Contents international patterns in the history of Hungarian educational administration

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Péter Tibor Nagy

The social and political history
of Hungarian education

Education and Society PhD School - University of Pécs - John Wesley College - Budapest


International patterns in the history of Hungarian

educational administration

Historical Research
(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.

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