Péter Tibor Nagy
Péter Tibor Nagy
The social and political history
of Hungarian education
Education and Society PhD School - University of Pécs -
John Wesley College - Budapest
ISBN 963 200 511 2 (HTML)
International patterns in the history
of Hungarian educational administration
Traditionalism Versus Modernization
in the Hungarian Education
Tendencies of educational policy
The rise of conservatism and ideology
in control of Hungarian education
To the history of sport politics and physical education
in Hungary between the world wars
The meanings and functions of classical studies
in Hungary in the 18th-20th century
The "numerus clausus"
policy of anti-semitism or policy of higher education
The autonomy: freedom or hierarchy:
The Hungarian Case
The historical and political context of the teaching of history
before and after the collapse of Communism
State-Church relations in the history of educational policy
of the first post-communist Hungarian government
International patterns in the history of Hungarian
(Supported by CEU, RSS - project)
I. Redescribing of pre-modern period
The author - without finding new sources but reinterpreting facts of the positivist books and studies - tries to form a new vision of the international patterns and home alternatives of the premodern period.
In the middle age the Hungarian schooling followed the "Caroling-model": we describe the role of the Hungarian state, the monasteries and the bishops if we follow the methods and findings of the famous book of Southern.
It is necessary to redescribe the period which started in the 16th century. The traditional factology (which was the main methodological viewpoint of the history of education in the last one hundred years) was not able to describe and interpret some very strange elements in the history of Hungarian education.
How could we explain then a country in which the civil society, the process of enbourgoisement is weaker than in the German territories became an arena of an expansion of education, and an expansion of religious revolution - the centre of a lot of Protestant denominations?
If we expect the traditional weberian or marxist interpretations about the "natural" places of the birth and expanding of Calvinism and Lutheranism we could not explain: why and how Debrecen became a "Calvinist Rome". Archer's interpretation - the competition of denominations mirrored the competition of different type social elites and it generates an expansion - is false: in Hungary you can not find that kind of "Bürgerschaft" which could be the basis of a "competition".
In the project we tried to explain it from the international situation: the country was on the border of the Turkish and the Hapsburg empire and Protestantism was the "best" and "most adequate" denomination for the Turkish control territories, and the Catholicism for the Hapsburg controlled territories.
The eastern part - Transsylvania - became half independent from the Turkish empire, with strong connections to the western Protestant powers and Hapsburgs too, so in this territory every denomination could follow its activity, could start a competition for students and believers in its school-system.
So the Hungarian elite started to built two independent educational system. In the western territories the Jesuits built up their system, controlling not only the public education but the university level too, in the Central part the Calvinist church, and some local community built out its own network. The western system integrated to the educational system of international Jesuit system, the Central and Eastern system which sent students an mass to the German and Holland Protestant universities integrated to this international network.
The other question: why was the educational policy much more important in the competition of denominations than in the other part of Europe? The balance of Protestants and Catholic powers in Europe, nearby the Turkish empire, hindered the using of judges and army as tools against the Protestants, as common in Spain for example. So the school-system became the most important tool of the Hapsburg absolutism and the Protestant autonomists too. So both partners were interested in financing these "overbuilt" educational systems.
How did this "overbuilt" system remain so nonmodern and traditionalist in the 18th-19th century? In the century of the enlightenment and industrial revolution the denominational competition remained the main function of the educational system. This fact legitimised the most traditional groups in controlling the education - the "enemy picture" was so strong that nor the lay leaders of Protestants nor the Catholic aristocracy of western territories could "puss down" the conservatives.
This overbuilt, very ideological and extremely heterogeneous school system was very different not only from the French or the English systems, but from the Prussian or Austrian systems too. So the absolute power policy toward education met an absolutely different school-system type then the other part of the Western world.
The story in the 18th century became a double-story:
1. The competition of modern and non modern forces
2. The competition of denominations
The questions which were debated in the framework of these two cleavages:
Society-conform or internationally conform schooling (following the norms of local nobility or following the norms of international patterns)
Latin, German or Magyar as the language of the instruction in Hungarian denominational schools?
The new international pattern: Prussia: General law of Hungarian Education (Ratio Educationis in 1777) as the starter of new competition.
The steps of court generalised an inner conflict in the Protestant church between the modern lay noblemen and the leaders of the church. The modern wing suggested the acceptance of the Ratio, but the clergy-leaders of the Church declared that every element of the teaching belongs to the autonomy , so the Protestant theology is a determining factor in any subject.
The enlightened emperor's Joseph II's language order in 1784: demolishing of Latin as integration in the German Austrian patterns and culture.
The universal assembly of Lutherans accepted these tendencies in the spirit of the international neo-humanism.
Latin had gradually became an obstacle to the most important Hungarian Protestant tradition of education, studying abroad, because the language of introduction in the most popular German universities became German, and the Hungarian students understand only their own traditional Latin.
From the 1830s the leaders of reform movement showed the practical orientation of developed foreign nations, as a pattern and reference, characterized the supporters of Latin as creators of a "holy language" which could preserve the required social gap between them and the lower social strata.
The fact that modernization of education was a competitional and not an ideological one can be illustrated by the fact that the Protestant modernists won in their circles only after the victory of modernist forces in the state-controlled Catholic sphere.
II. The balance-principle in elementary schooling
Despite the traditional interpretation - "educational policy of dualism - modernisation from the centrum, following a Prussian model" - the study describes the Hungarian system as a system which was influenced by the English pattern.
- The essay describes how the Hungarian experts - not only the university professors - but teachers and bureaucrats, financed by scholarships of government - studied and interpreted the British model.
- A lot of elements - especially in the state-church relation, the preconditions of the state support to the church owned schools - seem to be a typical British solution.
- The strong power of the county and the municipality in the educational administration is an important element in the description.
- We have to stress then when the municipal and country level became weaker in the 1890-s - it is not a simple concentration of power into the hand of the government or the local representatives of the state government. From that time the role of the Administrative Court has a very significant role in the educational policy. (The role of courts - a model-relevant element in the Anglo-American educational policies, contra Continental ones.)
- The local (municipal level, elected school boards) is a very significant element of this educational policy too. The study describes that when the teachers fought against the nonprofessional control - they formed a coalition with the authoritative forces of the administration.
- We have to stress, that the election of the Catholic school board was the most democratic element of the very nondemocratic life of Catholicism of Hungary. This acts and ministerial orders guaranteed the right of Catholic citizens - in the situation when the Catholic church did not want to expect the lay control in any question.
- The main goals of the members of the educational administration, the guaranties for professionalisation - they use the French pattern.
- The most "nonconform" part of the study attacks the traditional interpretation of the question of educational policy towards national minorities. One of the "nonconform" argumentation stress: From a liberal-individual viewpoint, from the viewpoint of the Individual Romanian, Serbian etc. the expansion of the state school at the turn of the century brought better chances to educated men, to the social mobility
- The other nonconform argumentation stresses from a historical viewpoint: The greatest part of Hungarian historians said as evidence, that the minorities and the Hungarian government conflicted in 1907 over the controlling of orthodox church - schools and this was only a tool in the hand of the government minority policy. Contrasting them the author stresses that there are other reasons of this conflict: a kind of kulturkampf between the very conservative, feudal type orthodox church and the liberal (post-liberal) state. This conflict happened in very similar forms in 1895-1902 in England.
- The interpretations up to now describe the industrial apprentice schools as the basic level of the vocational education, the training of workers, and handy craftsman. The author interprets this process as the part of elementary schooling. In Hungary - similarly to "Factory Acts" of England - it forced the employers to send the worker-children to the schools. The typical conflict in the boards of industrial apprentice school is similar to the state-parents conflicts around the compulsory school attendance and less to the typical conflicts of vocational schools.
III. The secondary school
The commonplace about German pattern is much closer to the real historical situation of secondary schools.
The new organisation of Hungarian secondary schools was defined for the entire Austrian empire by the Entwurf of 1849. The author of this plan was the famous Austrian school organiser Exner and the great Prussian philologist Bonitz, so this plan represented a compromise between the modernist technocrats and the absolutism.
In 1867 new responsible ministry started to govern the country. The first plan about a much more modern and much less selective 9 year long secondary schooling followed the pattern of French lycee system. The ministry of culture sent experts not only to Prussia and Austria, but to other parts of the German empire, Switzerland or Italy too.
But the whole reconstruction of the school system remained an illusion: the system created by the entwurf was adequate for the need of middle class, 1. if the questions of denominational differences and the 2, needs of modern forces will be accepted.
The act of 1883 determined a very special situation in the school maintaining. The very different rights of state in the Catholic, the Royal Catholic and the Non-Catholic schools, coloured with the cleavage of the language of schools so special that in the question of political power the Hungarian model was far enough from the Prussian one.
In the second half of 1880s the Hungarian experts followed the European debate of the classical studies. The groups and suggestions about the role of Latin and Greek was similar to the Prussian - for the first look. But for the second look, the difference of the Hungarian and Prussian situation is more significant.
- The starting point of the concentration of the Hungarian curriculum was the Hungarian History and Literature and not the Antiquity, as in Germany.
- The role and legitimation of Latin and Greek were very similar in Germany - and very different in Hungary. In Hungary the Latin lobby was supported not only by the Humanist, and by the Catholic Church (as in Germany) but by the political ideologists, because Latin was the language of the legal heritage of Hungarian nobility.
- In Hungary a divorce of work existed between the modern Bourgoise and the Nobility - the first dominated among the industrial, commercial and free intellectual positions and the second one dominated in the public sphere. The existing of Realschool and Gymnasium mirrored this fact and not only a modernisational debate - as in Germany.
- The administration of secondary schools in Germany took place together with the political administration - in Hungary the Secondary school district was much bigger then a county, and they were independent.
- After Trianon the experts followed the debates of the Educational Policy of Germany and Austria - but the educational policy and act preparing could not use the German-Austrian pattern, because the changes in the German - speaking countries in the twenties brought a social-democrat, less selective, more modern secondary school policy.
- The act of 1934 did not follow the new German policy too: the real reorganisation of the school system in Germany happened in 1938.
The schools which wanted to emigrate from the status of "elementary level", from the laic control, from the power of elementary school superintendent wanted to become secondary schools. In the late thirties these schools were integrated into the school system, the Burgerschule, the teacher training college and the vocational schools created a complete second alternative of school system, "a second class" secondary school system.
IV. United system
The expansion in the number of students age group 10-14 and growing in 14-18 was an international and social demand in Hungary. The expansion of the role of the state created new situation for the other owners of the schools the churches and municipalities. Up to then a separated "elementary school policy" and a "secondary school policy" "vocational school policy" existed - the new situation demanded a united "policy of education".
The author described the process, how the educational administration reform happened in 1935. In the new system the supervisor of elementary schools (and all of administrators) were supervised by the main-directors. The power of supervisors and the county level, the municipal level became weaker - the office of main directors - appointed by the government became very strong. The control of school became effective - perhaps more effective then any other sphere of public life.
The integration of school types happened in 1945, when the new government forced the secondary schools, the burgerschools and the elementary schools to create a general school. In its original form the general school was a kind of comprehensive school. Later after 1947 it became a unified school.
The integration of the school-maintenance, the nationalisation of the church schools was a real demand of the educational administration since 1945. The author stresses: not only the communist policy, but the inner logic of the educational administration and the creating of general schools lead to the nationalisation - the Communists only gave a "permission" in 1948.
Publications relevant to RSS project
Nagy Péter Tibor: "Oktatásállamosítás" a harmincas években. In: Világosság, 1993. 6. sz. 26-36.p. (The nationalisation of schools in the thirties")
Nagy Péter Tibor: Nemzetiség és oktatás a dualizmuskori Magyarországon. In: Educatio, 2. évf. 1993. 2. sz. 253-269.p. (Minority and education in the period of 1867-1918 in Hungary)
Nagy Péter Tibor: The outlines of Hungarian Education 1500-1945. Bp., Educatio, 1993 19 p.
NAGY Péter Tibor: Egyházi és állami oktatás a két világháború között in: Hiány 1993/2 (State and church education in the midwar period)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Az igazgatói szakma kialakulása. In: Educatio 1994/3 (The birth of the profession of school-managers)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Centralizációs és decentralizációs tendenciák a magyar oktatás történetében In: Educatio 1995/1 (Centralisation and decentralisation in the History of Hungarian education)
NAGY Péter Tibor: A félfelsőfokú szakoktatás történetéhez. Szakképzési Szemle, 1995. 2. sz. 103-111.p. (To the history of postsecondary vocational education)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Az 1941-es tanügyigazgatási törvény. Magyar Pedagógia, 1995. 1-2. sz. 59-76.p. (The act of 1941 about the administration of education)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Az iskolaszék - pedagógus - igazgató erőviszonyrendszer történeti alakulása. Iskolaszékek Hírlevele, 1995. 4. sz. 9-12.p. (The schoolboard - teacher manager relation in historical context)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Az iskolaszék jelensége a magyar oktatás történetében. 1. r. Iskolaszékek hírlevele, 1995. 3. sz. 7-9.p. (The fenomen of school board in the history of Hungarian Education)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Az iskolaszékek demokratizáló szerepe a felekezeti oktatásban. Iskolaszékek hírlevele, 1995. 5. sz. 5-7.p. (The role of the school boards in the democratisation of the church education)
NAGY Péter Tibor: Szakoktatás és politika. Bp.: Oktatáskutató Intézet, 1994 . 87 p. (Kutatás közben ; 207.) (Vocational education and the politics)
Traditionalism Versus Modernization in the Hungarian Education
Hungarian education in the Middle Ages was very similar to that of other countries determined by the European model. The network of monastic orders and their schools, however, was slightly weaker than that in the German-Roman Empire. The economical and political role of the towns and the bourgeoisie was weaker too. Surprisingly however, a long period of expansion of education began in the 16th century. What could account for this expansion of education and of religious revolution in a country where the process of embourgeoisment was weaker than in the German territories?
This question can be approached by looking at the international power situation of the time. The country was situated between two powerful empires - the Ottoman and the Hapsburg. The state apparatus and the local nobility escaped persecution when the central part of the country was occupied by the Turkish Empire. As a result, the municipalities and local society began to organize themselves with the passive tolerance of the Turkish government. Protestantism, with its emphasis on "lay-control", was considered the "most adequate" denomination for these developing territories. Thus, from the mid-16th century to the late 17th century, the western part of the country was controlled by the Hapsburg empire with counter-reformation tendencies in education prevailing. The middle part of the country was occupied by the Turkish empire, with the hegemony of Protestantism. The eastern part - Transylvania - became quasi-independent from the Turkish empire, with strong connections to the Western Protestant powers and Hapsburgs too. In this territory every denomination could follow its activity and could compete for students and believers in the various school-systems.
The Hungarian elite thus started to built two independent educational systems. In the western territories, the Jesuits built up their system, controlling not only public education but the university level also. In the eastern part, the Calvinist church and some local communities developed their own network. The western system conformed to the international Jesuit educational system and was subject to the educational policies of the Hapsburg-empire. The eastern system sent students en-masse to the German and Dutch Protestant universities and adapted to that international network.
In the eighteenth century, after the triumph of European powers over the Turkish empire, the integration of all Hungarian territories became much more important to the Hapsburgs. The existence of varying religious tendencies in the balance of European powers as well as within the empire prevented the Counter Reformation from being as severe as it was in western Hungary in the 17th century or in Spain. Because of this moderate tendency - which prevented the use of judges and the army as tools against the Protestants - the school system became the most important tool of Hapsburg absolutism and of the Protestant autonomists as well.
Both partners were interested in financing these already overfinanced educational systems. In the century of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, denominational competition remained the main motivating factor of the educational system. This fact legitimized control of education by the most traditional groups - the "enemy picture" was so strong that neither the Protestant leaders nor the Catholic elite of the western territories could reduce the power of the conservatives. Consequently, Latin remained the language of instruction in every school and the curricula was dominated by classical writers, theology and church history.
The new aristocracy of the 18th century - landed nobility loyal to the Hapsburgs - became the most ardent supporter of educational modernization. Formal Latin-teaching - as a conservative value - was attacked by the most important Hungarian aristocrat-reformers. The Jesuit Order developed the most internationalized educational system based on the old Ratio Studiorum of 1588. The Piarist Teaching Order, without substantial financial resources, had to follow the existing demands for schooling in the educational market. They built good connections with the Hungarian nobility much more intensively then the Jesuits did and ingrafted many modern values into the Hungarian school system. The Jesuits at first tried to hinder the expansion of Piarists, but, realizing the good influence of competition in the school system, the Pope's and the Emperor's court allowed the expansion of the Piarist system.
The Piarist Order tried to form a regional profile for its schools. One of the leaders of the order in 1757 designed a plan to reduce Latin-teaching so as to give preference to History, Geography and the Magyar language. Magyar was the mother language of half the population of Hungary, and of 90% of the nobility, intellectuals, and clergy. The Lutherans, under great repression by the Hapsburgs, tried to import the patterns of the Halle school. They began teaching more practical studies and opened the door to the Magyar language. The Calvinists, repressed by Hapsburg absolutism, but supported by the Hungarian quasi-bourgeoisie, pursued Latin values very intensively. In their schools, non-Latin speaking was strictly prohibited. The enlightened noblemen were very dissatisfied with this prohibition.
In general, modernization - the escape from the hegemony of Middle Age Latin with its roots in antiquity and pragmatism - was based on forces which lay outside the traditional controllers of the schools. This was typical in the Protestant and in the Catholic territories.
These forces were ready for modernization and for taking part in a kind of competition. The most well-known ideologists and experts of enlightened absolutism were interested in a modern education as well. They emphasized that the state needed useful, employable citizens. The abandonment of the Jesuit Order in 1773, which had controlled 50 per cent of Hungarian schools, removed the most important representative of the conservative lobby in the educational arena. The new general law of Hungarian Education, Ratio Educationis of 1777, by order of the Queen, excluded Latin from the agrarian type of basic school and ordered this school to be compulsory for all children. The second grade was a three year long school which concentrated on the teaching of Latin.
Ratio Educationis introduced an expansion of the German language as well. The Ratio realized that Hungary was a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country with its seven nations. It propagated German as the source of modern literature and sciences. German was a neutral language in denominational terms: the language of German Protestantism and Hapsburg Catholicism.
The Protestants - realizing the plan of the court - were forced to reform also. The Transylvanian educational committee made some efforts against the Ratio, and the "Calvinist Rome" - Debrecen - accepted a reform plan which had been refused before. The steps of the court generalized an inner conflict within the Protestant church between the modern lay noblemen and the leaders of the church. The modern wing suggested accepting the Ratio, but the clergy-leaders of the Church declared that every element of teaching must be autonomous, so that Protestant theology would be a determining factor in any subject. The social tasks of absolutism were made clear in the Norma Regia of Transylvania. It declared that it was necessary to prefer children of noblemen over peasants in the secondary schools. They argued that since the secondary schools were, and according to the plan should be, composed mainly of Latin grammatics (and Greek studies in Transylvania, where Greek Christianity was also strong), it was not necessary for the peasants to waste their time on Latin.
The real turning point in the role of Latin was created by the language order of the enlightened emperor Joseph II in 1784. The use of Latin as an official language, the order told, proved that the Hungarian nation was not on the level of high-culture. According to the official argument, the European countries had given up Latin and it was the official language only in Poland, Transylvania, and Hungary. Joseph II had not intended to press the millions of people to change their language; he wanted only to change the official language from Latin to German. Joseph II's aim was not nationalistic, as the nationalist historians would like to interpret it, but utilitarian. For example, in Northern Italy where the Italian language was useful for modern public life, he did not attempt to change it to German.
The use of German was much more natural than of Magyar. It was the mother tongue of most modern citizens, the town-Bürgerschaft, and the official language of the most modern sector of public administration - the financial administration. The use of German had expanded in education in the previous decades: it was the second language of elementary textbooks, it was a subject in the secondary schools, and it was the language of study in German or Austrian universities. In Hungary and Croatia 338 secondary school teachers were employed in 67 state or Catholic schools, and 90% of them knew some German at least.
Hungarian historians generally state that Protestant groups opposed the German language. Actually, it was not all that simple. Before the Emperor's order, the most modern group of Protestants endorsed the learning of German, they organized pupil exchanges between one of the German speaking Hungarian areas and Debrecen, the Magyar speaking "Calvinist Rome". The popularity of a private school known for its good language teachers was radically increased in the "educational market" of the 1780s, when offices opened for the Protestants.
Those Protestant schools which had never followed the reforms of the court, tried to modernize their teaching as well. The most modern leaders pressured the conservatives to divorce elementary education from secondary, and exclude Latin from the elementary level. The Calvinist council of Transylvania in 1786 ordered the exclusion of Latin from the elementary schools. At the university level, the most modern colleges conducted their activities in German. The college for finance experts and engineers began this in the 1770s.
When the Emperor died, however, feudal forces attacked every important state-order he had enacted. The traditional counties pressured the new king to reinforce Latin as the language of teaching in the secondary schools. The newer nationalist groups, though, forced the expansion of Magyar in the non-Magyar speaking Hungarian areas.
The act of 1792 made the Hungarian language a compulsory subject in secondary schools. The parliament elected a special education committee whose president was one of the creators of Ratio Educationis of 1777, but there were also members of the committee who opposed any feature of Enlightenment. Later, when feudal interests prevailed in Hungary, a professor who was responsible for the prohibition of Kant in Hungary was appointed by the court to present a new system: the second Ratio Educationis of 1806.
The new state-order increased the number of grades in the lower-secondary schools from three to four, aiming at more time for Latin teaching. It excluded Geometry and Geography. In the upper classes of the secondary schools, it excluded Physics, reduced the natural sciences, but increased the amount of lessons in Latin rhetorics. It was a new compromise between Hapsburg absolutism and the refeudalised Hungarian nobility; the new content served as training for the sons of Hungarian noblemen for public office and life.
The universal assembly of Lutherans accepted these tendencies in the spirit of the international neo-humanism. This denomination was an urban one in Hungary, with a much stronger lay leadership. It represented a much more progressive idea than the Calvinist one, which suggested a very conservative plan for the colleges, reinforcing Latin, prohibiting the use of Magyar in the private conversations of pupils, and excluding World History, Physics and the Kantian theology. We could therefore say that the conservative forces gained a majority in the autonomous institutions and that conservatism was not imposed solely by the Hapsburgs in the period of absolutism and Napoleonic wars, but that it had wide support in the denominations as well.
The modernist forces were a minority in the state administration and in the parliament. When, after a long pause, the parliament had opened its 1825 session, the educational committee turned back to feudal interests, to the traditional educational system. They made a political compromise with the Hungarian nationalists, suggesting that one subject should be taught not in Latin, but in Magyar in the secondary schools.
The social output of the new educational system created a traditional and anti-modernist middle-class. The sole modern Hungarian higher educational institute was the University of Mining. It was taught by traditional lecturers at the end of the eighteenth century, but in 1808 it had to start a pre-university course for Mathematics and Physics because students coming from the secondary schools were not qualified for university education.
We could say that in the process of refeudalizing Hungarian society, traditional forces used Latin and neo-humanist values as a weapon against modern pragmatic education. Joseph II was verified by the course of events: the traditional controllers of the Hungarian school system and of public administration saved Latin as the symbol of their power and monopolies. The forces supporting the introduction of the national language were a minority in Hungarian society, and the compromise of the late 1820s showed this. The expansion of the Magyar language was more important for Hungarian politicians than the general modernization of the school-system.
Latin had gradually become an obstacle to the most important Hungarian Protestant tradition of education - studying abroad. The language of introduction in the most popular German universities became German, and the Hungarian students understood only their own traditional Latin. From the 1830s the leaders of the reform movement emphasized the pragmatic orientation of developed foreign nations as a reference and example for Hungary. They characterized the supporters of Latin as creators of a "holy language" to preserve the required social gap between them and the lower social strata.
The Calvinist district ordered in 1833 that the language of instruction must be Magyar. The general assembly of Lutherans ordered it in 1841. However, considering the fact that education remained as conservative as before, the order made a humble influence. The Debrecen college concentrated on Latin grammatics and religious studies. World history and natural sciences were excluded from the curriculum. The Calvinist clergy leaders refused any kind of modernization. Thus, the inner modernization of the educational system led by reformist Hungarian intellectuals remained unsuccessful without substantial political support from outside the educational system.
Government support for educational modernization occurred as a by-product of other political aims. For example, the removal of Latin as the language of instruction from the schools happened only by passing a general act after the 1843/44 second act had ordered Magyar to be the language of letters coming from the King, the text of acts, the conversation of parliament and the juridical bodies. The 1843/44 ninth act then ordered it to become the language of the schools. Another example comes from Kossuth - the new leader of the opposition. In 1841 he supported the teaching of Greek, but later changed his mind, and in 1846 when the national assembly of Lutherans discussed the curriculum, he suggested Greek only as a facultative subject, preferring modern subjects like chemistry. The reason for the change was clear: in the course of the late 1830s the reform-opposition concentrated on the question of laws and symbols, and Kossuth as the leader of the opposition, demanded the ethical patterns of ancient democracy as an ideologically useful framework for his own political activity. But from the early 1840s opposition started to concentrate on the industrialization of Hungary, and the natural sciences became much more important than neo-humanist values.
The king's order of 1845 was a relatively modern product - more modern than the situation was in the autonomous Protestant territories. It made the 1st and 2nd grade of elementary school compulsory for everybody, and the enrollment of those schools became the compulsory activity of the municipal body, not the church.
The fact that modernization of education was competitional and not ideological can be illustrated by the fact that the Protestant modernists won in their own circles only after the victory of modernist forces in the state-controlled Catholic sphere. Only two years later the more modern group of Protestants took over the orthodoxy in Transylvania, integrating the natural sciences and moving Latin studies to the upper level of secondary schools. The Lutherans created an 8-grade secondary school in 1846 where the reading of classical authors had a literary aim. They opened the curriculum for Hungarian literature and natural sciences. These plans were ready some years earlier but only competition with the king's order gave enough impetus for the supporters to carry out these plans.
Magyar as the language of instruction became accepted everywhere, but modern studies were not. This new nationalism of the Protestants encouraged the new Slovakian nationalist movement which, however, met with resistance from the government. The Lutherans had ordered Magyar to be the language of instruction in schools having Slovakian pupils in Northern-Hungary, and when Professor Stur, the teacher of Slovakian language asked for help from the Metternich government, the leaders of the Hungarian Lutheran Church removed him.
1. A magyar nevelés története, I. kötet. Tankönyvkiadó, Bp., 1988. [The History of Hungarian Education]; Fináczy, Ernő: A magyarországi közoktatás története. Bp., 1899. [The History of Hungarian Public Education]; Mészáros, István: Az iskolaügy története Magyarországon. Akadémiai Kiadó, Bp., 1981. [The History of Educational Affairs in Hungary]; Kosáry, Domokos: Művelődés a XVIII. századi Magyarországon. Akadémiai Kiadó, Bp., 1980. [Culture in Eighteenth Century Hungary]; Nagy, Péter Tibor: The Meanings and Functions of Classical Studies in Hungary in the 18th-20th Centuries. Educatio, Bp., 1991.
2. Mészáros, István: A magyar nevelés története, 1790-1849. Tankönyvkiadó, Bp., 1968. [The History of Hungarian Education: 1790-1849]; Kornis, Gyula: A magyar művelődés eszményei. Bp., 1927. [The Ideals of Hungarian Culture]; Dokumentumok a magyar nevelés történetéből. Bp., 1966. [Documents from the History of Hungarian Education]; Kosáry, Domokos: Napóleon és Magyarország. Magvető Könyvkiadó, Bp., 1977. [Napoleon and Hungary); Fináczy, Ernő: A magyarországi középiskolák. Bp., 1896. [The Hungarian Secondary Schools]; Bajkó, Mihály: Kollégiumi iskolakultúránk. Tankönyvkiadó, Bp., 1976. [School Culture in Colleges]; Magyarország története, vol. 5-7. Akadémiai Kiadó, Bp., 1978-1989. [The History of Hungary]; Kármán, Mór: Közoktatásügyi Tanulmányok. é.n. [Studies on Public Education]; Szilágyi: A gimnáziumi oktatásügy. Sárospatak, 1861. [Secondary School Affairs]; Kornis, Gyula: A humanizmus és realizmus. = Magyar Művelődés, 1925/79. [Humanism and Realism]
Tendencies of educational policy
The revolution of 1848 introduced a law making school attendance compulsory for all, and public instruction free and primarily the responsibility of communities. Besides the communities, the various denominations were also permitted to maintain public schools. This measure was adopted by the lower house of Parliament, but in view of disturbances that arose because of the war of independence, the upper house overturned it. Previously, however, Article 20 of the law of 1848 had declared that the expenses of all churches and schools shouldered by denominations should be defrayed by the state. Hungarian teachers from the entire country held a general congress to fix the underlying principles of the law regarding a unified public instruction. Its measures were inspired by an extreme "democratic spirit" - a professional expansion. It wanted to unite all education under state control and to place the administration of education on an entirely autonomous basis. It declared further that religious instruction was a private matter.
Since the existence of a strong empire in Central Europe to block the expansion of the Romanov Empire was a West European necessity, the British government tolerated the common invasion and triumph of Hapsburg-Romanov troops in Hungary. The new organization of Hungarian secondary schools was defined for the entire Austrian empire by the Entwurf of 1849. The author of this plan was the famous Austrian school organizer Exner and the great Prussian philologist, Bonitz. Therefore, this plan represented a compromise between the modernist technocrats and absolutists. It defined the general intellectual and material conditions for public schools and declared that any school not attaining these standards would forfeit its official accredited status. The strict and consistent enforcement of this order caused much grief and hatred, yet ultimately it was useful for modernization because it compelled school supporters to do their utmost to raise the level of schools by obtaining more teachers, giving them better training, and providing satisfactory school buildings and equipment.
The Entwurf united the former six-grade Gymnasium and two-grade philosophy and academy course into an eight-grade Gymnasium. The Curriculum was so constructed that the lower Gymnasium (for the age group of 10-14 year-olds) offered a relatively complete yet simpler general education for those who did not desire to continue their studies. It also offered the appropriate basis for those wishing to finish the higher Gymnasium and later to attend the university. Permeated as it was with the neohumanist spirit, this curriculum struck a balance between the real elements of education. Compared with the archaic Ratio it was a great advance both in its content of material and its instructional method.
The Entwurf was the first order to organize secondary schools of a pragmatic tendency and to establish Real schools in order to satisfy the practical and technical needs of education. Like the gymnasium, the Real schools also fell into two divisions. The upper school was a three year course aimed to prepare for higher technical schools. The lower school was rather flexible - it might have two, three or four year courses according to local circumstances and needs. Real schools spread rapidly, for already in 1865 twenty-six of them were active in the country. The technocrats were strong enough to create a technical and practical school, but could not, however, assimilate this school to the humanist Gymnasium.
The training and education of teachers was also mandated by the Entwurf. It raised the level of requirements for specialized training and pedagogic preparation of teachers. It replaced the old system in which one teacher taught all subjects to the class for one in which he taught only in his field of specialization. The introduction of maturity examinations was also aimed at raising the standard of the schools. The development of instructional materials, of adequate equipment and of a library for teachers was made a serious duty. The standard of textbooks and their necessary uniformity was also assured. The educational system was modernized but generated serious conflicts, especially where the Protestants were in the majority, but had a small and poor secondary school.
When in 1860 the international crisis of the Hapsburg empire broke out, control of Hungarian public education was transferred from Vienna to Buda, and the reorganization of a national educational system initiated. By 1867, a new ministry was responsible for governing the country and in 1868 it presented an education act mandating general compulsory school attendance from the age of six to fifteen. The elementary school had two courses: day school, lasting six years, and continuation school, lasting three years. The law prescribed the creation of a greater number of higher elementary schools for the more populous communities in order that more advanced instruction might be brought to the people, especially in the field of practical, agricultural, and industrial knowledge.
The law also regulated compulsory teaching and the right to establish public schools. The ideology of the law was liberal: full freedom and equality in the field of elementary education to bring the nation closer together, divided as it was into denominations, nationalities, and languages. Elementary schools were permitted to be opened and maintained by any fictitious or natural person, denomination, state, society or individual. And since denominations were often closely linked with a particular nationality, individual nationalities such as Romanians, Serbs, Slovaks and Germans could freely establish schools according to their denomination. According to the new law, each pupil was to be instructed in his mother tongue if that language was generally used in the parish. The liberty of choice was guaranteed - if 30 parents disliked sending their children to the local denominational school, the municipality had to establish a new school for them. This special situation allowed the traditional forces to control the question of educating minorities.
The law regarded communities as primarily responsible for the establishment of schools and placed this duty upon them. The role of the state was limited primarily to assisting communities in need of financial aid. The state however, also reserved the right to establish similar schools anywhere on its own initiative. The original plan was that the state and the municipal school should be free of charge, but the denominations feared competition from nondenominational schools, so at last the school system was financed by 1) local special taxes - parents who sent their children to the denominational school and paid the denominational school taxes were not forced to finance the common school 2) fees 3) general local sources 4) state aid.
The elementary school teachers, a great majority of whom were employed by the churches and functioned not only as intellectuals but as servants of the church as well, wanted to form coalitions with the state administration. They wanted to limit local control, particularly that of local parents. They argued that parents were not qualified and only wanted guarantees from the state against the churches, the sponsors of the schools.
Those who refused local control could not ground their ideology in liberalism. Refusing church control denied them legitimacy based on religious grounds. So they sought legitimacy in supporting those politicians, in the government and in the opposition, who wanted to use the school system "to Magyarise" all of the nations of the Hungarian Kingdom, including the several million Slovakians and Romanians. The act of 1907 attacked the liberal traditions of education. It dictated a "minimal salary" for the elementary school teachers of churches, forcing church schools to ask for state aid. It also proclaimed that denominational schools, for example Orthodox schools for Romanians and Serbs, which received state aid had to teach in the Magyar language. This provision also extended to "public officials" - elementary school teachers employed by churches. Thus, the exclusion of market and competition forces from the educational system began at the turn of century.
Secondary education was addressed by the act of 1883, which stabilized the 8 grade secondary school of Entwurf. It defined the rules for establishing secondary schools, as in the case of elementary schools, in a liberal spirit. Secondary schools might be founded by anybody - provided the requirements of the law were fulfilled and subject to State supervision as stipulated by law.
The secondary schools of the country fell into three groups - those under state control, those under state guidance, and those under state supervision. The inner life, curriculum and organization of the state-owned and so-called "royal" secondary schools were determined in the name of the king by the government which had power over them. In practice though, the strong monastic orders could create a special image for their schools. The schools in the second group, under state guidance, were a totally new group because, prior to the act, these schools were under complete state control. The group was composed of schools maintained by authorized bodies, communities, societies, individuals and certain endowed secondary schools. In matters of pedagogy they were obliged to conform to state requirements, though in other matters they could act independently within prescribed limits of state supervision. Although the king had power of supreme supervision over non-Catholic denominational secondary schools, the Protestant and Greek Orthodox schools regulated their own organization and system. The liberal state wanted a unified educational system, so it urged the creation of an autonomous Catholic body - a council elected by Catholic believers which would give them responsibility over the school, its welfare and financial questions. The hierarchy refused this dangerous solution, and without it the state could not give the same independence to the Catholic schools as it did to the Protestant ones. Since the state granted the same amount of aid to autonomous denominational schools as it did to state aided schools, the same curriculum was to be followed as that used by secondary state schools. The result of this arrangement was that within a decade all secondary schools taught in conformity with one and the same curriculum, since all the autonomous denominational secondary schools took advantage of the opportunity for state aid. But, the educational system remained pluralist in this spirit and level: not only the big denominations but also Budapest-council organized schools competed for students, for money from parents, for ideological control of the area, and the later control over ideological indoctrination of the elite coming from those schools. The Act of 1883 on secondary schools ordered two types of Hungarian secondary schools. In the so called Gymnasium, Latin became the strongest subject with 49 lessons, Hungarian got 30 lessons and Greek gained 19 lessons. In the Realschools, Latin and Greek were not subjects, and the natural sciences and living languages ruled the curricula.
It was a great opportunity for the Hungarian middle-class to choose between different values and careers according to their life-strategies. In this period, the coalition between the traditional middle class, originating from the nobility, and the modern middle class, originating from Hungarian, German and Jewish merchants, entrepreneurs and industrialists, was still stable. It meant that in the ideological sphere of society the values of the traditional middle-class took over, and the values and habits of the latter group took over in the economy. The faculties of law, theology, humanities and medical sciences thus excluded the students of the Realschools. Since the prestige of the Realschool was much lower than that of the Gymnasium, the parents who would have preferred a more practical school in a modern society were pressed to send their children to a Gymnasium. Although the choice of schools appeared free, parents became frustrated by the rigid rule of Greek.
The liberal social movement in Western Europe which since 1880, set itself against the privileged academic status of Gymnasiums and also against the general compulsory study of Greek, exerted its influence upon Hungarian Gymnasiums as well. This oppositional group succeeded in expressing its interests in the act of 1890 - presented by the modernist minister of the Hungarian Kulturkampf. It stipulated that Greek language might be substituted in the secondary schools by freehand drawing and a study of Greek art and Greek classics in Hungarian translations. The same law provided, furthermore, that pupils taking the substitution course might be admitted to the faculties of law or medicine at the universities, but admission to the studies of theology, philology, philosophy or history could be had only upon examination in Greek language on the basis of its maturity requirements.
In 1883 the conservative curriculum lobby, comprised primarily of churches, reached a compromise with the government based on the principle of: "we will accept the opening of a secondary school without Latin if you accept the preservation of our position in the main type of secondary school." The second compromise was forced by the government in 1890. In the bargaining process, the conservative forces accepted the exclusion of Greek as the compulsory language from the main type of secondary school, but they preserved Greek literature and increased the number of Latin lessons in the curriculum. Latin's position was stabilized in the schools after this compromise.
The competition for prestige amongst the schools demonstrated the public demand for Latin as a facultative subject in the Realschool too. From 1896 the Realschools gained the right to organize maturity exams in Latin, because Latin was an essential component of school-prestige. But in the longer run, the compromise-oriented approach of the more modern part of the Greek lobby was not successful: the plan of the new act in 1916 suggested the exclusion of Greek and preferred modern languages. The new forces of modernization, the radicals and social democrats - in opposition to conservative-liberal government which had been the force of modernization in the last decades - demanded a general school reform. They declared that the values of neohumanism were old fashioned, and that modern times required more natural sciences, sociology, and modern languages instead of Latin and even of a great part of History and Hungarian.
Felkai, László: Eötvös Jószef. Akadémiai Kiadó, Bp., 1979.; Eötvös, József: Kultúra és nevelés. Szépirodalmi Kiadó, Bp., 1976. [Culture and Education]; Köte, Sándor: Közoktatás és pedagógia. Tankönyvkiadó, Bp., 1975. [Public Education and Pedagogy]; Mann, Miklós: Trefort Ágoston. Akadémiai Kiadó, Bp., 1982.; Trefort, Ágoston: Beszédek. Bp., 1888. [Speeches]; Moritz, Csaky: Der Kulturkampf in Ungarn. Graz, 1967.; Csudáky: Csáky. Bp., 1913.; Molnár: Wlassics. Bp., 1907.; Mann, Miklós: Oktatáspolitikai koncepciók a dualizmus korából. Bp., 1987. [Political Conceptions of Education in the Epoch of Dualism]; Nagy, Péter Tibor. The Social and Political Status of Hungarian Elementary School Teachers. The Social Role and Evolution of the Teaching Profession in Historical Context. Joensuu, 1988.
The rise of conservatism and ideology
in control of Hungarian education
The Civic Democratic Revolution broke out in Hungary in 1918. The newly elected democratic government was, however, unable to withstand the massive power of the Entente and thus was forced to agree to the Trianon Treaty, which cut off 70% of historical Hungary. Hungary was reduced from an empire to a dismembered state. It was separated from its people, its land, its resources and its national pride. Since the Civic Democratic Government had presided over this debilitating treaty, it no longer could claim legitimacy in its rule since it had lost the support of the people. This national agony opened up a power vacuum that could only have been closed by a tight conservative government.
These extreme right wing forces of Horthy - helped into government by the Romanian troops, and respected by the entente powers - decided on an absolutely new antiliberal policy of education. Liberal and left wing teachers were asked to leave the schools, taking part in holy worship became a compulsory part of schooling, entrance exams were initiated in the secondary schools, and the first act in Europe limiting Jewish students' entry into universities was enacted. But, as in Europe, the situation in Hungary began to consolidate and the new government of 1922-1931, seeking international respect and international loans excluded the extreme rightist elements in the policy of education. The political inquisitions against teachers were stopped as were the antisemitic movements in the universities.
Since the peace treaty prohibited both the increase of military forces and an aggressive foreign policy for the country, the lobby of the educational administration was able to get new resources, arguing that a well-educated elite would be the best propaganda for gaining support from the Western powers. The arguments followed ideological lines as well: a well controlled education of the masses could save the society from infection by revolutionary ideologies. These arguments kept educational planning in the sphere of ideology and away from control by rational economical and monetary tools. Thus, education could not be an open arena for a struggle between economic and social forces.
The new conservative minister, Kuno Klebelsberg, wanted to reach a compromise with the leaders of the Catholic and Protestant churches and especially with the Catholic orders, who wanted to reinstate the teaching of Latin and Greek in their original form. The minister, representing the interests of the Christian middle class (officials of public sectors with their etatist attitudes), opposed the above mentioned efforts. The Christian middle-class needed some Latin to reinforce its historical legitimation versus the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie and the lower social strata, but they also needed more modern studies such as modern languages. The regime was ruled not only by aristocrats and public administrators but by the industrial capitalists as well, and they needed a much more practical schooling with modern languages and sciences for their clerks and engineers - a school without Latin and Greek. After the war, newly emancipated lower social groups emerged to express their demand for schooling. The Christian middle class, though, preserved its hegemony strictly in the Gymnasiums.
These demands influenced the new act of 1924, which introduced a new type of secondary school between the Gymnasium and Realschool - the "Realgymnasium". This was in direct opposition to the intention of the law of 1890, which aimed at maintaining the secondary school for academic studies. The authors of the new law, felt however that the general culture could assume varying components. The two important elements of the new act were the differentiation of the various types of secondary schools and the guarantee of equal access to the various types according to the qualifications of candidates for higher institutions. The third element pointed out that the so-called "national values" could not be the subject of any pluralism. In the previous period the number of Geography, History, Hungarian language and literature lessons was much higher in the Gymnasiums than in the Realschools. In the new system, the curriculum and the number of national subject lessons was the same in every type of secondary school - following the nationalist legitimacy of the new regime.
In determining the various types of secondary schools the reform had represented the following approach:
- There was a "social demand" above all for a type of secondary school which could revitalize the intensive consciousness of the Hungarian historical past. This school type was the Gymnasium, where Greek, Latin and literature held the central position. Greek gained the greatest number of lessons since 1885.
- The second school type, the Realgymnasium, could not provide the original classical sources of the modern culture, but concentrated on Latin culture with a restricted historical focus, becoming as it had been, a reduced Gymnasium. The place of Greek was substituted by modern languages and literature.
There was a need for a type of secondary school where modern culture predominated, namely, subjects like modern languages, mathematics, and natural sciences. The Real schools operated on the notion that the study of Latin and Greek was forced upon students and by placing the historical past into the foreground, prevented them from obtaining modern culture and qualifications.
The result was that a large majority of secondary schools became Realgymnasiums, represented by 71 institutions, while there were only 26 Gymnasiums and 21 Realschools.
Another fundamental idea of the reform in 1924 was the creation of a uniform secondary school qualification giving equal access to any institutes of higher education. The reaction of the higher education lobby was not positive. "Serious objections might be raised against this regulation," said the representatives of the universities. According to their arguments, a pupil finishing a Realschool, without knowledge of Latin would encounter great difficulties in the study of Roman law, legal history, medicine, or the specialized fields of history, philology and philosophy. Such a student, however, could make up any deficiency. Even thus far the Realschool had attempted to overcome this shortage by offering Latin as a special subject. Quite similarly, the deficiencies of the Gymnasium and the Realgymnasium in the field of descriptive geometry were compensated by the inclusion of special subjects in the curriculum. The universities supported these efforts by offering special courses in the mentioned fields. As a rule, however, such cases were rare, for nearly everyone chose a career for which his previous study had prepared him; a Realschool graduate very rarely applied for admission to theology or classical philology. Thus, the choice of the secondary school generally determined the choice of university.
After the central regulations, a gradual change took place. In the gymnasium, from 1931, it was possible to choose a modern language instead of Greek. Of the twentynine Gymnasiums, only ten offered no choice over the language to be studied. Three of them were enrolled by archbishops and two prepared for the Protestant theology. Having this freedom of choice, the great majority of pupils chose living languages despite the fact that the churches preferred Greek. In 1932, another 6 Gymnasiums took living languages and in 1933, three more did.
The government integrated the Bürgerschule into elementary education. The Burgerschule was a school type from the 19th century for the age group of 10-14. It was intended for the lower middle classes who did not want to enroll their sons and daughters in the Gymnasium - into the elementary educational system. As the guarantee of elementary schooling was the responsibility of every municipality, the guarantee of the Bürgerschooling became the responsibility of the bigger villages and the towns. More than a thousand elementary schools were built in the central part of the country where basic literacy and frequent absenteeism were very problematic.
After the resignation of the conservative government in the world economic crisis of 1929, rightwing conservatives took over the government and the Ministry of Education. The new nationalist government - especially education minister Bálint Hóman - planned the unification of the contents of not only "national school subjects", but of the whole of education, restricting any kind of alternatives in training. These political tasks were served by efforts like the introduction of centrally granted permission for the existence of non-state owned schools (municipal and denominational schools). Following the new political direction, it was necessary to form a fixed curriculum of Latin for everybody who would have liked to be a member of the middle-class, but it was not necessary to learn more languages than German, not necessary to understand the liberal spirit of modern English or French culture, and finally not necessary to learn Greek. So in 1934 a new secondary act was passed in the parliament.
In the 1930s the teaching of Latin and the spreading of Roman culture served many ideological and quasi-political groups in the political arena of education. However, there were severe conflicts between them. Latin, in Hungarian ideological and historical consciousness in the 1930s, symbolized the 1000 year-old tradition of Hungary as a Western country, similarly contrasted by the national minority and Pan-Slavist movement with Greek-Catholicism. It symbolized the common culture of Hungarian nobility using Latin as the common language of law and official documents. Anybody coming from a non-Magyar family could be integrated to the Hungarian ruling class through this traditional language. Latin was used in courts and in other spheres of official life, but it was spoken in private life as well. Latin symbolized national independence against Austrian or German expansion too. From the view of churches, Latin was an important language for the Catholic and for the Protestant groups. Latin symbolized the "old values" against "modern times" as it did everywhere in the world; but in Hungary in the 1930s, it carried two different political messages: the anti-Nazi ideology from one aspect, and the very close Italian Hungarian relationship from the other.
An important turning point can be identified in the Latin lobby of this time. Up to the 1930s the liberal forces, mainly the Jewish industrial, commercial and financial entrepeneurs supported Latin-free and modern secondary schools. As the expansion of Nazi Germany continued, the liberal capital in Hungary started to support Latin as a value against Nazism, in contrast to Germany, where antiquity was used for pro-Nazi propaganda. All of these liberal or anti-Nazi groups supported the government when it declared Latin a "national subject", and the new curriculum which concentrated on national subjects preferred Latin. The Latin curriculum started to incorporate some Middle East Latin, but practically, there was not enough time for managing the changes in school activity. The new act reduced the autonomy of Protestant schools, and made the secondary school teachers public officials too, reducing the competition and market on the secondary level also. From 1883 to 1934 every student who passed a maturity finals examination of a secondary school controlled by professional forces had the right to enter a university.
With the new act, pupils who wanted to go to university needed a special note on their certificate by the maturity committee. This permission was granted not on professional grounds but on ideological and political viewpoints. The reform of administration of education in 1935 gave such strong rights to the visitors and inspectors elected by government to the state and non-state schools that this sphere got closer to totalitarianism, than any other sphere.
Educational policy of this period was thus characterized by tight central control, decreased freedom of teachers, loss local society's control over schools and a decrease in competition between schools. These factors helped the government guarantee the traditional structure of Hungarian society. After 1945 the stabilizing function of education served the needs of a conservative society. It was a tool for the forces who wanted the stabilize their power and legitimacy through education. The structure, the system of control and the habits were adapted from the previous regime.
Huszti, József: Klebelsberg Kunó. Bp., 1941.;
Kornis, Gyula: Magyarország közoktatásügye a világháború óta. Bp., 1927. [Hungarian Educational Affairs Since World War I];
Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1924. [Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary School Teachers];
Országgyűlés képviselőházának naplója, 1920-1931. [Diary from the House of Representatives in the Parliament];
Papers of the National Archives: Reports of instructors.OL K 592.; Hóman, Bálint: Művelődéspolitika. Bp., 1938. [Cultural Politics];
Nemzetnevelők Könyvtára, 1935-1944. [Library of National Educators];
Protestáns Tanügyi Közlöny, 1924. [Bulletin of Protestant Educational Affairs]; Magyar Középiskola, 1924. [Hungarian Secondary Schools];
Szabolcs, Ottó: A magyar nevelés története az 1920-as években. Manuscript. [The History of Hungarian Education in the 1920's];
To the history of sport politics and physical education
in Hungary between the world wars
In the historiography of sport you find some common place. One of the most well known common place that we can describe the situation of the sport-life of a country in the level of militarization of sport life. Historians following that paradigm, shows the cleavage: the one side of the arena you can find the forces of militarization, the other side you can find the "civil values". In this scenario the precondition of "progressivity" of the physical education that it has no a special attention to the military training.
In this lecture I will describe a little different arena.
As all of similar movements the physical education initiated as aim of Pestalozzian private - teachers, and other social groups. They never mentioned the role of premilitary training - but they were not politicians.
The government of 1848 planed the physical education as the part of curriculum of the school. And this plan underline, that the physical education have to pay special attention to the need of defence. The act of 1868 declares the physical education a compulsory subject in elementary school with attention to the military exercise, and the same in the act of 1883 for secondary schools.
It shows that the physical education as school activity has original and natural context to the question of military. But - originally - the physical education as school subject has a function against the traditional interpretation of the military service. In the traditional interpretation the military service is a privilege of nobility, and physical education for the nobility a natural part of that privilege. Later the soldiering became a profession. The official soldier spends years and dozen of years in the army, so he does not need a physical education as a precondition of soldier activity.
The physical education as the prelude of military service is a typical liberal idea: everybody who visited the school has possibility to be a soldier, to be officer, the army not a "special order" in the society. The ordering of the subject of physical education "with special attention to military service" mean that the school - in this element - serve the idea of equal rights of citizens.
So - among the political actors - the physical education as a premilitary activity is a normal liberal "civil" aim. And because it is a normal civil aim it could be under the supervision of educational authorities.
The circles of sports and physical education activity aimed the integration to the normal school life, and not special right and special possibilities among boys and girls. These aims - the right of "health" "right of body" was integrated into the modernisation process of schooling and curricula.
In the period of Austria Hungarian Empire the organisation of physical education teacher took up its cause supporting the idea of "more moving", "greater liberty" "real life contra classical values", "the improving of complexity of personality" in the school. In that time they formed a coalition with the liberal and radical opposers of the traditionalist - confessionally determined - secondary schools. After 1919, when - as almost everywhere in Central Europe - right wing forces got to the power, the key positions of the sport-policy got into the hand of retired military officers, leaders of militarist and paramilitary organisations. (Vargyai: 1983, Gergely, 1976, Szabo, 1996)
The highest level consultative body was the National Council for Sport, which president was so prestigious, that one occasion, he became minister of the ministry of education. (In the exhibition in the hall of this conference you will find his - Jeno Karafiath - photo.) The members of this council were pointed out by the military forces, by the Hungarian section of International Olympic Committee, the University of Sport, the Examination committee of coaches, the training college of military physical education teachers and fencing masters, the midlevel education bureaucracy, the Sport department of Radio, the National Alliance of Medical Doctors, the leaders of national sport associations (one leader for one branch of sport) the Boy scout movement, The National Alliance of University Sport, the National Alliance of Gymnastic. But the Organisation of Physical Education Teachers was not represented in the Council. The educational bureaucracy not pointed out physical education teacher, too. So not only the physical education teachers in the school had a very law prestige among his colleagues (which was natural in a confessional and traditional professional group), but the organisation of physical education teachers had a low prestige in the sport-life, too. (OL K 592 605)
There were two generations of the leaders of the physical education teacher's organisation. The typical characteristic of the first generation: the teacher belong to this group legitimated by the bureaucracy of education, the supervision, and after getting a relatively high prestige in the bureaucracy, got elected positions in the organisation of physical education teachers. The typical member of the younger generation started his career in the independent sport-movement - supported not by the educational but military government and political organisations. The typical leader from the older generation has a position in the ministry of education, member of the Council of Physical Education University. The typical leader of the younger generation had position in the Alliance of Hungarian Sport Associations, Organise the International Sport Congress of Youth in 1944. The older generation lead the organisation of physical education teachers in the 1920s and the early 1930s: the younger one got the position in the mid 1930s and in the years of war. (OL K 592 674)
The strong anti-intellectual accusation of the educational ideas of the liberal period (1867-1918) reasoned with the neglecting of physical education. The right wing racist reasoned: the superiority of Hungarians-Magyars originated from there racial features. Using this potentiality: it means saving the historical country as great power, non-using this: it means wasting the possibilities for the saving it. (Nemzetgyulesi 1920/4 359-363)
The physical education teachers urged the increasing the lesson number of physical education in the secondary level. They reasoned for the possibility of choosing the physical education as a major in the University, in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The pressing in into the conservative and prestigious faculty of arts and sciences of Budapest university remain unsuccessful. "The positive effect of physical education for the moral and intellectual education of students" - as argumentation was accepted only in the Psychological Institute of Szeged University: a much less prestigious (countryside and relatively young) institute. From 1930 the National Council Of Sport urged the more intensive sport in the universities, too. A Physical education department opened in the Technical University of Budapest. The demanding of sport in the university did not belong only to the militarist and sport-interested groups of the arena. They could form a coalition with the welfare political bureaucrats, who were interested in the health of students, and the activist of Student Union, who hoped some popularity from the leading of sport-movement among students against the science-oriented leaders of university. (Csirik: 1939, Szerbak 1931, 1944)
The physical education teachers demanded the guaranteeing special places for physical education for the pupils, and let them to - without charge - to the field and trucks of sport-associations. It was a very important demand for the right wing political forces, because reflecting for this they could attack the liberal private sport-associations. The physical education teachers demand some special honorary for the referee - chosen from them. There were some ministerial order which made possible the play-afternoons in the secondary schools. The physical education teachers demanded: make it compulsory. They urged the educational administration to prohibit the cultural, scientific clubs and organisations of pupils, to hinder the religious activity, because all of this took time from sport activity. (A mindennapi: 1936)
They demand the decreasing the pupil number of play groups, the increasing of the time of this activity to two lessons per week, and additionally a compulsory afternoon for this activity. These demands were fulfilled in the 1930s, so they started to demand the everyday physical education. The physical education teachers demanded the teaching of plays of "Hungarian temperature " and they thought it was the time forcing back the scout boy movement, with its Anglo-Saxon orientation. (OL K 592 685)
They demand creating sport-medals for pupils, a way of honorary which not depend from the traditional leaders of the schools - who did not think highly of physical education.
The initiation the third physical education lesson per week destroyed the balance in the schools. The school directors - trying to stop the expansion of local influence of physical education teachers - wanted to prohibit having more then 30 lesson per week per teacher. They reasoned with the "level of teaching", and they suggested: if there were not "enough" physical education teacher in the school, not to teach more then 30 lesson per week, the school would not involve more then 2 physical education lesson into the curricula. But the bureaucrats of educational administration realised how central issue it was, and ordered to directors: employ one more physical education teachers, or concentrate the total overtime money of the school for the pay of original physical education teacher. Some other places the additional sport activity was led a teacher pointed out by the local authorities to lead these activities in the all schools of town. It destroyed the general principle, that the director employs every teacher who led activities in the schools. (OL K 592 40)
The emancipation of armistice a possibility of remilitarization - it was one of the biggest success of right wing governments of the Austrian, Hungarian and German governments in the 1930s. This new possibilities open new field for the physical education teachers. An order from the January 1937 instructed the air-defence training of pupils. It was a real new element. In the 1920s that were a militarist/nationalist moral education in the school, which was integrated, in the educational viewpoints, lead partly by the educational administration. The levente movement - which was not absolutely similar to Balila or Hitlerjugend - worked separated from the school life, additionally. (In the exhibition you can get more information about this movement) The famous education politician of the 1920s, minister Klebelsberg declared: the "ministry of education is the defence ministry itself", because of the only chance of Hungary the cultural supremacy in the Carpathian Basin. The right wing political groups, the military circles, and the physical education associations hated this conception naturally. When one of the organisation of territorial revisionism conducted a competition for the 14-18 years old pupils, about "how could we get back our territories which were cut after the World War" the greatest part of essays reasoned with "cultural supremacy" and not by the necessity of strengthening the army. The right wing and the military forces were shocked by this fact. (Huszti: 1942:361)
In the new situation, the new minister not concentrated for the military moral education, but fulfilled the demand of Military circle: the training military studies in the school. The only compromise was - and it was the common interest of physical education teachers and the educational administration - that not military officers teach it in the schools, but inside teachers especially the physical education teachers. (Hivatalos: 202)
There was an other new element, namely the training of air-defence got some lessons not only in the curriculum of physical education (48 lessons), but in the chemistry, the health, biology. (10 lessons). The order defined precisely what kind of materials to be delivered in the lessons of natural sciences, so it was not possible to avoid the teaching of real militarist information. The using of some military brochure was compulsory. (OL K 592 827)
It meant two shifts in two meaning. 1. Up to now the teachers of sciences could remain apolitical (non-political), after it these teachers could be controlled regarding their political attitudes, too. 2. Up to now there was no any possibilities for one teacher to control an other teachers lesson, or activity. Now the physical education teacher - who was responsible for the whole military education - got some informal authority over his colleagues teaching sciences.
The curricula spread not only technical information about the bombs, explosions and fires, not only trained the behaviour at a time of air attack, but propagated the military policy of the country, declaring the air-force of neighbour countries as possible enemy. (PML: 1936:134)
There were some elements, which stressed not only the militarist - physical education circle of educational arena, but also sometimes the expansion of the possibilities of military forces itself. For example the government ordered that the male secondary school pupils have to visit ones a year army exercises. On these exercises not the physical education teacher but a professional military officer commanded the class. The directors of schools tried to hinder that visits and especially, the musketry instruction of pupils, because the spirit of these activities and the order of leading stood in opposite with the general spirit and principles of school. (Saad: 1943)
In the female secondary schools, only that women were allowed to teach the fencing, which had graduated on a summer course, delivered by the military school of fencing masters. (PML 5/1936) It meant that the female teachers of physical education - who were not the member the retired officers organisation and paramilitary organisations naturally - could be controlled and selected similarly then the male colleagues. In these examinations only military officers decided the moral, physical, and national, political suitability of women - and not scientist or educators. The organisation of graduated women, that national organisation of women - respected organisations - were not enough strong to hinder this expansion of military forces. (PML 15/1937)
There were huge shifts in the life of sport circle of schools from 1937.
In the 20s the badges were different in every school: after 1937, the badge was unified. In the 20s the registration to an other sport-club of a pupil need the permission of the school-director, after 1937, it depended not from the local forces, but the leaders of national centre of school sport-clubs. In the 20s the sport-clubs were totally supervised by the midlevel educational administration. After 1937 he had to share it with the commissioner of national centre of school sport-clubs. In the 1920s the captains - the pupils who led one-one branches in a school sport-clubs - were responsible for the school director; after 1937 they were responsible for the teacher, who led the sport-club, generally the physical education teacher. (OL K 592 819)
In the 1920s the supporting members have some formal and informal possibility to control the activity of clubs. After 1937 everybody had right to support the club, but he could not become a supporting member. The social control of activity of sport-clubs decreased. (OL K 592 827)
In the 1920s the sport-club initiated the local (district, county) sport races. The acceptance of this initiation depended from the support of the directors and educational administration. So the physical education teacher had to work together, had to make compromise with them. After 1937 only the national centre of school clubs could give permission for this. And the physical education teachers did not mind this shift, the loosing their relative autonomy, because the independence from the local directors and elite was most important for them, then the independence from the centre. (Budai-Kuncze: 1933)
In the 1920s the directors had right to form opinion about the question of summer interrupting, and the final dissolving. After 1937 only the physical education teacher who was responsible for the sport-club had right to do it. It means that the director had no right any more to decide what could happen, and what not in his own school in summer.
The expansion of the role and power of physical education teacher important concerning not only the military and sport education, but the general aspect of school-administration. (PML 82/1937)
The government need "commissioners" in the schools, who were independent from the traditional elite of the schools, from the director and who reported about the school life as not as element of intellectual society, but as an element of political society, who concentrate not for scientific values, but for weltanschauung values. The international relations of physical education teachers increased especially with the German right wing militarist organisation. (Misangyi:1935, Beldy:1943, Beldy:1942, Szabo: 1996)
These elements caused that a social group, which could be - in a democratic society - the professionals of the civil society (private sport-associations, sport-movement) in this political structure, became an alliance of the totalitarian forces.
From other aspect: the growing of physical education in the 19th century was an integration process. Its integrated to the school life: the physical education accepted the norms of a "normal school subject", the school started to accept the values, ideologies, and activities of physical education. The history of 1919-1944 period it was a "great success" of physical education - but it was a story of disintegration.
The research - which is the basis of this paper - was supported by the Soros Foundation and the OTKA- fund.
A magyar testnevelés mai helyzete... Bp 1929
A mindennapi iskolai testnevelés... Bp 1936
Beldy Alajos: Jelentés - Bp 1943
Beldy Alajos: A leventenevelés és nemzetszolgálat - in Magyar Középiskola 1942
Budai Anna-Kuncze Géza: Újszerű tornaünnepély... Bp 1933
Csirik Dénes: A testnevelés szellemi hatásai Bp 1939,
Földes Éva-Kun László-Kutassi László: A magyar testnevelés és sport története Bp 1982
Gergely Ferenc-Kiss György: Horthy leventei Bp 1976, Kossuth Kvk;
Hivatalos Közlöny 1936
Huszti József: Gróf Klebelsberg Kuno életműve Bp 1942, MTA
Misangyi Ottó: A testnevelés jelentősége a közművelődésben , Bp 1935;
Nagy Peter Tibor: French secondary school in Hungary in the 1930s- in History of International Relations in education , Pécs 1987 ;
Nagy Peter Tibor: The meanings and functions of classical studies in Hungary in the 18th-20th century Bp, Educatio 1991
Nagy Peter Tibor: The social and political status of the Hungarian elementary school teachers - in: The social role and evolution of the teaching profession in Historical Context , Joensuu 1989
Nemzetgyűlési Napló 1920/4
PML tank főig eln - The papers of the regional educational office of Pest County
Saad Ferenc: Honvédelmi nevelés, Bp 1943
Szabó Lajos: A közepiskolai testnevelés a polgári Magyarországon - Oktatástörténeti füzetek 2 ADU, Pomáz 1996
OL - National Archive. Papers of Ministry of Religion and Education
Szerbák Elek: Az egyetemi testnevelés. Bp 1931;
Szerbák Elek: Újabb közlemény a Műegyetem testneveléséről, Bp 1944.
Vargyai Gyula: A hadsereg politikai funkciói Magyarországon a harmincas években, Bp 1983
The meanings and functions of classical studies in Hungary
in the 18th-20th century
The Classical Studies in the Hungarian secondary schools transferred different values and attitudes in the different periods of Hungarian history - from language teaching to "Kulturgeschichte".
In the 18th century the new aristocracy was the most important supporter of educational modernization, they preferred more intensive French or German studies. Formal Latin-teaching - as a conservative value - was attacked by the most important Hungarian aristocrat-reformers. In the competition between Catholicism and Protestantism - and between the traditional and modern forces - the question of Latin teaching has played an important role.
The Jesuit Order built up the most internationalized educational system. They followed the old Ratio Studiorum of 1588. Their Latin teaching prepared the pupils for public carreers too, because the classical culture, the ability for argumentation etc. were based on the Latin language. They used international textbooks too.
The Piarist Teaching Order - without substantial financial resources - had to follow the existing demands for schooling in the educational market. They built good connections with the Hungarian nobility much more intensively then the Jesuits did. They brought a lot of modern values into the Hungarian school system. The Jesuits at first tried to hinder the expansion of Piarists, but realizing the good influence of competition in the school system the Pope's and the Emperor's court allowed the expansion of Piarists.
The Piarist Order tried to form regional profile for it's schools. One of the leaders of the order in 1757 made a plan where he tried to reduce Latin-teaching so that he could give preference to the History, Geography and Hungarian language.
The Lutherans - under the great repression of Habsburg - tried to import the pattern of Halle school. They started to teach more practical studies and open the doors for the Hungarian language. The leader of the most important lutheran school - Francke's student, Mátyás Bél - tried to integrate the teaching of French language, and to modernize Latin-teaching. In Pozsony/Pressburg/Bratislava they used the textbook of Christophus Cellarius (from Halle) which used a more classical Latin. Bél published a college-newspaper in Latin to make propaganda for the classical Latin among the pupils.
The Calvinists repressed by Habsburg absolutism, but supported by the Hungarian quasi-bourgeoisie followed the Latin values very intensively. In their schools non-Latin speaking was strictly prohibited. The enlightened noblemen were very dissatisfied with it. A professor - educated in Switzerland and the Netherlands - tried to initiate a curriculum reform - in the early 1740s. Professor György Maróthi tried to increase the amount of lessons of Geography, Mathematics and modern languages as opposed to Latin. He followed the pattern of Bél's school. (So the frontier between the modern and conservative forces was more strict than the frontier between the different denominations.) In Transylvania a modern Latin textbook was written - and its author tried to expand the role of Geography and Mathematics, too. This plan was hindered by the leaders of the college.
Generally the modernization - the escape from the hegemony of middle age Latin towards the antiquity and pragmatism - were based on the forces which were outside of the traditional controllers of the schools. This was typical in the protestant and in the catholic territories, too. These forces were ready for modernization and for taking part in a kind of competition.
The most well-known ideologists and experts of enlightened absolutism were against Latin too. A leader official of the Habsburg court - Count Niczky - in 1769 underlined that the state needed useful, employable citizens. Latin rhetoric was not enough, he stated, because it did not prepare for the activities of the state offices, nor the productive physical work.
The abandonment of the Jesuit Order in 1773 which controlled the 50 % of Hungarian schools removed the most important representative of the conservative Latin lobby in the educational arena.
The new general law of Hungarian Education (Ratio Educationis in 1777) excluded Latin from the agrarian type of basic school: arguing that it was not necessary for the peasantry. It ordered this school to be compulsory for all children.
The second grade was a three year long school which concentrated on the teaching of Latin.
That was the first legal decision where Latin was not a self-value but an element of pragmatism. Latin was the language of the state, the language which was used as a common language among the different nations in the Hungarian Kingdom.
The second new element in the Ratio Educationis was the expansion of German language. The new Ratio pressed its teaching very rigorously. The Ratio realized that Hungary was a multi-cultural and multi-ethnical country with its seven nations. It propagated the German as the source of modern literature and sciences. The German was a neutral language in denominational meaning: the language of German Protestantism and Habsburg Catholicism.
The protestants - realizing the plan of the court - were forced to create some reforms too. The Transylvanian educational committee made some efforts against the memoriters, and the "Calvinist Rome", Debrecen accepted Maróthi's old (and above mentioned) reform-plan.
The steps of court generalised an inner conflict in the protestant church between the modern lay noblemen and the leaders of the church. The leader of the modern wing - Bessenyei, the representative of Hungarian protestants in the court - suggested to accept of the Ratio, but the clergy-leaders of the Church declared that every element of the teaching belongs to the autonomy, so the protestant theology is a determining factor in any subject. They did not accepted the Ratio and removed Bessenyei. After it, Bessenyei accused the Latin as language of instruction - more intensively than the court: he suggested Hungarian as language of instruction in secondary schools, too.
The social tasks of absolutism became very clear reading the Norma Regia of Transylvania: it declared that it was necessary to prefer the nobleman in the secondary schools, (against the peasants) because the secondary schools were - and by the plan they should be - full of Latin grammatics (and Greek studies in Transylvania, where the Greek Christianity was also strong), and it was not necessary for the peasants to waste their time on the Latin.
The real turning point in the role of Latin was created by the language order of the enlightened emperor Joseph II in 1784. The using of Latin as official language, the order told, proved that the Hungarian nation was not on the level of a kind of high-culture. According to the official argumentation, the European countries had given up Latin, it was official language only in Poland, Transylvania, and Hungary. Joseph II had not declared to press the millions of people to change their language, he wanted only to change the official language from Latin to German. II Joseph's aim was not nationalist (as the nationalist historians would like to interpret), but a utilitarian one; for example in North Italy where the Italian language was useful for the modern public life, he did not want to change it to German.
The involving of German was much more natural than Hungarian, because it was the mother tongue of the most modern part of citizens, the town-Bürgerschaft, and the official language of the most modern factor of public administration - the financial administration. It had expanded in education from the decades before: it was the second language of elementary textbooks, it was a subject in the secondary schools, and it was the language of studies in German or Austrian universities. In Hungary and Croatia 338 secondary school teachers were employed in 67 state or catholic schools, and 90% of them knew German more or less. The Hungarian historians generally state that the protestant groups opposed the German language. But it is not so simple. Before the emperor's order the most modern group of protestants ambitioned the learning of German, they organised pupil-changes between the German speaking area - Szepesség - and Debrecen, the Magyar speaking Calvinist Rome. The popularity of a private school which was propagated by its good language teachers, was radically increased in the "educational market" in the 1780s, when the offices opened for the protestants.
In elementary schools Felbiger's reform ordered Latin to be only an extra subject for the best pupils and the noblemen. Latin teaching was told to be absolutely unnecessary for women.
The protestant schools which never followed the reforms of the court tried to modernize their teaching too. The most modern leaders pressured the conservatives divorcing the elementary education from the secondary, and excluding Latin from the elementary level. The Calvinist council of Transylvania in 1786 ordered the exclusion of Latin from the elementary schools.
In the secondary level the exclusion of Latin as the language of teaching, and conversion to an ordinary subject started in the 1780s forced by the court. At the university level the most modern colleges started their activity in German language (The college for finance experts and engineers from the 1770s) The training of basic-surgeons (not medicals) - from 1769 - happened in Hungarian, because they did not understand Latin, and in that time there was not any political pressure for the German language on such a relatively low level of social prestige.
The greatest part of Hungarian students learned in University of Göttingen where professor Christian Gottlob Heyne had taught classical philology. In Göttingen the antic patterns served a new German literature. The Hungarian classical philologist could not work in this way. When an ex-Jesuit - György Alajos Szerdahelyi - became the professor of Buda university, he only compiled Latin textbooks by copying foreign textbooks, and opposed any form of enlightment. Later he reached the official prohibition of Kant in Hungary. In 1784 when the emperor visited the university he was removed. The professor of History was a feudal and conservative scholar too, so they could not make a strong lobby for Latin teaching.
When the emperor died the feudal forces attacked every important state-orders. The traditional counties made that the new king reinforced Latin, as the language of teaching in the secondary schools. But on the other side the newer nationalist groups forced the expansion of Magyar in the non-Magyar speaking Hungarian areas. The conservative forces supported the mentioned decisions and moved it toward a kind of campaign against foreign professors of University of Pest. The professor of Latin and Greek, later religion - Esaias Budai - criticized the modern professors and excluded them from the university in 1802.
The act of 1792 put the Hungarian language as a compulsory subject in Latin secondary schools.
The parliament elected a special education committee whose president was Ürményi - one of the creators of Ratio Educationis of 1777 - but there were also some members of the committee who opposed any feature of enlightment, for example the above mentioned Szerdahelyi. Later, when the feudal interests won in Hungary, he got the job from the court to present a new system: the second Ratio Educationis in 1806.
The new state-order increased the grade number of lower-secondary classes from three to four aiming a greater time for Latin teaching. It excluded Geometry and Geography. In the upper classes of secondary school, it excluded Physics, reduced the natural sciences, but increased the amount of lessons in Latin rhetorics.
It was a new compromise between the Habsburg absolutism and the refeudalised Hungarian noblemen: the new content served as the training of the sons of Hungarian noblemen for offices and public life The universal assembly of Lutherans accepted these tendencies in the spirit of the international neo-humanism. Professor Schedius - a student of Heyne, professor of Aesthetics, Greek and Pedagogy - was not as conservative as the political line of the II Ratio. He offered an expansion of Bürgerschule, which was the base of elementary teacher training, and it trained for practical jobs. This denomination - which was an urban one in Hungary - represented a much more progressive idea, then the Calvinist one, which suggested a very conservative plan with the majority of Latin, the prohibition of using of Magyar in the private conversations of pupils, and the exclusion the World history and Physics in Debrecen College. The enlightened superintendent tried to hinder the expansion of conservatism in the Calvinist Sárospatak College, but after his death (in 1821) the conservative forces demolished his reforms like German-teaching or social sciences, the using of Magyar as the language of introduction and so on. After a short modernizational period - lead by a professor coming from Göttingen - the Kantian theology was repressed and the language of instruction became Latin again. In the Nagyenyed College the new curriculum of 1820 concentrated on Latin and prekantian dogmatic theology. The Calvinist elementary schools designed for peasants were full of Latin grammatics.
So we could say that the conservative forces gained a majority in the autonomic institutions like Protestant churches too, not just the Habsburg forced the conservativism on the Hungarian society in the period of absolutism and Napoleonic wars.
The modernist forces were in minority in the state administration and in the parliament too. When after a long pause the parliament had opened its 1825 session, the educational committee turned back to feudal interests, to the traditional, non-unified educational system. They made a political compromise with the Hungarian nationalists, suggesting that one subject should have been taught not in Latin, but in Magyar in the secondary schools.
The social output of the new educational system created a traditional and anti-modernist middle-class. The sole modern Hungarian higher educational institute was the university of Mining. It was enrolled by its traditional lecturers and recrutation basis at the end of 18th century, but in 1808 it had to start a preuniversity course for mathematics and physics because the level of pupils coming from secondary school was not acceptable anymore.
Latin had gradually became an obstacle to the most important Hungarian protestant tradition of education, studying abroad, because the language of introduction in the most popular German universities became German, and the Hungarian students understand only their own traditional Latin. We could state that in the process of refeudalisation of Hungarian society, traditional forces used Latin and neo-humanist values against the modern pragmatist education. Joseph II was verified by the course of events: the traditional controllers of Hungarian school system and public administration saved Latin as the symbol of their power and monopolies. The forces supporting the introduction of the national language were a minority in Hungarian society, and the compromise of the late 1820s showed: the expansion of Hungarian language was more important for the Hungarian politicians than the general modernization of school-system.
From the 1830s the leaders of reform movement attacked Latin. Széchenyi - the starter of the reform movement - showed the practical orientation of developed foreign nations, as a pattern and reference, Kölcsey - the poet of the national anthem - characterized the supporters of Latin as creators of a "holy language" which could preserve the required social gap between them and the lower social strata. The critics of feudal Latin were not linked to the attack against Latin civilization: Kölcsey in his education thesis preferred the reading of antic authors. Kossuth followed the same pattern.
The Calvinist district ordered in 1833, that the language of instruction would be Magyar. (The general assembly of Lutherans ordered it in 1841.) But considering the fact that education remained as conservative as before, the order made a humble influence. The Debrecen college concentrated on Latin grammatics and religious studies. Students did learn Hungarian history but the methodology was almost absurd: pupils had to translate the chapters of the Magyar textbook to Latin. World history and natural sciences were excluded from the curriculum. After the death of Budai - the above mentioned classical philologist who was the conservative superintendent of Debrecen district - a committee tried to put the natural sciences in the curriculum but the Calvinist clergy leaders refused it. In Sárospatak the conservative clerical forces took over in 1837 and with them the humanistic subjects got a reinforced hegemony.
Thus the inner modernization of the educational system lead by reformist Hungarian intellectuals remained unsuccessful without the substantial political support from outside the system.
The removal of Latin, as the language of instruction, from the schools happened only by passing a general act. In 1832/36 an act ordered to the registration births in Magyar, an 1839/40 act declared the use of Magyar in the letters sending from the parliament and municipalities to the king, in the work of governing body, and the Hungarian military troops. The next step was the use of Magyar in the circle letters of churches, and prohibition of the employment of clergymen who could not speak Magyar. The 1843/44 2nd act ordered Magyar to be the language of the letters coming from the King, the text of acts, the conversation of parliament and the juridical bodies. The 1843/44 9th act ordered it to became the language of the schools. (But in Transylvania Latin as the language of instruction remained till 1848.)
The king's order (1845) was a relatively modern product; more modern than the situation was in the autonomic protestant territories; it made compulsory the 1st and 2nd grade of elementary schools for everybody, and the enrollment of those schools became the compulsory activity of the municipal body, not the church. Latin as a subject started in the 3rd grade for those pupils who wanted to go to secondary schools. In secondary schools the main function of reading of Latin authors was the building of personality.
This concept shows the neo-humanism won in Latin teaching: it's function changed from the practical public language to a pedagogical and cultural aim.
The fact that modernization of education was a competitional and not an ideological one can illustrated by the fact that the protestant modernists won in their circles only after the victory of modernist forces in the state-controlled Catholic sphere. Only two years later the more modern group of protestants took over the orthodoxy in Transylvania, integrating the natural sciences and separating Latin studies in the upper level of secondary schools. The lutherans created an 8-grade secondary school in 1846 where the reading of classical authors had an literary aim. They opened the curriculum for Hungarian literature and natural sciences. These plans were ready same years earlier but only the competition with the king's order gave enough impetus for the supporters to carry out these plans.
Magyar as the language of teaching became accepted everywhere but modern studies were not. And the new nationalism of protestants made noised the new Slovakian nationalist movement; the lutherans ordered the Magyar to be the language of instruction in schools having Slovakian pupils in Northern-Hungary, and when Stur, the professor of Slovakian language asked for help from the Metternich government, the leaders of the church removed him.
After this turning point, as Magyar had become the language of the instruction, the question of Latin became a question of different pedagogical approaches on an ordinary school subject. In that time the intellectuals and teachers started to discuss rather on the inner content of Latin curriculum.
Latin became a school subject like Greek. In this point we have to take look at the teaching of Greek in the earlier periods The integration of Greek studies into Hungarian schools started in the period of Reformation, when Protestantism aimed for a new ambition, to create a new legitimacy for teaching religion and classical values. In this process they would have liked to prove that the Protestant schools - versus the Catholic ones - ready to show the "real Bible" and the independent way of learning the Bible.
The Protestant schools started to teach Greek language. But the hegemony of Latin remained.
In the competition for students - and for believers - the Jesuits started to provide Greek studies from 1548. As it well known the Jesuit educationalists followed an universal ratio, everywhere in the world, and the order tolerated only very limited discrepancy. In Hungarian Jesuit schools Greek gained fewer of lessons than in the universal ratio (3-6 hours per week).
According to the curriculum of the Protestant schools only the antic authors were taught, but the Jesuits integrated the Christian fathers too, to balance the influence of antic authors.
Ratio Educationis, as the first standardization of Hungarian school-system in 1777 declared Greek to be only a supplemental school subject. The schools which remained independent from the Ratio, showed a great variability.
In the stronger protestant areas the teaching of Greek was stronger not only in the protestant schools but the Catholic ones too. In the Catholic secondary schools in Transylvania - the land of four denominations - a relatively intensive Greek teaching was 6 (and in 1781:5) year long. Greek teaching was started in the Calvinist elite-schools from the elementary level, in the 7th and 8th year. The Catholic schools in Transylvania taught the grammatics, the German Lutheran ones taught the New Testament and Aisopos. In the strongest protestant territory, in the college of Debrecen, Greek was taught in the 8th year.
The collapse of enlightened absolutism brought a greater chance for the salvation of Greek. The II Ratio in 1806 ordered Greek to be a non-ordinary subject of philosophical level of the state-controlled schools. Other schools - following their own curriculum with a very great variability of content - taught Greek as an ordinary subject. From 1790 many plans tried to integrate Greek to the school, but the neo-humanism could not win, because Latin-lobby was stronger, the university did not supported it and the public opinion was in favour of the national schools. Kossuth - the new leader of the opposition - in 1841 supported the teaching of Greek, but later he changed his opinion and in 1846 when the national assembly of Lutherans discussed the curriculum, he suggested Greek only as a facultative subject, preferring rather modern subjects like chemistry. The reason for the change was clear: in the course of the late 1830s the reform-opposition concentrated on the question of laws, and Kossuth as the leader of the opposition demanded the ethical patterns of ancient democracy as an ideologically useful framework for his own political activity. But from the early 1840s opposition started to concentrate to the industrialization of Hungary, and the natural sciences became much more important than the neo-humanist values.
The aim of Latin - as a school subject - was changed in the above mentioned period: in the period of humanism it spread some ethical values, the reformation used Latin to make understood the New Testament. Neo-humanism turned back to the antic values, and for a better understanding of Hellenism, it started to prefer the antic texts for itself. This process helped to introduce the majority of grammatics and formal force of languages in education. Schedius and other curriculum-designers tried to concentrate on the ancient Greek values but grammatics remained in the center until 1850.
The two Ratios determined the material for Latin: Latin was declared to be a practical language of common life. Thus fluent Latin speaking and writing of letters, short stories, reports required in the lower three grades, and after the upper two grades the style had to be faultless in rhetorics. The textbooks did not concentrate on the classical writers, but they were rather chrestomatias. After a long struggle initiated by the neo-humanists, the new curriculum of secondary schools in 1848 declared the task of Latin teaching to be the study of classical writers. The aims of the Austrian Entwurf in 1850 were absolutely similar. This order defined the Gymnasium as an 8 grade elite-school, with well-qualified teachers, professional and technical norms, and state-controlled final exam. Since this orders Latin-knowledge was definited as ars dicendi, ars scribendi and later as ars legendi. The Entwurf brought the winning of the neo-humanists in Greek teaching too: it ordered only the dialect of Attica compulsory, and concentrated on the reading of antic writers and not on learning grammatics.
The number of Latin lessons was stabilised: The Entwurf ordered 47, the order of 1861:45, the order of 1871:44, the order of 1879:47, the order of 1899:44 lessons. The number of Greek lessons was not so stable. In 1850 it was 28 and in 1861 it declined to 8. It shows that the collapse of absolutism lead back to the idea of Kossuth. But after the compromise its lesson number started to be higher (1871:18, 1879:19, 1899:19).
The order declared the aims of Latin teaching to be the following:
abilities for the understanding and translating authors, on a stable basis of grammatics,
the knowledge of outstanding texts and understanding of the Roman people's life and thought,
understanding of the Roman element of Hungarian culture.
The Act of 1883 on secondary schools - presented by the liberal minister Ágoston Trefort - ordered two types of Hungarian secondary schools. In the so called Gymnasium, Latin became the strongest subject with 49 lessons, Hungarian got 30 lessons and Greek gained 19 lessons. In the Realschools Latin and Greek were not subjects, and the natural sciences and living languages ruled the curricula. It was a great chance for Hungarian middle-class to use the possibilities for choosing between different values and carreers according to their life-strategies, supporting pluralism in education.
But in this period, the coalition between the traditional middle-class - originated from the nobility - and the modern middle-class - originated from Hungarian, German and Jewish merchants, entrepreneurs, industrialists - was still stable. But in the ideological sphere of society the values of the traditional middle-class took over. The faculties of law, theology, humanities and medical sciences excluded the students of the Realschools. Since the prestige of Realschool became much lower than the Gymnasium, the parents who would have preferred a more practical school in a modern society, were pressed to send their children to Gymnasium. Despite being a "free choice" they became upset by the rigid rule of Greek.
The social movement in Western Europe which since 1880 set itself against the privileged academic status of Gymnasiums and also against the general compulsory study of Greek, exerted its influence upon Hungarian Gymnasiums as well. This oppositional group succeeded to express its interests in the act of 1890 - presented by the modernist minister of Hungarian Kulturkampf, Albin Csáky - which stipulated that a substitution of Greek language might be made. This substitution consisted of freehand drawing and a study of Greek art and Greek classics in Hungarian translations. The same law provided, furthermore, that pupils taking the substitution course might be admitted to the faculties of law or medicine of the universities, but admission to the studies of theology, philology, philosophy or history could be had only upon examination in Greek language on the basis of its maturity requirements.
This tendency explain why the number of Latin lessons had increased in the periods when - everywhere in Europe it had declined. At first time in 1883 Latin and Greek lobby made a compromise with the government according to the principle: "we tolerate the opening of a secondary school, without Latin if you tolerate the preserving our position in the main type of secondary school". The second compromise was forced by government in 1890. In the course of the bargaining process, the more modern forces of Greek and Latin lobbies formed a coalition against the old fashioned Greek teachers and clergymen. The reformist coalition tolerated the exclusion of Greek as compulsory language from the main type of secondary school, but they preserved Greek literature and the increased the number of Latin lessons in the curriculum. After the compromise Latin stabilized its position, the prestige-competition of schools showed the public demand for Latin as a facultative subject in the Realschool, too. The Realschools from 1896 gained the right of organizing maturity exam in Latin, because it was an essential component of school-prestige. But in a longer run, the compromise-oriented approach of the more modern part of Greek lobby was not successful: the plan of the new act in 1916 suggested the exclusion of Greek and preferred the modern languages.
The new forces of modernization, the radicals and social democrats - in the opposite of conservative-liberal government, which had been the force of modernization in the last decades - demanded a general school reform. They declared that the value of neo-humanism was old fashioned, and the modern times would need more natural sciences, sociology, and modern languages instead of Latin and even of a great part of History and Hungarian.
In this situation Latin lobby had to form a new argumentation which could divide the forces of modernization and which was capable forming coalition.
According to their approach, the aim of Latin and Greek teaching were:
understanding of two special nations, and men in the ancient age, which created modern European culture,
regulating thinking by the discipline of grammar, by the special methodological means of translation,
reading classic authors ennoble the taste and develop the volitional process of the pupils,
Latin was still living in the theology, science and technic,
the Roman languages are based on this language.
As a result of the modernization process in the 19th century, Greek lost its position in the secondary schools and Latin lost its evidence.
The collapse of historical Hungary in 1919, created a new situation in the teaching of antic languages.
The new conservative minister Kuno Klébelsberg wanted to make a compromise with the leaders of the Catholic and Protestant churches and especially with the Catholic orders, who wanted to rebuild the teaching of Latin and Greek in their original form. The minister representing the interest of the Christian middle-class, officials of public sectors with their etatist attitudes, opposed the above mentioned efforts. The Christian middle-class needed some Latin to reinforce its historical legitimation versus the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie and the lower social strata, but they also needed modern studies like modern languages. But the regime was ruled not only by aristocrats and public administrators but the industrial capitalists too: and the last group needed a much more practical schooling with modern languages and sciences for their clerks and engineers, a school without Latin and Greek.
After the war new and emancipating lower social groups expressed their demand for schooling. But the Christian middle-class preserved its hegemony strictly in their Gymnasiums.
The level of Latin teaching declined from 1907. The orders of Klébelsberg concerning Latin teaching, emphasized the importance of reading text pushed back the role of grammatics. (Hungarian experts knew that in the US Latin was thought as a living language by concentrating on texts and not for grammatics. The American Latin lobby realized the danger of teaching dead Latin.
In the balanced political situation it was impossible to make a final decision on Latin, but it was necessary to initiate a reform.
The new act in 1924 introduced a new type of secondary school between the Gymnasium and Realschool, the so called Realgymnasium. This was in direct opposition to the intention of the law of 1890, which aimed to maintain the secondary school for the academic studies. The authors of the new law, on the contrary held that the general culture, as far as its content was concerned, could assume varying components. The two important elements of the new act were the differentiation of the various types of secondary schools and the guaranty of equal access to the various types with reference to the qualifying of candidates for higher institutions. The third element pointed, that the so called "national values" could not be the subject of any pluralism: in the previous period the number of Geography, History, Hungarian language and literature lessons were much higher in the Gymnasium than the Realschool. In the new system the curriculum and the number of national subjects lessons were the same in every type of secondary school - following the nationalist legitimacy of the new regime.
In determing the various types of secondary schools the reform had represented the following approach:
- There was a "social demand" above all for a type of secondary school which could revitalize the intensive consciousness of Hungarian historical past. This school type was the Gymnasium, where Greek, Latin and literatures had got the central position. Greek gained the greatest number of lessons since 1885.
- The second school type, the Realgymnasium could not provide the original, classical sources of the modern culture, but concentrated on Latin culture with a restricted historical focus, becoming as it had been, a reduced Gymnasium. It taught Latin and the place of Greek was substituted by modern languages and literature.
- There was a need for a type of secondary school where modern culture predominated, namely, subjects like modern languages, mathematics, and natural sciences. The Real schools refuted the charge that the study of Latin and Greek was forced upon students and by placing the historical past into the foreground, prevented them from obtaining modern culture.
The result was that a large majority of secondary schools became Realgymnasiums, being represented by 71 institutions, while there were only 26 Gymnasiums and 21 Realschools.
Another fundamental idea of the reform in 1924 was the creation of a uniformed secondary school qualification giving the equal access to any institutes of higher education. The reaction of the higher education lobby was not positive. "Serious objections might be raised against this regulation" - said the representatives of the universities. According to their argumentation a pupil finishing a Realschool, without knowledge of Latin would encounter great difficulties in the study of Roman law, legal history, medicine, or the specialized fields of history, philology, and philosophy. Such a student, however, could make up any deficiency. Even thus far the Realschool had attempted to supply this lack by offering Latin as a special subject. Quite similarly the deficiencies of the Gymnasium and the Realgymnasium in the field of descriptive geometry were made up by the inclusion of special subjects in the curriculum. The universities supported this by offering special courses in the mentioned fields. As a rule, however, such cases were rare, for nearly everyone chose a career for which his previous study had aroused his demand; a Realschool graduate very rarely applies for admission to theology or classical philology. So, the choosing of the secondary school determined the choosing of university.
After the central regulations a slow change took place gradually. In the gymnasium from 1931 it was possible to change Greek to a modern language. From the 29 Gymnasiums 10 were a school where the parents could not choose another language. Three of them were enrolled by archbishops, and two prepared for the protestant theology. From the possibility of bifurcation in 1931 in 11 gymnasiums a second living language was involved. Having the freedom of choice, the great majority of pupils chose living languages, despite the fact that the churches preferred Greek. In 1932, another 6 Gymnasiums took living languages and in 1933 three more. The Technical University of Budapest announced its requirements and basic courses for Realgymnasiums and not for Realschools, because they demanded the access of students from the higher middle-class and vice versa, the members of the higher middle class - motivated by its own prestige norms - sent their sons to Realgymnasium.
After the resignation of the conservative government in the World economical crisis, right-wing conservatives took over the government and the Ministry of Education.
The new nationalist government - especially education minister Bálint Hóman - planned the unification of the content of so called "national school subjects", and furthermore the whole secondary education hindering any kind of alternatives in training. These political tasks were served by efforts like the introduction of centrally given permission for the non-state owned schools (municipal and denominational schools). Following the new political direction it was necessary to form a fixed curriculum of Latin for everybody who would have liked to be a member of the middle-class, but it was not necessary to learn more language than German, not necessary to understand the liberal spirit of the modern English or French culture, and finally not necessary to learn Greek, being an international subject.
The exclusion of Latin-free Realschools from the secondary level, and the political changes in the cabinet - Hóman himself was a medievalist - caused a misunderstanding among Latin teachers of Realgymnasiums. Some of them thought that Latin lobby won, and their position was not threatened anymore. The lobby wanted to push the basic grammatics down to the elementary level to make Latin more popular and easier in the first class of gymnasium, but the efforts were not succeed.
In the 1930s the teaching of Latin and the spreading of the Roman culture served many ideological and quasi-political groups in the political arena of education; however there were severe conflicts between them.
The speciality of the position of Latin in Hungarian ideological and historical consciousness in the 1930s was that it symbolized the 1000 year-old past of Hungarian State belonging to the West, contrasted with the national minorities and Pan-Slavist movement with Greek-catholicism. It symbolized the common culture of Hungarian nobility having Latin as the common language of law and official documents. Anybody coming from a non-Magyar family could be integrated to Hungarian ruling class through this traditional language. Latin was used in courts and in other spheres of official life, but it was spoken in private life too. Latin symbolized national independence against Austrian or German expansion, too. From the aspect of churches Latin was an important language for the Catholic and for the protestant groups too.
Latin symbolized the "old values" against the "modern times" as everywhere in the world, but in the 1930s Hungary it had two different political messages: the anti-Nazi ideology from one aspect and the very close Italian Hungarian relationship from the other one.
We can realize an important turning point in the composition of Latin lobby. Up to the 1930s the liberal forces, mainly the Jewish industrial, commercial and financial capital supported Latin-free and modern secondary schools. As the expansion of Nazi Germany continued the liberal capital in Hungary started to support Latin, as a value against the Nazism, in contrast to Germany, where the antiquity was used for pronazi propaganda.
All of these liberal or anti-Nazist groups supported the government when it declared Latin as being a "national subject", and the new curriculum which concentrated on the national subjects preferred Latin. The curriculum of Latin started to incorporate some middle east Latin, but practically there was not enough time for managing the practical changes in the school activity.
The status of Latin had changed many times radically since the 18th century, from becoming the language of instruction itself to an average school subject. The function changed at first from the language of public life to the education of persons equipped with antic virtues. In the period of the crisis of neo-humanism in the 20th century the pro-Latin argumentation served at first as a kind of pluralist argumentation, but later it became a part of an absolutely special ideological approach which considered Latin as a national subject. After 1945 a radical reform changed the structure of education, it created an 8 graded compulsory comprehensive school and restricted the Gymnasium for four years. The orders tolerated the choosing of facultative languages. Latin became a differentia specifica of elite schools. Schools which offered Latin as a facultative language promised education on a higher level and became the center of middle-class who was threatened by the unificationist policies of the Left Block, and the populist movement. Parallel with the leftist and populist political expansion the ministry forced the abolition of facultative Latin. That was the last moment Hungarian history of Latin teaching when Latin was provided for the age group of 10-14.
The denominational secondary schools (for the age group 15-18) which taught Latin very intensively, were nationalized in 1948 and the teaching of Latin en mass was ended. The rebirth of Latin in Hungary in the last decade of our century was not an element of a conservative mass movement but it reflected the emergence of market competition and pluralism in the schooling.
1. A magyar nevelés története, I. kötet. Bp, 1988;Fináczy: A magyarországi közoktatás története. Bp, 1899; Mészáros: Az iskolaügy története Magyarországon. Bp, 1981; Kosáry: Művelődés a XVIII. századi Magyarországon. Bp, 1980; Balassa: A latintanítás története. Bp, 1930; Borzsák István: Budai Ézsaiás. Bp, 1955.
2. Mészáros: A magyar nevelés története, 1790-1849. Bp, 1968; Kornis Gyula: A magyar művelődés eszményei. Bp, 1927; Dokumentumok a magyar nevelés történetéből. Bp, 1966; Kosáry: Napóleon és Magyarország. Bp, 1977; Fináczy: A magyarországi középiskolák. Bp, 1896; Bajkó: Kollégiumi iskolakulturánk. Bp, 1976; Magyarország története, 5-7 vol. Bp, 1978; Kármán: Közoktatásügyi Tanulmányok; Szilágyi: A gimnáziumi oktatásügy. Sárospatak, 1861; Kornis: A humanizmus és realizmus. Magyar Művelődés, 1925/79.
3. Felkai: Eötvös. Bp, 1979; Eötvös: Kultura. Bp, 1976; Köte: Közoktatás és pedagógia. Bp, 1975; Mann: Trefort Ágoston. Bp, 1982; Trefort: Beszédek. Bp, 1888; Moritz Csaky: Der Kulturkampf in Ungarn. Graz, 1967; Csudáky: Csáky. Bp, 1913; Molnár: Wlassics. Bp, 1907; Jegyzőkönyv. Bp, 1906; Mann: Oktatáspolitikai koncepciók. Bp, 1987.
4. Magyar Paedagogia, 1892/16, 86; 1893/13, 82, 116, 117, 308, 323, 384; 1908/527; 1895/234, 333, 336, 446, 404; 1896/67; 1897/13; 1898/189, 339.
5. Magyar Paedagogia, 1901/135, 201, 468, 528; 1908/229, 231, 299, 546; 1913/80, 513.
6. Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1931/32, 265.p. (Magyar Paedagogia, 1931/32, 173.p.
7. Országgyűlés képviselőházának naplója, 1922-27; Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1924; Protestáns Tanügyi Közlöny, 1924; Magyar Középiskola, 1924; Kornis Gyula: Magyarország közoktatásügye a világháború óta. Bp, 1927; Szabolcs Ottó: A magyar nevelés története az 1920-as években, manuscript.
8. Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1934/25, 237.p.
9. Országgyűlés képviselőházának naplója, 1931/35; Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1934; Protestáns Tanügyi Közlöny, 1934; Magyar Középiskola, 1934.
10. Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1935/67, 280-281, 392.p.
11. Papers of national archives: reports of instructors OL K 592.
12. The Hungarian experts knew: Hitler, Rosenberg showed the rebirth of antiquity in the spirit in the new Germany - but in 1936 the forces of the anti-Latin lobby won: pragmatism for the German industry and the direct German values became more important then the original ideological tasks. The new act pressed down the humanist schools and preferred the Oberschule which was similar to the new Hungarian Gymnasium. The new leaders of German education declared that Latin had not any special value, it had to follow the German national aims. (In Germany Greek and Latin were in the center of education of Gymnasium.) Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny, 1936/37, 185., 313., 384.p.
13. Pedagógus Értesítő, 1947/2, 7-8.p.; Köznevelés, 1947/3, 29-33.p.; Embernevelés, 1946, 321-331.p.
The "numerus clausus"
policy of anti-semitism or policy of higher education
The basic facts of numerus clausus has been relatively well known: perhaps this "historical scandal" is the most known element of the history of Hungarian higher education among historians and educationalist of the world. Our paper shows some new moments in the social background of numerus clausus, and the process of voting about the act which shows some interesting facts about the real anti-semitic attitude of the MPs.
From anti-semitic sentiment to the acceptance of the legal restriction
The anti-semitism in Hungary seems to be continuous from the Middle Ages to the present. In reality this anti-semitism is not continuous: different types of anti-semitism exist parallel in the society. The middle age type anti-semitism - a confessional one - appeared in the famous case of Tiszaeszlar in 1882. The publishing of the memoirs of the advocate - who had been followed by the local peasant anti-semitism and political supporters and accused the local Jewish community of fulfilling a ritual murdering - was a great market-success in the 1940s. So that type of anti-semitism survived the decades of modernisation. (Kubinszky)
The other type of anti-semitism: the anti-capital, anti-finance attitude was motivated by the attitude and way of life of the traditional Hungarian nobility and the romantic peasant anti-capitalism. (Szabo:1970, 1981)
This traditional anti-semitism hates the function itself, and it would prefer a society in which this mediator function is not existing at all.
The modern anti-semitism - in contrast to the traditional one - does not hate, but it is jealous of this function: the anti-semitism is nothing else, but an ideology of confiscation of this function, and the excluding of Jews from the universities, from some professions is the tool of this confiscation.
The anti-semitism at the end of the First Word War is an element of the competition of elites. In the pre-first world war Hungary the social roles were very clear: the Christian middle class sent its sons to the state and local offices, the Jewish middle-class sent its sons to the non-state-controlled area. After Trianon the little country needs fewer public officers, so they need the positions of non-state-controlled areas too. (Karady)
But we could concentrate on another element: the modernization of state after the turn of the century created a new question: the necessity of more intensive state-control over some areas too. Some groups of society became interested in a non-market-control industry and non-market control health care, non-market-control commercial life and so on. And because they want to spread over the jurisdiction of state and generally the redistribution type organisations into these areas too, they wanted to stop the non state oriented Jews getting the key-positions of that fields. (Lacko:1981:184)
These non-state controlled positions mean a real power and prestige in the society: the press influenced the cultural attitudes, the commerce, the service the transport became more and more important in the modern economy, the function of lawyers became more and more important in the economical life. The expanding of social security system - in which the Jewish clerks and medicals had positions - started to control bigger and bigger part of the national income.
As the workers' movement, trade union movement became a real political force, the competitors of traditional workers aristocracy in the leading of the movement started to use the anti-semitic argumentation. And it does not only happen in the situation of an opposite movement: in the Parliament of the Soviet Republic in 1919 an anti-semitic argumentation is used by the populist against the central elite of the communist party. (Tanacsok:1919)
The peace treaty caused a mass middle-class immigration from the successor states and a real hard competition started for the positions and jobs. In this competition, the Christian middle class needed the help of the executive power against the Jews - but it would not be enough for the integration of the anti-semitism into the Corpus Juris, the Book of the Hungarian Acts, which symbolised the European quality of the Hungarian ruling classes.
In the right wing public opinion the liberalism, the radicalism, and the socialdemocracy - the "Jewish cosmopolitism" - become responsible for the collapse of the historical Hungary. The "national feeling" - which was the sister of liberalism in the 19th century - got into a contradiction with the "liberal feeling": the middle class chose nationalism against liberalism, overwhelmed the original principles of equality and human rights and gave a green light for the restriction of Jews.
We will see that the concrete impetus for the numerus clausus were indicated by the extreme right, and not the centre but without the "competitive situation" and without the "nationalism - liberalism" contradiction the leader elite would not be ready to tolerate the anti-semitism - as a parliamentary act. (Ladanyi)
Why a university numerus clausus?
Which sphere will "manage" this restriction of Jews? After the Soviet Republic of Hungary (which was accused in 1919 because of confiscation and nationalisation) it was impossible to confiscate the Jewish property, and in the serious economical situation it would be very dangerous to exclude the very well educated Jewish engineers, economist and so on. The only solution was: to help the christian middle class with the help of sons in the educational sphere.
The sphere of education had adequate anti-liberal tradition: in the 1910s the right wing political Catholicism expanded in this sphere. The ministry of education had the best chance getting of the support of the churches, because this ministry could pay for this: the ministry make the denominational service be part of the school attendance.
Why did the restriction of the number of Jews happen on the university and why not on the secondary level? We can find three important reasons.
The ministry had to solve the pacification of the extreme right student movement whose aim was the excluding of the Jews from the university. (The rate of Jewish students at the colleges and universities had grown very intensively: 1871:10, 4 % 1880: 20, 1%, 1890: 27, 8%, 1900: 28, 4, %, 1910: 29, 6 %)
The over-production of intellectuals, the unemployment of intellectuals were a popular and acceptable argumentation - in any circle of society.
The university "close number" was relatively less disadvantageous for the upper classes of Jews, because they could sent there children abroad, but it excluded the Jewish middle-class en mass. The system had to save some relation to the Jewish population, and a secondary school numerus clausus would have made the situation of Hungarian Jews absurd: force the kid to go abroad at the age of ten, or stop a middle class merchant to get a simple maturity for his son: it would have been absurd.
If we look at the concrete steps which initiated the numerus clausus act, we can prove that there was a coalition between the different types of anti-semitic attitudes. It's very clear from the fact that the initiators of numerus clausus movement among the faculties - the theology - where the aggressive neo-Catholicism triumphed - and only ideological reasons were important and the medical faculty where the number of Jews was relatively high and where the "competition of elites" was the relevant question.
There was a compromise between the militant student organisations and the leaders of universities. A similar compromise as in the macro-policy between the paramilitary forces and the conservative government.
We are sure that the governors of university gave up their weltanschauungs and principles, because without it, they would not have had any chance to reintegrate the students, and to get back the control over order of universities and order of selection. It is an important fact that professor Bernolak, who is the father of the incrimination article urged the pacification and controlling of university student organisations.
It was necessary to find a solution for the government: to find an argumentation in the scandal, which would be initiated by the act in Europe, and an argumentation to help them to keep, to moderate relations to the leading circles of Hungarian industry and finance. The minister of education and public instruction - was an anti-semitic politician himself, but he and the government realised two important facts. The anti-semitism could be a social movement, the restriction of the Jews could be the policy of government - but it could not be an element of an act, because the government was able to explain to the western public opinion that "communism and the war have caused a dangerous pogrom - anti-semitism. If we want to stop the pogroms - we have to take temporary steps against the Jewish population." But it was impossible to explain why the integration of an anti-semite article into the Corpus Iuris was necessary.
The solution was a special game in the parliament. The issue of act - in its original form a neutral financial restriction - suffered a lot of changes in the parliamentary process.
The centre of political forces - the group which had a majority in the financial commission of Parliament - headed by the conservative politician, Kuno Klebelsberg - and in the education commissions - headed by a leader of the catholic church, Vass Jozsef - declared it is necessarily a political article into the act. It was: "only the persons are acceptable, whose national and moral attitudes are reasonable." It means that the act became anti-liberal in its political meaning because it opens a possibility to exclude the liberals and socialists from the entering exams. It means that everybody needed a certificate from the local police about his or her political attitude.
On a government party meeting the group of bishop Prohaszka suggested a new article: "the percentage of races and nationalities among the students could not be higher then the percentage of the races and nationalities in the population" In the government party meeting this opinion got a majority. (Ladanyi:152)
At the plenary session of the Parliament the new article was initiated by a right wing university professor, Nandor Bernolak. The text was an absurd one in the Hungarian law because the word: race was not a category in the law. The situation in its logical meaning was very complicated because the real task was the ousting of the majority of Jews: But if the act called the religion as a selection aspect - it would be dangerous for all of the stability of Hungarian state, because the protestants were in minority of the total population but they were over-represented in the elite positions of state and among the intelligentsia, among the urban and rural middle-class, every strata of society which need place for their children in the universities.
The new act - which was practically anti-semitic - was a European scandal. More then 50% of MPs was not at the plenary session of the Parliament when the president asked whose answer would be yes.
The 90% of government, the prime minister himself , the well known politicians of Dual Monarchy - Andrassy, Apponyi, - or the leaders of consolidation in the 1920s - Bethlen, Klebelsberg, Vass - were not in there seats.
It shows: it was impossible to vote with no - because the radical right wing groups, the white terrorists, and the paramilitary forces forced there will on the parliament, but it was impossible to say yes because these politicians knew: The powers of Europe and the powers of Hungarian capital - two factors which were necessary for the consolidation of the regime noticed and chose from them. But, and it is a important information: some of these politicians really wanted this act, because they were responsible for the middle class, guarantying more positions for there children in the university. (Only 57 MP vote for yes, and 7 vote no. If the voters had left the building instead of voting no, the chairman could not have opened the voting process because the absurd small number of MPs, who were present. So the MP who vote "no" - the minister of education himself was among them - objectively helped the passing of numerus clausus, too.)
In the act you can not find the word "Jew, Jewish, Israelite" or something similar. But the order, which was issued by the minister of education after it brought a list about the percentage of each nationalities and the percentage of the Israelite population. The minister mentioned in this order that the percentage of Jewish denomination mean a "national percentage" too. This order was a statistical and constitutional absurdity. In statistical meaning the national censuses from 1869 to 1920 - and it has not changed later - had a separate list about the denominations, and the nationalities: the "Israelite" as category was on the list of denominations, and not on the nationalities. Constitutionally: the state - churches relation in Hungary based on the principle that none of the denominations could be identified as a nation. (It was an important question not because of Israelites, whose majority were German, and became Magyar, but because of Orthodox Christian - the majority of orthodox believers belonged to Serbs, Romans and so on.)
The churches - Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran - which were very rigorous in the question that the situation of any church could be changed by act, and not by ministerial order, tolerated this dangerous precedent.
The fulfilment - and non-fulfilment
The fulfilment of the act was not complete. On the countryside universities - first of all in Pecs - the percentage of Israelites remained relatively high, more then 10 percentage , but much less then before the war (50%) The national average, if the act had been fulfilled, would have been 6%. The fact was that in 1921 it was 12, 6%, in 1926 9, 4%.
The non-fulfilment of the order - concerning the "nationalist feeling" - is a fact, too. We have only some sporadic data about the left wing movements at the universities, but we have a statistical survey from 1924. Among the 9754 students of Budapest - from the universities where the number of Jews was the lowest! - almost two-third of them (6129) were not member of the right wing organisations. Only 50 % of students read regularly right wing dailies, the other 25 % read liberal or right wing and liberal papers. (About 25 % was non reader.) (Statisztikai Kozlemenyek 54/3 68.p.)
At that time some groups of students protested against the physical attacks against Jews by paramilitary groups. The societies of students tried to force the other students to join, and the independent students asked help from the government (NN 1922-27 17/404, 26/361). The ministry of education threatened the organisers of anti-semite disturbance (Pecs), he avoided the students committee of college in Sopron, and closed the college, and ousted 42 student from the mensa to punish them for the anti-semite actions, and he did not mind the national strike of students. (NN 1922-27 24/319, 26/265)
The president of Budapest University - in autumn, 1926 reported that the disturbances were organised not by the students but by elements coming from outside - who were paid by the political right wing. The screening procedure - the institution which was used against the Jews in 1920 now was used against the non student provocateurs.
Some political forces tried to expand the numerus clausus. A right wing group of MPs tried to prohibit the Jews from teaching Hungarian literature and history an other would have liked to exclude all of the Jews from the teachers. Gombos Gyula, the leader of right wing opposite (prime minister 1932-1936) suggested in 1923 that the maximal number of Jews include the numbers of convertitas. This opinion accepted the racist type of anti-semitism. The majority refused this proposal. (NI 1920-22 1/381, NN 1922-27 22/189, 18/162)
Gombos suggested in 1923 the control of nostrification - to limit the number of Jews. The right wing forced an article into the 1924 secondary school act, that the nostrification of certificates getting in abroad would be a jurisdiction of a special committee, and not an automatism. At that time 20 billion crone go abroad because about 1000 Jewish students studied abroad, only because of the numerus clausus. (NN 1922-27 18/162, 27/38, 22/159)
The ministry of education issued an order about an entrance exam to secondary schools - but its fulfilment was impossible.
The Bethlen government refused the suggestions which would have liked to expand the numerus clausus to the secondary schools, and vocational schools, and that the denominational schools should be fined if they did not accept the numerus clausus.
In 1923 the opposition suggested the annulling of numerus clausus. That suggestion got 37 - yes (from the socialists and liberals) 84 - no, and 123 MP was out. It is clear: the majority of centre which in 1920 would not like to scheme itself by the vote yes, in that time were ready to save the act which were the interests of middle class. But an interesting shift happened in the argumentation against the numerus clausus. In 1920 the opposition referred to the international public opinion, the territorial revision of peace treaty as a far task but not any definite thing. Now the liberals, the centre called the necessity of annulling referring to the talks concerning international loans. The need of international loans was much more important then the scandals in the international political organisations: the League of Nations discussed the numerus clausus three times, without any result. (NN 1922-27 8/249)
The original socio-historical reason of numerus clausus: the competition of elite in a poorer country become more tragical concerning immigrants.
320.000 persons immigrated from the territories which had got to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Rumania: The number of lawyers is higher then in 1910:125%, the number of druggist 133%, the number of judges, teachers, doctors 150%, and the number of public servants 200%
Klebelsberg (Minister of education 1922-1931) declared that his conservative weltanschauung would have dictated a total annulling of numerus clausus. He declared that the only real task - i. e. to exclude the competition between the elites - had to be fulfilled but it was necessary to exclude any kind of anti-semitic article too. Klebelsberg had a special relation to the great - and Jewish - capital, which financed the cultural action of Hungarian government, and supported the scientific researches. And the image of cultural superiority was a central element of the culture and foreign policy of Bethlen government in the 1920s.
Klebelsberg sent a letter to his Prussian colleague, Becker and informed him: the total abolishing of numerus clausus is impossible because of the right wing element in the government party. But he knew he could increase the limit, and if he did so, the numerus clausus would become an illusion. (OSZK Archive, Letter-section, Klebelsberg to Becker 1928 oct 16)
But the total annulling the numerus clausus was not suggested by the government, not only because they had to respect the right wing forces in and out of the party, but because they did not want it. Klebelsberg one of his letters to the prime minister wrote: "we have to modify the act, but not to impose the Jewish intellectuals upon the nation, but (with a rational moderation) to save the essence of the institution of numerus clausus". (!!!) (Romsics 1991:201)
In 1928 the government initiated an act for changing the numerus clausus, the annulling its scandalous article. The voting about the changing of the act showed, that the 173 MPs were in the Parliament - much more then 1920. 139 said yes, and 34 refused it. The refusers: 13 social-democrat, 5 liberal and the others from the right wing who would have liked to keep the original anti-semitic formula.
The members of government party and the greatest part from Christian socialist said yes. The liberal wing of government party said yes, too. (KN 1927-32 9/237/)
More then half of the liberals were out, because they had realised if they would have been in, they would have had to vote: no (because of their weltanschauung) and they knew they were interested in changing the act. The liberal wing of government party which was not ready to vote for the original numerus clausus was in the parliament and voted with yes, because they realised if they had broken the unity of government party, the racist on the other hand would do the same, and: the right and left wing opposition together hindered the success of the real compromise of government which would have made the system more liberal.
One of the famous politicians of the pre world war period - in the house of lords - declared: he was the believer of total freedom of learning but if the majority had refused the new act the original one would have remained in order. (FN 1927-32 2/114)
The changing of numerus clausus act was the most liberal point of the Horthy age and the highest point of consolidation. The saving of Christian middle-class remained but not on the basis of the explicit anti-semitism, but on the basis a more complicated system: the rate of students had to follow the rate of different professions and different regions.
In the thirties the right wing government asked a secret annual report about the number of Jewish students from the universities concerning different subjects. The secondary school act in 1934 ordered a special notice for the final exams of secondary schools: a notice which decided that the pupil was able to go to university or not. This special note were dictated not by the conservative professional teachers but the special commissioners who represented the right wing viewpoint of state. As we saw from a sample the Jewish pupils got relatively less positive notice then the non-Jewish ones. So in the thirties the educational administration started to prepare a new numerus clausus in the practice. (The rate of Jewish student in 1931 11, 3% in 1936 8, 9%. The decreasing in absolute number: more then 500 Jewish students.) (Het:1:191)
The numerus clausus does not guarantee the interests of 95% of population against the 5% percent of population, but it means that it was necessary to guarantee the interests of 210.000 Christian middle class families (or the 277 000 non Jewish persons who were relatively high qualified) against the 60.000 Jewish families (or the 78 000 Jewish persons who had the same qualification). The numerus clausus tried to guarantee the 95% of the university-places for the 77% of the elite.
In the thirties it became clear the numerus clausus is not enough for the stability of middle class elite. The world crisis ousted the officers from the soft positions and they needed the positions of Jews in the free market too.
What is the real experience about the process of numerus clausus? The anti-semitism in the 20s is a kind of ideological coalition of very different political and ideological groups: 1/ the modern bureaucracy who would like to control the society and the Jewish bourgeoisie as alternative force threaten this task 2/the anti-semitism is an ideal canal for the rebirth of Catholicism and Protestantism. (Please remember the catholic attacks against the theological works of Prohaszka in the 1910s, but there were not any attacks when he accused the Jews after 1919. The anti-Judaism was interpreted into anti-semitism without any hesitation. 3/the politicians who realised the competition of elite is very dangerous for the non market-oriented middle-class
To exclude the competition that is the central interests of non modern ruling elite when they lost their soft stability. The Jewish acts after 1938 were helped by the Third Empire nearby the border. But the source of these acts is deep in the structure and ideology of Hungarian middle-class.
Benisch Artúr: A zsidók térfoglalása és elhelyezkedése a mai Magyarország területén 1830-1930 (In: Magyar Statisztikai Szemle, 1934., 916-925. p.)
FN: Felsőházi Napló
Heksch Ágnes: Adatok a numerus clausus történetéhez (In: Pedagogiai Szemle, 1962., 7/8. sz., 613-619. p.)
Hét évtized a hazai zsidóság életében (MTA Fil. Int., Bp., 1990.)
Karády Viktor: Zsidóság, modernizáció, polgárosodás (Cserépfalvi, Bp., 1937.)
Karády Viktor: Felekezeti státus és iskolázási egyenlőtlenségek. (In: A tudománytól a tömegkultúráig. Szerkesztette: Lackó Miklós, MTA tört. tud. int., Bp., 1994.)
Kecskeméti Károly: A liberalizmus és a zsidók emancipációja. (In: Történelmi Szemle, 1982/2.)
KN: Képviselőházi Napló
Kovács Alajos: A zsidóság térfoglalása Magyarországon (Bp., 1922.)
Kovács Alajos: Csonkamagyarországi zsidóság a statisztika tükrében. (Bp., 1938.)
Kovács Alajos: A keresztény vallasú, de zsidó származású népesség a népszámlálás szerint. (In: Magyar Statisztikai Szemle, 1944.)
Kubinszky Judit: Politikai antiszemitizmus Magyarországon 1875-1890 (Kossuth, Bp., 1976.)
Lackó Miklós: Szerep és mű. (Gondolat, Bp., 1981.)
Ladányi Andor: A numerus clausus 1928 évi módosítása (Századok, 1996/2.)
Nagy Péter Tibor: A numerus clausus történetéhez (Magyar Pedagógia, 1985/2.)
NI: Nemzetgyűlés Irományai
NN: Nemzetgyűlés naplója
OKITEK: Országos Középiskolai Tanáregyesületi Közlöny
Spira, Thomas: Hungary's Numerus Clausus, the Jewish Minority and the League of Nations (In: Ungarn Jahrbuch 1972 Hase und Kohler, Mainz, 1972/4., 115-128. p.)
Szabolcs Ottó: Köztisztviselők az ellenforradalmi rendszer társadalmi bázisában (1920-1926) (Akadémiai Kiadó, Bp., 1965.)
Szabó Miklós: Az 1901-es egyetemi "kereszt-mozgalom" (In: Történelmi Szemle, 1970/4.)
Szabó Miklós: Nemzetkarakter és resszentiment. Gondolatok a politikai antiszemitizmus funkcióiról (In: Világosság, 1981/6.)
Tanácsok Országos Gyűlésnek naplója (Bp., 1919.)
Zsidókérdés Kelet- és Közép-Európában, (ELTE-AJK, Bp., 1985., Szerk: Miszlivetz Ferenc és Simon Róbert)
Zsidókérdés, asszimiláció, antiszemitizmus. Tanulmányok a zsidókérdésről a huszadik századi Magyarországon. (Sajtó alá rendezte Hanák Péter.) (Gondolat Kiadó, Bp., 1984.)
The autonomy: freedom or hierarchy:
The Hungarian Case
I. The expansion of autonomy and the beginnings of re-interference
The Hungarian liberal opposition in the 1830s and 1840s demanded the freedom to study and teach. As a prerequisite underlying it, they also demanded the establishment of a private teaching system. Article 19 in Act 1848 which was the basic liberal law in university instruction stated that Hungarian education was subordinated to the Hungarian government and not to the government of the empire. It also claimed the right to teach privately, the freedom of instruction, but did not regulate university autonomy.
It is a well-known fact that the regime established in the whole of the empire after 1849 and 1850 launched a second wave of modernisation. In this system the neo-humanist intellectuals allied with the technocratic and bureaucratic reformers against the liberal and nationalist forces. This coalition succeeded in making autonomy triumph. The staff of professors as full or non-tenure constituted the university board of directors having the right to become members of the board. The latter body elected the rector and the deans. In questions of more importance university autonomy meant the autonomy of the faculties and not the independence of the university.
After the elections of 1867 the new government continued the policy of guaranteeing university autonomy. Private professors were given the right to conduct exams and the dismissal of tenured professors became increasingly difficult.
With the establishment of the first new university, however conflicts between scientific monopolies and the liberal government arose. A compromise resulted in stating that a private professor could be not only a person appointed by the staff of professors but somebody considered right for position by the minister having the right to give lectures etc. In this sense academic freedom and autonomy became opposing concepts.
In much the similar way ministerial responsibility was also a natural barrier to autonomy. From the beginning of the 1870's and 80's as a prerequisite for acquiring certain qualifications in order to become doctors, lawyers etc., compulsory studies of certain subjects were demanded. The government regulated matters concerning procedure of studies and qualifications; the scope of autonomy the university was in command of consisted of composing the curriculum for the semester, but this too had to be approved of by the Ministry of Religious and Public Education.
In questions of material and intellectual weight serious battles were fought between the ministry and the university especially when the former wished to appoint professors, prominent members of the world's scientific forum but who were rejected by the conservative university leadership. They ran into conflict with one another when the ministry wished to put an end to the dismissal of such professors. /The radical government of 1918 was obliged to suspend autonomy in order to make the appointment of the most famous Hungarian sociologists possible and the ministry, as to what concerns the anti-liberal, anti-communist, anti-semitic campaigns after 1919 was more lenient in such matters than the faculty of medicine for example, although the ministry professed similar ideology./
The bureaucratic rationalisation that became dominant in the Ministry of Culture in the second half of the 1920's reached the universities as well. From 1928 the universities finance office /which was the greatest opposer of autonomy even in the 19th century/ became formally independent from university leadership and the legitimacy of its leader - similarly to that of the university professors - originated from presidential designation. The university boards could give advice to the director of the finance office but the latter was responsible only to the minister.
Between 1920 and 1940 several pretexts were used to limit the autonomy of university even in questions of admission. By introducing and maintaining "numerus clausus" groups who wished to provide positions for the intelligentsia and for the children of the Christian middle class expressed their interest by making efforts to limit the admission of Jews to the university. On the other hand the police had the opportunity to exclude completely the youngsters who were qualified as untrustworthy admission. By 1934 the radically politicised authorities for educational affairs succeeded in making the university no longer accept the graduation exam as a door to admission - a separate qualification was necessary. These efforts were legitimised by the dangers of unemployment among intellectuals and by putting an end to the overcrowdedness of the university.
In 1945 the parliament excluding the majority of the previous political elite broadened the ministry's scope of power over the university system giving permission to introduce measures that earlier would have required the passing of a law in such matters. The political parties - wishing to widen their peasant and working class base in order to establish an intellectual layer loyal to them - had fought to make university entrance possible for those who had not finished secondary school, to be more exact, attending a specialised accelerated secondary schools to obtain graduation diplomas, was also possible. It was the university sphere in this case which tried to defend itself against expansion by keeping up the "numerus clausus".
The ministry taking advantage of its enlarged scope of authority released concrete university curricula even then.
The liberal professors before 1945 who were pressed into the background now had the chance to outline the prospects of a third possibility between traditional university autonomy and ministerial control by bringing about scientific publicity nation-wide as a means of selecting professors. The secretary of the higher educational affairs department in the council of public education wished to grant these privileges to the academy.
All interest groups of university life made moves in behalf of their own power. The deans and the most distinguished professors against the finance offices, the private professors stood up for their equal rights, the students for their representation.
All these ambitions contained an inner logic within the system but in this period only those attempts could succeed which had the assistance of the party.
II. The coalition between the political leadership and the bureaucracy of
educational-scientific, interior ministry force against university autonomy
From the end of the 1940's the direction of the universities had theoretically stepped "one level higher". The decisions that the ministry had previously made - political decisions and the appointment of professors - passed into the hands of the party's central apparatus and former rights of the university passed into the hands of the ministry. Two tendencies had met: first of all, the wish of the portfolios to have their own universities according to the Soviet example where the direction of higher education was directed from more than one ministry, for example medical training in Hungary was detached from the university of Arts and Sciences and was subjugated to the Ministry of Health.
Off-branches triumphed in scientific life as well, scientific autonomy of the universities was denied. Research and the granting of degrees passed over the Hungarian Academy of Sciences which had become a veritable ministry of science.
The selection of students became a political question because the students who had displayed low standard in their studies but were of working class origins and who had been admitted without a graduation diploma had to be defended.
The process that begun in the 1920's for the equalisation of the finance offices to the detriment of the elected university leadership had become complete, the registrars and staff departments of the university had in fact taken over the managing of affairs of the universities from the rectors and deans.
An intellectual group within the party launched an offence - and at the cost of degrading the faculty and university councils into a counselling organ - they achieved that the deans and rectors appointed by the minister be acknowledged by the party leadership as the sole directors of institutions.
In the period of stalinism and post-stalinism the competition between the staff departments and the deans for power over the university expressed the rivalry between the party's administrative home affairs people and the intellectual-ideologist group. After the death of Stalin the latter group joined forces with the reform-communists and achieved the launching of decentralisation, numerous political decisions passed from the party apparatus back into the hands of the ministry, numerous personnel decisions became once again the rector/dean's authority.
University circles - at the Faculty of Arts for example - succeeded in the liberalising the curricula to some extent, postgraduate scientific training was to continue at the universities even if to a small degree and the title of university professor which had been abolished previously was revived, at least at the University of Medicine.
These ambitions triumphed in part with the help of the 1956 reform movement. The ministry released an official project about codifying university autonomy. In the spring of 1957, however, party and ministry direction was once again reorganised.
III New coalition between the university hierarchy and the political leadership
The regime's political leadership and board of directors at the universities distributed power in such a way that the questions politically important remained in the hands of the ministry and the party center, but in so-called professorial matters they tolerated university autonomy. In the case of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences the faculties liberalised their curricula and university professor titles were re-instituted. /The granting of significant scientific degrees remained in the hands of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences./ The group representing the Ministry of Home Affairs, and Secret Service suffered a complete defeat by 1962: the deans and rectors obtained the right to appoint and to remove the heads of different offices /1962/22 statute/
The economic reform-movement /which meant incorporating market economy elements into the economy planning system / that had began as a result of the Soviet reform movements of 1965 won to a certain degree in 1968 and encountered defeat in 1973. It brought changes in university autonomy, the independence of the university grew in educational matters /they could work out their own curricula/ the influence of the bodies elected by two thirds majority also rose, student rights expanded, and scientific activity also increased at the departments.
It was possible for the university and faculty councils to choose the deputies of the deans and rectors and they had to right to elect the heads of departments as well.
In order to avoid the European student riots in Hungary in 1968, the students were allowed to become members of the elected bodies.
Nevertheless, a great majority of decisions could only be enforced with the approval of the minister of culture who kept the rather "feeble" right of abolishing the decisions that " endangered the interests of cultural policy".
The departments of Marxist studies remained directly under the supervision of the ministry.
The failure of liberalisation menaced the independence and relative autonomy of those universities which were not the stronger members of the portfolio - i.e. the universities which were under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture were once again submitted to curriculum control.
In the institutions functioning under the portfolio of education the power of the deans and rectors increased to the detriment of the elected bodies. Direct political interference appeared once more in preferring the admission of students with working class backgrounds.
IV. The coalition between the reform communists and autonomists
against party leadership and university hierarchy
The change after 1978 meant the strengthening of the reform forces which manifested itself in a characteristic way: the competition between the portfolios gave priorities to the Ministry of Education /which did not compromitted itself to the extent other ministries did when reforms were withdrawn/ and by increasing institutional autonomy the strengthening of the one-man leadership was also achieved.
In answer to the opening possibilities numerous reformers joined the preparations for the different projects. The reform-communist Imre Pozsgay - who assisted the birth of Hungarian Democratic Forum, the contemporary government party - was at the head of the ministry from 1980-1982. A project was prepared by 1983 - which was more far-reaching than the original plans of the ministry of education - wishing to increase the power of the elected bodies to keep the authority of the directors at bay /this had been the primary aim of the student parliament./ The project also strove to introduce democratic and professional control by external society through the establishment of scientific councils with 50% professional participation of external experts /thus mirroring the efforts of academic circles/.
The student's parliament which had been summoned in 1983 for discussing the project became the most crucial element in the forthcoming crisis of the regime. For the first time in the history of the student parliaments it was not the "middle of the roaders" but the delegation of Budapest university wholed the events and this meant the triumph of the most radical alternative. It lead to an open conflict with the ministry: it transpired that no reform at the universities was to be wished for on their part. The parliament had shocked the party leadership not only from a state administrative but from a political point of view since at Gödöllő it became evident that the delegation at Budapest university was at the head of the changes.
The people who were members of the party's youth organisations and the political opposition were proceeding forward together in close association. The scholar minister suffered a spectacular defeat before the students and the young leader opposing him, the secretary of Budapest universities's youth organisation became glorified. The shock to the party leadership was increased psychologically by the fact that this young man was called Imre Nagy, just like the leader of the reform-communist movement from 1953-1956, the former prime minister who had been executed in 1958.
Following the reform movements within university politics, the most important demand of which had been the university autonomy and the wish to give more authority to the elected bodies was answered through student participation: The student layer that had become irrevocably activated later became the regime's most radical critic in forming political core of the recently most popular political party of young liberals. /FIDESZ/. On the other hand it had also become clear that a faction had been organised within the party comprised of the university group of the communist youth organisation, educational and scientific circles and a group within the party lead by Pozsgay who were ready to oppose party leadership, the latter being unwilling to introduce radical reforms.
In the meanwhile among the teaching staff unparalleled events took place in the history of the regime. Two departments of the Budapest Faculty of Sciences had a dispute /surprisingly enough it happened between two departments of mathematics/ on the scope of their authority - its actual essence had been the conflict between the professional and the politically legitimised professors. The problem could not be solved by the rector and the ministry which tried to interfere was reported on at the prosecution, finally the Politburo had to deal with the matter.
As a result of the panic originating from these events the forces of centralisation temporarily strengthened. Following the decrees of 1984, the vice rectors and heads of departments were once again appointed by the minister - in fact the appointment of university professors had gone into the hands of the Cabinet to minimise the effect of groups putting on pressure.
In the meanwhile the reform student parliament spirit had spread and had become the backbone of the Communist Youth Organisation's higher education policy while groups of autonomist professors also rejected interference on the part of the ministry. Hierarchical groups considered it more effective not to rely on the ministry that had been continuously losing respect, but to form long-lasting alliances.
In the law of 1985 a great majority of the student demands were incorporated: the student evaluation of the teachers, student participation in the elected bodies, the option between different courses, parallel studies in a different subject, the right to work for the student representation authorities. For the teachers freedom of choosing what to teach and selecting one's own method became realised.
The control of external forces - scientific and economic circles - was not successful since the most effective lobbyist, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was paid off when their scientific postgraduate training and their evaluating monopoly were left intact in their hands.
The traces of recentralisation had not disappeared - it was only upon pressure coming from the committees of Parliament it became a law - that the rector and dean etc. to be appointed by the minister must be approved by the faculty, university etc. bodies.
The ministerial apparatus with the help of the party sought the favours of those who opposed the Communist Youth Organisation and the Parliament itself as well, by keeping the plans for curricula in the minister's charge, just like the regulations for its function, international affairs and designating the heads of the departments which were all kept under his control. The decree gave the minister the right to withdraw "institutional decisions that hurt the interest of educational policy". /41/1985 MT/
In the regulation of 1986 the coalition of conservative hierarchical circles and the ministry is quite apparent: It stated that one third of the boards are members because being a member is relative to their position in office /department leaders, vice-deans etc./, the other two thirds can be elected by the teachers and the students each.
At the November session of the Political Committee in 1987 - where the most prominent member of the young technocrats, the future prime minister Miklos Nemeth also took part as secretary of the Central Committee - many supported the idea of expanding university autonomy. From May 1988 as a result of party conference where the "new style of re-establishing order" represented by the technocrats and the reform communists won the battle against the elder members who did not want any sort of change - the right to appoint vice-rectors, deans and heads of departments was granted to universities. From the autumn of 1988 party direction and compulsory ideological instruction ceased to exist.
V. The expansion of autonomy - hierarchy in the forefront
Two important reform forces left the field of education policy: 1/ the leading members of the college movement well-known for their overturning of traditional order in university studies by becoming the political party FIDESZ and stepping onto the national political platform, breaking all ties with university politics, 2/ the young communist leaders standing at the head of the "student reform parliament" group with the break-up of the party receded into background.
With diminishing i.e. changing student activity it became a constant problem for the still active young teaching elite from 1987 how to fill the vacant places with students, although after heavy battles at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences they succeeded in achieving the right for students to be able to elect teachers, thus making it possible for teachers that opposed the views of their colleagues to participate in university politics.
From the spring of 1990 the authority of ministry over the universities ceased to exist. During the change of regime in the transition period the apparatus of the ministry lost its footing. As a result of the above mentioned reasons student ambitions decreased, or rather concentrated on social demands, and the groups of hierarchical character at the universities were not jeopardised by internal and external forces.
The rectors stabilised their power, and formed a Council of Rectors which has become the most important actor of the arena. The heads of departments kept their positions, the younger and more ambitious teachers gave up the battle and formed new departments, new private universities or left for institutions of research which still were under the direction of the ministry or academy.
Setényi, János: Cyclical expansion in Hungarian education 1945-1985 HIER Bp 1991
Ladányi Andor: Felsőoktatási politika 1949-1958 Bp Kossuth 1983
Kozma Tamás: Érdekcsoportok a magyar felsőoktatásban Bp HIER 1991
Nagy Péter Tibor: A magyar oktatás második államositása Bp HIER 1992
A magyar nevelés története 1. kötet Bp Tankönyvkiadó 1990
The historical and political context of the teaching of history
before and after the collapse of Communism
As the communist regime collapsed the East European educational elites declared they want to follow, "to copy" the "western patterns". In some meaning it has happened, in some meaning not.
As it well known the American and European history-textbooks in the recent decades concentrated less and less on the political, military, institutional, governmental history, and more and more on the structures, the long tendencies, the history of culture, the history of society, the history of everyday life. The greatest part of new textbooks of postcommunist countries have not follow this pattern.
We would like to explain this phenomenon from the intellectual history of the last decades.
The Central-Eastern European history as the prelude of Warsaw pact
The text books writers - in the communist period - had to avoid the "national viewpoints" because the international political context in the years of communism forced the textbook writers and sometimes the historians not to speak about the conflictous tradition of the Polish-Russian or Hungarian-Russian historical relations.
The history textbooks had to "create" historical "prelude" of the existing Warsaw Pact.
It was important to stress the common features and common interests of East European countries in the history. Tsarist Russia - the textbooks accepted a panslavist ideology - became the "big brother" of the Slavic peoples of the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires. It was not very far from traditional national interpretation of the Bulgarian and Slovakian historical knowledge - but it was very strange for the Polish historical knowledge, and it was problematic for the Czech knowledge too.
For the Hungarians and Romanians - being not Slavic peoples - it was more complicated than for the others. Hungarian textbooks in the 1950-s tried to stress the great cultural and social influence of Slavic people in the early centuries of middle age Hungary. On the other side they described the role of German settlements. The German craftsmen and merchants (who were the pioneers of embourgeoisement in this region) was called as "colonialists" in the textbooks and curriculums.
The "Slavs are good boys" - "Germans are bad boys", and "the English and Americans bad boys too" naturally. For example: as it is well known in the years of 1919-1922 a proto fascist system existed in Hungary, and only the pressure of American, British, French governments and capital forced the Hungarian government (which needed the international loans) to change the regime to a conservative parliamentary system. This process was described in the textbooks of 1950s as "the role of American and the British capital in the consolidation of Horthy fascism."
The Central European history as the prelude of the successor states
Not only the "Warsaw pact context " caused the problems in the history teaching in the Soviet Satelite countries.
The history textbooks had to "create" historical "prelude" of the existing modern states, (the successor states of Habsburg, Turkish and Russian empire - with its modern borders) too.
The Yugoslavian history teaching stressed the common features of the history of Yugoslav states and peoples. (As it is well known one of this states Slovenia belonged to Austria, an other belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom, but ruled by own acts, and the others belonged to the Turkish Empire) (Petrovic-Strugar 1987)
The Czechoslovakian history teaching (especially before 1968) stressed "the Czechoslovak history" (It is well known, that the Czech kingdom belonged to Austria, Slovakia as territorial did not exist, and these territories belonged to the Hungarian Kingdom...- it was impossible to create a special "Czechoslovakian history" as a specific story.
Naturally, within the Soviet union, the Estonien or Litvanian etc. history teaching had to stress the common features to the Russian Empire...
The stalinist and reformcommunist nationalism
The communist power irritated these "small nation - national feelings" not only because of the "internationalism" of the communism, but because of the nationalism of some communist governments and educationalists.
Ruling communist parties of the Stalinist type consciously used nationalist and patriotic ideology as means of underpinning their power. This phenomenon are found documented in the states national curricula quite up to end of the communist era in the region. For instance, Stalin, (himself a Grusian, paradoxically), clearly used the traditional Russian nationalism and anti-semitism in his fight against Trocki and Zinovjev. "Anti-Cionism"- as the anti Jewish discrimination, for example the university "numerus clausus" was officially called - was a key element expressed in soviet ideology not only in the Stalinist period, but all the time, until Gorbachev came into power. (Arendt, 1951, Nielsen 1989, ) Stalinism used Russian patriotism and the orthodox religious tradition consciously when extending Russia as the Soviet empire. Especially during World War II patriotism was used as ideology by the Red Army in the war occupying North-East Finland and the Baltic states and later in its fight against the German invasion. (Tucker, 1977)
At the end of 1980-s the legitimization crisis of the communist regimes was followed by increasingly stronger nationalism in all countries of the region. In East Germany a cult of the Prussian king, Friedrich II, the Great became an official ideology (Hubner 1987).
The state generated conflicts between major Romanian populations and Hungarian minorities, the major Bulgarian population and Turkish minorities became significant in Romania and Bulgaria.
The authorities not only hindered the regional-municipal autonomies of that minorities but the cultural freedom (the schooling and book-publishing) too. (Chirot:1978, Steinke:1977).
Not only the Stalinist type politicians, but the reformcommunist as well used nationalism as a tool in their struggle for political power legitimacy. In the 1980s one wing of the Hungarian reform-communists followed this policy too. This wing of communist party was led by Pozsgai, one of the founders of the "Hungarian Democratic Forum", the right wing nationalist and anti-communist governing party of the period of 1990/1994. This communist politicians very often argued as nationalist politician. In 1988-1989 they formed a compromise with the nationalist opposition of the communist regime for two reasons: to exclude the stalinist and not let to power the liberals. (MP: 1989)In other countries the ex-communist politicians as Milosevic or Meciar in the mid 90-s stood clearly on the nationalist side of the political scenes of Serbia and Slovakia.
The history textbooks mirrored this situation.
Comparing the pictures illustrating the image of "The Capitalist", in textbooks for Soviet pupils, to the ones found in the Nazi textbooks they prove to be quite similar. The same similarity are found with the caricatures of the anti-semitic papers of the Central European fascist movements of the 1940-s: the Hungarian Arrow Cross or the Romanian Iron Guard. The capitalist a fat and ugly man with "Jewish features", keeping a sack of gold or money, or living any kind of hedonist life-style.
In the Soviet textbooks patriotism has been the official ideology since the thirties. The widely acknowledged scholarly conception of Nordic influence on early Russian history became prohibited. (Bartha:1961) For the Soviet Union of Stalin the specific Russian cultural heritage was the important value pattern. In the Soviet Union and in the satellite countries Marx's famous pamphlet, "The Secret Diplomacy of the XVIIIth Century" was not published until the late 1980s, because Marx's topic was the dangers of Russian expansion. Russian colonialisation in Asia was called as "civilisation" by the textbooks, which described the British and French colonisation as a real hell. In the 1960s, when textbook agreements were signed between Hungary and the Soviet Union, Soviets asked the Hungarians to delete Russia from the list of imperialist powers, in the Hungarian history textbooks. (Tucker, 1977, Szabolcs 1994)
Another example is Poland, where the Jaruselski government deliberately not appeared as "a communist government, based on the power of the working class", but took great care to position itself as "a national government" which over all aim was to save the nation from internal chaos in 1980, and, naturally without expressing it as an open message, to save Poland from possible Russian and East German military attack. The Jaruselski regime built "a cult" of Marshall Pilsudski of 1920s, indicating the parallelism with the role of Army in the 1980s, and the 1920s. (Michel 1985, Szczesniak 1986)
The officially published textbook of history stressed the Polish national feeling very intensively and stressed the role of the Polish revolutions and revolutionaries. (Szczesniak 1986).
As one can see, not only Soviet, but the Central European Communist regimes used nationalism as legitimising ideology, especially in history teaching and forming of historical knowledge in the state commissioned films and architectural products.
In Romanian and Bulgarian textbooks the history of these countries was described as being of more than thousand years old. Among scholars the validity of this sort of history writing as been debated and disputed as fairly romantic and mythical. However, this glorification of the country's past was declared official truth, not only in the fifties, but also more recently. The continuous history of the Dacoroman State of the 2nd century to the Romania of the 19th century or the "1300 years old Great Bulgaria" was officially declared and propagated ideology, and counter arguments were prohibited more or less.
In the Hungarian textbooks especially in the fifties - the Hapsburgs - and the modernisation of the 18th century against the particular Hungarian nobility was accused as Germanisation. (Molnar:1961) (Nepszabadsag 1970, 1971, 1972)
All the described textbooks declared themselves as being Marxist. However, from an historical and literary point of view, they are often neglected the classical viewpoints of marxism. They were not interested in what was "progressive" and what was not from a social viewpoint, from the viewpoint of embourgoisement or the human rights. For example in the interpretation of the revolutions of 1848 or 1918 the actors of history were "good boys or bad boys" only from the aspect of national interests.
The new situation after 1990
Because of the above mentioned three phenomena - the influence of legitimisation of Warsaw Pact, the influence of legitimisation of new states and new borders, the interest of legitimisation of nationalist argumentation of communist parties - the renewing the history teaching in Central Europe was a kind of national awaking after 1990. More national history, more facts, more names more battles - we can describe the history of history-teaching of the last ten years with these words. A lot of Central and East European historians think that this is the speciality in which the Eastern history-teaching should be different from the Western one..
History - teaching as the transfer between the public opinion and the historians
Not only the international context - the Warsaw Pact, new states, new nationalism - forced the textbook writers to manipulate textbooks from the 50s to the 80s, but naturally the local - national level - ideological and political context. So the local - national level - contexts give questions for the historians and educationalists about the new spirit of history-teaching after 1990, too.
First of all as it is well known every communist country was a one-textbook-system. It means that although there were debates among historians, about different historical questions, only one opinion was "official": the party and ministry let only one opinion publish in textbooks.
The new possibility - every professional group have the possibility to publish its "own" textbook became a huge attraction after 1990.
The textbook is a natural place for spreading of the different historical interpretations. The historians after so much decades have right to go out from the ivory tower and explain their debates to the people.
The people - after so much decades - have right to understand the different interpretations about their past.
The text books are sometimes full of facts, sometimes full of political stories - because these questions are debated by historians, and the historians communicate to the society by the textbooks, too.
The history teaching as the media of party pluralism
Some questions in the textbooks of communist time were declared not by scientific monopolies, but from direct political reasons.
The East German textbooks could not face the German past, because - in the textbooks - the antifascist German workers movement became the dominant factor of the modern German history.
The Czechoslovakian textbooks could not show a real picture about Masaryk- and Benes-formed democratic state, because the communists in 1948 made a coup against this political regime, and they need a political legitimisation of this.
The Hungarian Textbooks could not describe the importance and realities of 1956 - because the person of Kadar. (In a lot of meanings the Hungarian textbooks of the seventies and eighties were the most objective among the East European textbooks - the interpretation of 1956 is an exception)
In the process of the changing of the regime it became very important: the new generation, the "generation of democracy" have to understand the basic facts of these untold stories. The persons, facts, dates, places of the untold stories of the revolution of 1956 of Budapest or the 1944 of Warsaw were build into the national cultural canon.
Some history textbooks - I can say some good examples of the textbook history of Hungary of the early 1990s - present a real political question. When these books interpret the history of enbourgisement, the second world war, the Holocaust, the communist period - they works as a real political media.
The different opinions about the 20th century Hungarian history mirrored not only different professional-scientific cleavages, but more widely ideological cleavages and sometimes party-political cleavages too.
The ideological and political groups attacking a textbook, which "belongs" to the other ideological and political groups with the argumentation, that one or other political fact is not mentioned in the book, "a fact which would have changed the whole picture of the historical phenomena" To avoid these attacks the textbook writers write a lot of political facts, and chronological data into the textbooks, make this textbooks more objective but less learnable, and less modern, less similar to the western patterns.
History teaching as the transfer of constitutional thinking
The "teaching of democracy", teaching of "democratic values" - these have been the most legitim aims of the educational policies of the 1990s.
In a lot of post communist states (similarly to the western states) you can find a school subject whose name is "citizenship" or "democratic citizenship" or "legal knowledge of citizens". There are a lot of deep problems with the effectiveness of these subjects. The institution of democracy too young and weak, and sometimes the real working of this institutions (parliament, jurisdiction, government, municipality, human rights) are very far from the letters of acts.
The last some years of new democracies could not offer enough example which would be the material of an explanation of one or another constitutional principal. Or: the pupils, the parents, the teachers are involved emotionally, so the explanation with the examples of 1990s not possible, and not useful at all.
There is only one solution to explain the reality of rights, acts, governing etc.: the connection of these things to the history. All of the modern constitutional institutions and principal were born sometimes in history: greatest part of them was a working reality in the 18-20th century USA and West Europe.
It is necessary to teach more about the constitutional institutions and principals of the USA and West Europe and the Austrian-Hungarian empire... That is the only way how the pupils could realize what these institutions and principles meant and mean, how they worked and work, functioned and function.
The last argument is supported by the most modern constitutional and political elite too.
These are the historical fact which hindered the history teaching of Central Europe to follow the "Western pattern".
The most important sources are East European history textbooks, which available - in translation in Hungarian in the collection of Dr Szabolcs, Budapest. Naturally I used some important books which mirrored the historical thinking of East European countries, and which describe the ideological processes.
ALLWORTH (ed.), Nationality Group Survival in Multi-Ethnic States: Shifting Support Patterns in the Soviet Baltic Region (1977);
ARENDT, The Burden of Our Time (1951; also published as The Origins of Totalitarianism, new ed., 1973, reprinted 1986);
BANAC: The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics (1984),
BEREND and RÁNKI, Economic Development in East-Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries (1974)
BOCIURKIW and STRONG (eds.), Religion and Atheism in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe (1975).
BOKOV: (compiler and ed.), Modern Bulgaria (1981)
BRADLEY, Czech Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century (1984);
BROCK, The Slovak National Awakening (1976);
CHILDS (ed.), Honecker's Germany (1985).
Communism, Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, trans. from Polish (1982);
CVIIC, Remaking the Balkans (1991),
DANIELS, Trotsky, Stalin, and Socialism (1991).
DEÁK, The Lawful Revolution: Louis Kossuth and the Hungarians, 1848-1849 (1979);
DIJANA PLESTINA, "Democracy and Nationalism in Croatia: The First Three Years," in RAMET and ADAMOVICH (eds.), Beyond Yugoslavia: Politics, Economics, and Culture in a Shattered Community (1995), pp. 123-154,
GATI, Hungary and the Soviet Bloc (1986);
GEORGESCU, The Romanians: A History, ed. by MATEI CALINESCU (1991; originally published in Romanian, 1984).
GILBERG, Nationalism and Communism in Romania: The Rise and Fall of Ceausescu's Personal Dictatorship (1990)
HALECKI and POLONSKY, A History of Poland, new ed., trans. from Polish (1983);
HANÁK, Ungarn in der Donaumonarchie: Probleme der bürgerlichen Umgestaltung einer Vielvölkerstaates (1984);
HORVAT, An Essay on Yugoslav Society (1969; originally published in Serbo-Croatian, 1969)
JACQUES: The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present (1995)
KITCHING (eds.), Regional Identity Under Soviet Rule: The Case of the Baltic States (1990).
KOSÁRY, A History of Hungary (1941, reissued 1971);
KOSINSKI, "Changes in the Ethnic Structure of East-Central Europe, 1930-1960, "Geographical Review, 59 (3):388-402 (July 1969),
KREJCÍ, Czechoslovakia at the Crossroads of European History (1990).
LETTRICH, History of Modern Slovakia (1955, reissued 1985),
McCAULEY, The German Democratic Republic Since 1945 (1983),
NAHAYLO and SWOBODA, Soviet Disunion: A History of the Nationalities Problem in the USSR (1990);
PALACKY: The Historian as Scholar and Nationalist (1970);
PINKUS, The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority (1988)
Poland: A Handbook (1977),
RAMET, Nationalism and Federalism in Yugoslavia, 1962-1991, 2nd ed. (1992)
ROGEL, "Slovenia's Independence: A Reversal of History, " Problems of Communism, 40:31-40 (July-August 1991).
SHUKHAT, Moldavia, trans. from Russian (1986),
SIMMONDS (ed.), Nationalism in the USSR & Eastern Europe in the Era of Brezhnev & Kosygin (1977).
SKILLING, The Governments of Communist East Europe (1966);
SPINEI, Moldavia in the 11th-14th Centuries (1986; originally published in Romanian, 1982).
SZAJKOSWKI (ed.), Political Parties of Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Successor States (1994)
TURNOCK: Eastern Europe: An Historical Geography, 1815-1945 (1989);
VAN MEURS, The Bessarabian Question in Communist Historiography (1994),
VARDY, Modern Hungarian Historiography (1976).
VASSILEV: Bulgaria - 13 Centuries of Existence, trans. from Bulgarian
State-Church relations in the history of educational policy
of the first post-communist Hungarian government
In the midwar history of the Hungarian Education the Churches played more significant role then the European average. The great churches - the Catholic, the Calvinist, the Lutheran and the Israelite - controlled the overwhelming majority of schools before the nationalisation of schools in 1948.
The percent of students by the owner of schools,
and by the school-types in the 1935/36 school year
Together, absolut number, in thousands
(Some important fact to understand the table:
"State Catholic" - The schools of Hungarian Educational Found, supervised as direct as the state schools, but managed by the catholic orders.
Burger School - a kind of lower secondary school for the lower middle class, and working class age 10-14.
Gymnasium: Classical secondary school with Latin and Greek, age 10-18,
Realgymnasium: The mostly supported school type of government with Latin and modern language, age 10-18,
Realschool: secondary school with modern languages and sciences, age 10-18.)
This role had historical and ideological reasons: in the midwar period and after 1945 the churches - and the believers - could not finance this huge school system. The process of secularisation had started in the 19th century but it grew in strength in the post Second World War period.
But the nationalisation of the schools did not merely follow this secularisation process but it was forced even further by the communist regime. After the nationalisation, since the 1950s less then 10 church-run secondary schools operated in Hungary. These schools were financed by the state, and the curriculum - except the Weltanschauung - was similar to that at state schools.
In the last period of communism the attitude towards church schooling changed. The newspaper which was controlled by the nationalist wing of reform-communists started to emphasise that the nationalisation of schools belonged to the "Stalinist features of Socialism". (In addition to being an attack against Stalinism, it also attacked the liberal and modernist argumentation, which in the 1970s and 1980s stressed that the nationalisation of church schools was also the aim of the Hungarian liberal and democratic forces in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the Socialist Revolution fulfilled this aim among many of its own.)
The reform-communist regime moved the supervision of the state-church relationship from the State-Church Office (which was described as a tool of Stalinism) to The Ministry of Education. The Minister of Education declared in 1989 that the "reprivatisation of church schools is in the national interest".
The first concrete instances of reprivatisation facilitated the expansion of western oriented foreign policy: George Bush visited the first newly reopened Lutheran school; the American Embassy was actively involved in reopening the first Calvinist school.
The first conflict happened when the Calvinist church - the lay heads of the church and some emigrants - started to urge for the reprivatisation of one of the famous schools of the Budapest elite. The ministry, which was interested in demonstrating its new relationship to the churches, offered the building to the Calvinist Church. But the users of the school building at the time - a secularised elite of Budapest - did not want "to be shifted" from a state school to a church school, and the leader of the educational administration of the city attacked the minister in the press.
During the same time a lot of things happened in the parliament. An act in 1990 changed the Education Act of 1985 and gave churches the right to open as many schools as they wished. The annual budget was changed and it offered the same amount of money from the central budget to both church-run and state-run schools - it was a kind of "money follow pupil" system. Since in this system the church had a right to ask for a fee while the state schools were free of charge, the financial situation of the church schools became better than that of state schools. The ministry wanted to link this extra state support to a special agreement between the ministry and concrete church schools - but in the end the new act on the Churches guarantied this money without any preconditions.
The same act guarantied the right for the churches to deliver religious instruction in public schools "as a facultative subject".
A right wing coalition won the 1990 elections. The biggest party, the Hungarian Democrats Forum, was an umbrella party of different right wing forces: old and new conservatives, populists, the extreme right - practically all of them emphasised the Christian-conservative-national tradition as a central ideology of the party. One of the smaller coalition partners - the Christian Democratic People's Party - had concrete links with the leadership of the Catholic Church. The other small partner , the party of "smallholders" , collected its voters from among the least educated, elderly village people: this group is the most religious one in Hungarian society.
The first case of reprivatisation after the election showed that the privatisation on the basis of claims and on the basis of historical argumentation - a very different phenomenon.
The Association of Christian Intellectuals - a new force of the civil society - decided to change the "spirit" of a secondary school in Budapest called Arany János School. The owner of the school, the municipality, which was still a non-elected one yet, turned down this plan. After this decision, the Saint Marie Society, an organisation which had been the owner of the building before the Second World War, but at the time had no concrete plans in connection with the school, requested the return of the school. The MP of the district (a right wing politician) supported this request. To sum it up: a really existing social group with a real social claim requested the school - but this aim was not supported either by the government or the municipality, but when a traditional "quasi-association" requested it on the basis of a historical argumentation, it was immediately supported by the government party politicians.
The same case showed the conflict existing between the bureaucratic rationalism and political aims. The legal department of the ministry declared that the parents' constitutional right to choose their children's' school, did not mean that they had the right to change the spirit of an existing school. The minister himself, in face of opposition from his own apparatus, still supported the aim of the Saint Marie Society. It was a typical conflict between political and bureaucratic rationalism.
In September this year the Christian democrats focused their policy on defending the municipal schools which had previously chosen the Christian spirit. The Christian democrats suggested legislation to create a new type of schools: "state-financed church school". The Hungarian Democratic Forum - which controlled more then 40% of the seats of the parliament, and mean the dominant factor of the right-wing coalition - was the only party absent during the political/professional meeting which was held to discuss this suggestion. It seemed that the biggest government party had reached a compromise with the Christian democrats in so much as the Christian democrats obtained a kind of hegemony over religious policy. (Later, as a gesture, the opening speech of the parliamentary debate on the act concerning the reprivatisation of the properties which had formerly belonged to the Churches was delivered not by the minister but the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, because he was also one of the leaders of the Christian Democratic People's Party.)
The new parliament had inherited from the last communist parliament a plan of reprivatisation of properties which had belonged to the churches before 1948. But the new majority - with Christian/conservative parties!!! - did not start to debate the plan. It seems, that the new government parties were sure that they would won the municipal election of the autumn of 1990: and they did not want to make complicate the situation of their own local elites. (The municipal act, as one of the most important element of the new constitutional order gave the schools to the hand of municipalities) But not the government parties won the local election. In the greatest part of towns and cities the liberal parties got majorities, in the villages the ex-communist ex-lord majors became lord major again. In this situation the government parties gave green line for the plan of reprivatisation of the properties which had formerly belonged to the Churches. In the spring of 1991 the act passed in the parliament. All of the other actors of political life opposed this act: the liberal parties, the Socialist Party, the alliances of municipalities, the teachers trade unions.
This act made the hierarchy of the churches much stronger, because - from this point not the claim of believers initiated the opening of new church schools, but the decision of the church leaders: they have to decide which buildings are requested among the whole historical property-complex. The government, and the leader elite of government parties intertwined the leaders of the historical churches. The head of the Hungarian Benedictine order told himself: the act of reprivatisation strength the "feudal features" of the Hungarian Catholic Church.
The success of the passing of reprivatisation act made the ministry very optimist in ideological meaning. The right wing parties and the ministry hoped that the hundreds of new church instructed schools (as they hoped the number) would change the face of Hungarian education. The conception of new educational act (version 1991 November) gave special rights for the church schools. (These rights were much wider then the rights of other private schools) (It made possible a special agreement between the church-schools and the ministry, and gave the supervision of this schools into the hand of churches.)
After a long debate the conception of the ministry (version Nov. of 1991 ) accepted: The state and municipal schools organises the education on the basis of the Neutrality Weltanschauung.
In this moment it seemed to be a working compromise: the government ambitions about the "Christian renewing of society" would happen in the church schools - and the state/municipal schools would not be involved into the ideological changes.
But at the end of 1991 the first summarisation of the requests of the properties became ready in the ministry. It became clear that the typical case in the process not the changing of the municipal school to a church school, but the divorce of the building and the institution. In the greatest part of the requesting process the municipalities declared: if the government force them to give the building to church they move the institution of school to an other building, and they ask the expenses from the central budget. Their argument was: they lost a "function": the church school could not fulfil the same function as a municipal school - the municipal school had to be neutral, the church school could not be neutral, naturally.
At the end of 1991 it became clear that the state budget is impossible to compensate all of the "lost municipal function", impossible to finance to building or buying hundreds of new municipal schools instead of old ones (which should be shifted to the churches)
So at the turn of 1991/1992 the conception of the government has changed. The new version (January of 1992) did not define the spirit the municipal and church schools separately, but declared: "In the schools - any kind of school (P.T.N.) - the education is organised on the basis of living peace and quietness of different weltanschauungs".
The government suggested a new point into the act: "If there are a request of population for the church school - the municipality has to make an agreement with the church". ("The request of the population" as definition opened naturally more possibility for the churches, that "The request of the parents" from two reasons: 1. the majority of parents - almost every concrete school which was requested by the churches - refused the changes, but generally - not speaking about their own kids - the people were more open for the requests of churches. 2. In the population - because of the high percentage of elderly people - the proportion of believers was much higher than among the parents.)
The rights wing parties hoped: after the passing of education act there would be no any obstacle the reprivatisation of the municipal schools; the government would not pay any compensation to municipalities, and the municipalities had to finance the church schools.
To understand the weight of these questions it is necessary to know: in the process of requesting more than 6000 property was pointed out by the churches. In these buildings 1304 elementary school, 31 kindergarten, 61 grammar schools, 51 technical schools, 11 vocational schools and 34 student hostel worked.
But - because of some other reasons - the parliamentary debate of the educational act was postponed. The reprivatisation process were full of conflicts: not only the municipalities and political forces attacked the ambition of churches and government, but the greatest part of parents, students and teachers stressed: they did not want "to be shifted" to a church school, they did not want to change school - this forces accepted only one solution, generally: if the municipality - using the compensation sources of government - buy or built an other building for them, and move the whole institution.
In this situation that was only one way in the hand of right wing government: giving more money year by year in the compensation fund. At first the smaller coalition partner (the Christian Democrats) pressed the bigger one in the end of 1992. So in the year of 1993 the process of reprivatisation became quicker. The "Kulturkampf" between the churches and government in one side and the majority of teachers and pupils, municipalities on the other side strengthened.
In the end of 1993 the monetarist forces of the greatest government party stopped the extreme ambitions of Christian democrats: the Christian Democrats suggested 10.000 million forint into the Recompensation Found - but the parliament gave only 4.000 million at last. (The national budget in 1992: 990.424 million Ft, the public education (without university level) - cross the municipalities - got 136.072 million Ft)
The total number of pupils and students in 1993/1994
The number of pupils and students in the church schools in 1993/1994
The % in 1993/1994
The % in 1994/1995
The decision of the Constitutional Court is the real turning point of the story. The constitutional court declared that the public education as function of the municipality is lost when the school has been shifted into the hand of the church. The court declared: "the state (municipality) has to offer a possibility for visiting a Neutral school for everybody who does not want to visit church school."..." The people who choose the neutral school has to right to bring smaller self-denial, then the people who want to visit the church school."
This decision was a great success of the liberal opposition. The minister of culture, who declared that the "neutral school - does not exist" had to leave his position in the first weeks of 1993.
The new educational government made a new plan for the educational act. In the version of February of 1993 the government find two solutions to support the church schooling.
1. The government suggested: "The parents has a constitutional right to send their children to a school, which follow their Weltanschauung". The liberal opposition attacked this principle, because it means: the state have to guarantee organising that kind of schools in a village , if there not similar one. Not only the opponers defined what is it mean. The educational officer of the Catholic Church of Hungary described what is it mean too: in his opinion 1.) the parents have right to ask the teachers about their Weltanschauung in the public schools, 2.) it is necessary to order the publishers sign the "Weltanschauung of text book-writer on the textbooks".
The parliament accept the text of the educational act, as the government suggested, but up to now, that kind of absurdities have not happened.
2. The second important idea of the government was the article about the "agreement about the public education". This article made possible that - on the spring of 1994, when the Public opinion surveys showed that the right wing government would leave its position - the ministry signed an agreement with the churches. The agreement declared that the state in the next 20 year will finance the church school - and not only the normative sum will be given by the state as the act declare it in 1990. It means that one pupil of a church school costs much more for the state-budget, than a pupil of a municipal school.
3. The act made possible the shifting of the municipal schools as institutions to the hand of church. The greatest church/policy conflict of this years belongs this possibility. In a small Hungarian village (namely Dabas-Sari) the right wing municipality gave the municipal school to the Catholic church. There were no other school in the village so the majority parents and teachers - who did not want "to be shifted" to the church could not find an other school. The forces of local "Kulturkampf" was supported from the country level politicians and church leaders. At last the building was separated and two institution - a municipal and a church one - started to work in the building. The catholic bishop initiated to built a real (physical) wall in the building - this wall has become a symbol of the non-flexible behaviour of Catholic church in the eye of the majority of Hungarian society.
The next parliamentary period 1994-1998 a socio-liberal coalition had to form its new policy concerning the church-state-education relation.
(The first version of this text was published: C Wulf (ed) Education for the 21st Century. Waxmann. Münster-New York-München-Berlin, 1997)
The most important sources of study are dailies and weeklies. Some other important studies:
BÍRÓ Judit - SZÉKELYI Mária: Dabas-Sári krónika. In: Világosság 1994/3 37-60. p.
EGYHÁZI iskolák indítása Magyarországon. Tudományos tanácskozás, Gyula, 1992. június 22-24. Bp., Oktatáskutató Intézet, 1992. 65 p. (Kutatás közben, 185.)
HALÁSZ GÁBOR: Társadalmi igények és vallásoktatás. Educatio 1992/1 65-76.p.
KOZMA Tamás: Egyház és demokrácia. In: Educatio, 1. évf. 1992. 1. sz. 3-12.p.
LUKÁCS Péter: Egyházi iskolák Nyugaton és nálunk. In: Educatio, 1. évf. 1992. 1. sz. 26-33.p.
MAGYARORSZÁGI egyházak, felekezetek, vallási közösségek 1993, 1994. - Művelődési és Közoktatási minisztérium 1993, 1994.
NAGY Péter Tibor: A lelkiismereti és vallásszabadság biztosítása az alap és középfokú nevelési-oktatási intézményekben. In: A lelkiismereti és vallásszabadság biztosítása az alap- és középfokú oktatási intézményekben. Bp., Oktatáskutató Intézet, 1992. 2-27. p.
NAGY Péter Tibor: Állam - egyház - iskola. In: Info-Társadalomtudomány. 1991. 18. sz. 35-38. p.
NAGY Péter Tibor: Az egyházi oktatás szabályozásáról. In: Szabad legyen, vagy kötelező? A közoktatási törvény koncepciójához. Szerk. Kozma Tamás, Lukács Péter. Bp., Educatio, 1992. 157-167. p. (Társadalom és oktatás)
SZEMERSZKI Mariann: Tanárok az egyházi iskolákról. In: Educatio, 1. évf. 1992. 2. sz. 345-348. p.
SZIGETI Jenő - SZEMERSZKI Mariann - DRAHOS Péter: egyházi iskolák indítása Magyarországon. Bp., Oktatáskutató Intézet, 1992. 44 p. (Kutatás közben, 184.)
SZIGETI Jenő: Iskola, egyház - verseny. In: Educatio, 1. évf. 1992. 2. sz. 258-259.p.
SZIGETI Jenő: Vallás- és bibliaismeret: egy modellkísérlet. In: Educatio, 1. évf. 1992. 1. sz. 155-157. p.
TOMKA MIKLÓS: Magyar Katolicizmus 1991. - Országos lelkipásztori Intézet Katolikus Társadalomtudományi Akadémia. Bp., 1991.
TOMKA MIKLÓS: Vallás és iskola. In: Educatio, 1992/1 13-25. p.