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BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE SCHOOLS OF GERMANY, AUSTRIA
HUNGARY, AND SWITZERLAND.
Introduction--Historical view of the schools of Prussia-Definition and character
Finances--Supervision; local supervision; duties of inspectors-The teachers; preparation ; examination; appointment- The schools; compulsory attendance; schoolkouses-Instruction; course of study; methods of teaching-Grading and examination of pupils; discipline-Supplementary institutions ; special schools—Variety in school organization in the different countries—The schools of Hungary-Secondary schools in German-speaking nations-Courses of study, illustrated by four charts-Languages, history and geography, mathematics, natural sciences-Graphic presentation of statistics of Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and Switzerland-Summary of statistics of Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and Switzerland.
The German Empire as such has no public school system. All public educational institutions in Germany are founded and maintained by the separate states and free cities that constitute the empire, or they are the result of private or corporate efforts. Hence, to know the German schools accurately would necessitate the study of the school systems of each kingdom, duchy, principality, and free city in Germany. But since Prussia, the largest state in the empire, plays a leading rôle among the many states, and its school system is the type of those of other states; furthermore, since in Prussia we have to look for the beginnings of that marvelous result of modern civilization, " The public school called into existence, partly supported, and wholly directed by the state,”-it would seem as though a statement of what is found in Prussia supplemented by occasional reference to other countries would suffice.
During the sixteenth century the necessity of instructing children in religion gave rise to what is now known in Germany as the "People's Schools." There had been schools, of course, ever since Charlemagne's "schola palatina,” but not until the time of the great church reformation (A. D. 1517) were efforts made in behalf of teaching the masses, not until then were the lower and lowest strata of society drawn into the pale of influence of such schools, though it was done on Sundays only. Naturally the lower schools were servants of the church which
had called them into life. In 1529 Luther's catechism appeared, and it became the first text-book. In 1540 a Saxon ecclesiastical decree estabblished day schools. This was imitated in all the German Protestant states. In the cities the schools had a more fertile soil, since the cities had all through the Middle Ages been the centers of culture, the asy. lums, so to speak, of poetry and art, education and religion, commerce and industry. Many ancient "writing schools" had been preserved there. These became nuclei of new schools, called "citizens' schools." Wittenberg even established a "girls' school” in 1533, the first girls' school known in the history of education. Johann Bugenhagen, in Braunschweig, the intimate friend of Martin Luther, was especially active in behalf of schools, by publishing regulations for “German schools," embracing country schools, city schools, Latin schools, and "girls' schools” (German schools, in contradistinction to classical schools, in which Latin was the medium of instruction). These schools were even at that early day supported (a) by the communities, and (b) by tuition fees. Bugenhagen's instructions were also copied in the free citiesLübeck, Hamburg, and Bremen. Wherever the Reformation found a foothold schools sprang up, and if it had not been for the terrible Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) the schools in Germany would have developed into a healthy system quite early; but that most destructive war ever known in history checked the growth of the German school system, as it paralyzed all the political and social life of the nation.
It is not necessary to follow the development of the German school system through all its various stages; suffice it to say, that it remained the handmaid of the church until the time of Frederick the Great of Prussia, about 1760. With far-sighted policy he endeavored to make the school what it subsequently became, the powerful auxiliary of the state, at all times, alike during political disaster and prosperity. Ever since that time the Prussian “people's school," and with it that of Saxony, Würtemberg, Bavaria, etc., has remained under state government, and, mirror-like, it has reflected the different phases of political life of the German nation. Since Frederick could not raise the means for support of the schools, owing to his wars for the possession of Silesia, he was not very successful in his attempts at school reform, but it will remain one of his chief merits that he saw the necessity of a consistent system of public instruction assisted by state aid, and called into existence by the state when the communities failed in this regard. During the reign of his successor, Frederick William II, a mistake was made by limiting the matter of instruction to a minimum, and paying almost exclusive attention to religious instruction. But in 1799 the government at Berlin infused new life into the public (or people's) schools, and established the principle “ that instruction in religion in these schools should confine itself to the general truths of religion, and the morals underlying all church' parties ; in other words, it should be Christian, but nonsectarian." This principle is still adhered to.
In the citios a reformatory movement in the management of the schools occurred toward the close of the eighteenth century. The citi. zens' and classical schools were supplemented by Realschulen (schools which paid more attention to the demands of modern life than did the classical schools). In many small towns the Latin schools were converted into citizens' schools, so that the latter came to be regarded as standing betweeu the elementary and the classical schools; analogous to our (a) primary, (v) intermediate, and (c) high schools, it was considered that (a) elementary, (6) citizens', and (c) classical schools were and ought to be distinct establishments of one system. If this idea had been carried out systematically it would have resulted in the establish. ment of a system such as our common-school system. But the social distinctions among the people caused a differentiation, and to-day the three grades of schools—people's, middle, and classical schools—are not in organic connection with oue another.
During the reign of Frederick William III (1840) the schools gradually improved. Impulses from without, notably the teaching of Pestalozzi, moved authorities and teachers to bestow more attention upon methods, courses of study, and especially upon the training of teachers. This early attempt at building up a profession for teachers bas bad wonderful results. Prussia and other German states in this particular are far ahead of other nations, having acted with far-sighted policy, and by acknowledging the pow well-understood maxim that “the teacher is the school," the teaching profession in Germany has become a pride of the nation.
The time of general readjustment of Prussian affairs after the Napo. leonic wars was also the time of rejuvenation of the Prussian schools. Gradually the system was improved; the ideas of Pestalozzi permeated it, until it became the model for other nations. But while other natious, notably the French and English, bave left educational efforts to the tender mercies of private enterprise, Prussia has consistently worked out a system of state schools since the time of Frederick the Great, and bence is a hundred years ahead of other nations in results and experience. From 1854 till 1872 the schools in Prussia were handicapped greatly by war. row regulations and short-sighted policy, but after the Franco-Prussian war new life was infused into all governmental efforts by appealing to the liberal element of the nation. The general regulations of Minis. ter Falk, issued in October, 1872, are still in force, only slightly modi. fied by his successors. During the last twenty years the people's schools have suffered in consequence of the immoderate demands made by the state for the maintenance of its rast standing army.
II.- DEFINITION AND CHARACTER.
The people's schools comprise those educational institutions which are devoted to the elementary instruction of the youth of the nation, and are intended " to impart the knowledge and skill necessary to rational beings” (vernünftige Wesen). The time within which this instruction is offered is between the sixth and fourteenth years of age; confirmatiou in church defines the termination of the school course. Obildren of parents who refuse to join a church are permitted to leave the school when they have completed the prescribed course and passed the regular annual examination. The people's school may be purely elementary, as in the country, or of a higher grade, as it frequently is in the cities, where the upper grades partake of the nature of a school which goes beyond the mere rudiments. Aside from the people's schools there are others that receive pupils at as early an age as the people's schools, but present the matter of instruction in a more scientific, that is to say, in a less elementary and popular way, with the design of their papils remaining in school longer than the fourteenth year of age, namely, till the seventeenth or nineteenth year; such are the socalled gymnasia and realschulen, higher citizens' schools, industrial schools, technical schools, and young ladies' academies. None of these schools are considered people's schools. The latter form the nearest approach to common schools (in the American acceptation of the word) ever attempted in Germany.
The public schools provided for in the constitution.-In order to understand how deep rooted public education is in Prussia we will quote from the Constitution of Prussia. ARTICLE 20. Science and the teaching of scionce are free.
ARTICLE 21. For the education of the young public schools shall be established and maintained. Parents and guardians must not leave their children or wards without that instruction which is prescribed for the public schools.
ARTICLE 22. To give instruction and to establish schools is allowed to every one who can prove to the state autborities moral, scientific, and technical capability.
ARTICLE 23. All public and private educational institutions are under the supervi. sion of the state authorities. Teachers of public schools have the rights and duties of officers of the state. (In this clause the stato reserves for itself the right of properly preparing the teachers, and assumes the duty of pensioning thom.)
ARTICLE 24. Religious instruction is left to the respective religious societies. (This passage was amended subsequently.) The external management of schools is left to the civil communities, while the State employs the teachers and provides for the nec. essary number and training of teachers.
ARTICLE 25: The means for establishing, maintaining, and extending the publicschool system are furnished by the communities, and only in cases of inability does the state furnish the means. (This has subsequently been amended. The state now bears 18 per cent. of the cost of maintaining the public elementary schools, and about 34 per cent. of that of the secondary schools.) Rights acquired by private grants in bebalf of education shall be inviolate. The state guarantees public-school teachers a fixed income. Instruction in the public schools is free of charge. (This was not carried out until October 1, 1683; see chapter “Finances.") ARTICLE 26. A special school law regulates all educational affairs in the state. ARTICLE 112. And till the law mentioned in article 26 is passed, the former legal status, so far as it does not conflict with the constitution, sball remain in force.
It is significant that at present, 40 years after tbe adoption of the constitution, this general school law has not yet been passed. Laws which partially cover the ground bave been adopted, but substantially the public schools are still governed by the Minister of Educational, Ecclesiastical, and Medical Affairs."
Like all of the States of the former Northwest Territory in this country, Prussia has an irreducible school fund, the origin of which is found in the sequestration of church property, sales of land, bequests, fines, and sundry other sources. It would lead too far to specify all the sources. Suffice it to say this fund is inadequate for the maintenance of the schools. According to the last official report of the Prussian Government, the interest of this fund defrayed but a small percentage, namely, 7,323,641 marks ($1,830,910), in a total of 116,615,648 marks ($29,153,912). By means of state taxes the state's portion (including the interest of this fund) of the cost of maintaining the public schools amounted to over 18 per cent., while the proportion borne by the communities amounted to a little less than 82 per cent.
The current expenses for maintaining the schools in 1886–87, that is, the salaries, etc., amounted to 75,245,144 marks ($18,811,286), or 614 per cent. of the sum total, 116,615,618 marks ($29,153,912); 41,370,504 marks ($10,342,626) were spent for buildings and improvements, or 354 per cent.
Most of the communities in Prussia still require tuition fees, but since October 1, 1888, the state assumes a portion of the means raised for merly by tuition fees. It pays annually $100 for each principal, $50 for each regular teacher, $37.50 for each female teacher, and $25 for tem. porary assistauts. The law was passed for the purpose of enabling the communities to abolish tuition fees; but since the sums paid by the state are too small, most of the cities continue collecting the fees, for which a proviso in the law gives authority. Berlin, Frankfort, and more than a dozen other cities in Prussia have abolished fees altogether, and now raise their share of the expenses by direct taxation and sundry minor sources, chiefly by fines. All the liberal parties advocate the abolishment of fees, but the great demands upon the pockets of the citi. zens caused by recent and very extensive improvements make it impos. sible to carry out this design.
We are, in this country, under the impression that the state in Prussia governs the schools exclusively. This is a mistake, for in the financial management and establishment of new schools and improve. ment of their exterior condition the cities in Prussia are very much more independent than are the cities in America of their respective State legislatures.
i Though a mark is quoted at 23.8 cents, it is commonly considered in rongh cal. culation as equal to a quarter of a dollar. Hence by dividing the above sums by four we arrive at an approximate estimate.