with the relation between nature and man; to train pupils in proper observation and appropriation of the skill necessary in economic life; to instil a love for the soil and respect for work; to inculcate the principles of hygienic living in home and school and to ensure the execution of the laws relating to public hygiene.

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