Page images
PDF
EPUB

consideration the expenses of inspection and administration, there can be no doubt that nearly the whole of the above income is absorbed upon these institutions, and that the expenses of the real schools and universities fall almost wholly as a tax upon the State treasury. Considering that , the gymnasiums of the religious orders are sustained at a somewhat less expense (6–12,000 fl.), it may be approximately estimated that about 1,400,000 fl. are annually expended in all the non-Hungarian provinces of the Empire for the support of gymnasial instruction.

III.-RESULTS OF THE PRESENT SYSTEM. While, as has been seen, the development of gymnasial instruction in Austria equals, in many respects, that in most of the States of Germany, there is still room for a large increase in the number of intermediate schools, both of the higher and lower grades. Nowhere is their usefulness, as yet certainly, limited by their redundance. In the Tyrol, where they are relatively most abundant, there is still but one gymnasial student to 414 inhabitants; but one to 469 in Moravia and Silesia ; to 563 in Carinthia and Carniola; to 615 in Lower Austria and the Littorale; to 675 in Bohemia and Upper Austria ; to 800 in Dalmatia, Galicia, Bukowina, and Styria; to 875 in Lombardy and Venice; and to 2,500 in the Frontier—while as respects nationality, there is but one student to 345 Jews, 587 Germans, 670 Poles, Szechish Moravians, and Slovenes, 778 Italians, and 12–1800 Wallachs, Ruthenes, Croats, and Servians. The increase of attendance, however, especially since 1858, has been very large, amounting since 1851 to from thirty to seventy-five per cent., (excepting the Tyrol, Dalmatia, and Lombardy and Venice, where the increase was much less,) and as an evident refutation of the asserted Germanizing tendency of the system, this increase has been in most cases much the greatest among the non-German races. There has been at the same time a constant diminution in the number of private scholars, showing an increased confidence in the newly organized gymnasiums on the part of the higher and more opulent classes. Indeed more than two-fifths of the privatisten" are found in the kingdom of Lombardy and Venice, and half of the remainder in the five chief cities of German Austria. This last fact is chiefly due to the already overcrowded condition of the lower classes. This overcrowding of the classes, necessarily resulting from the rapidly increased attendance, is far too general for the good of the institutions, about two-fifths of the lower classes exceeding, and sometimes very largely, the legal maximum of fifty in a room. The same occurs, but to a less extent, in the upper classes.

The number of assistants has since 1856 averaged one-third that of the regular teachers, and the disproportion is increasing rather than diminishing. The information respecting the efficiency of the examining boards is incomplete, but it would appear that from 1851 to 1863, there were 1,122 teachers examined and approved. In 1863, of the 297 regular teachers at the gymnasiums of the religious orders, but forty-eight of the

126 located since 1850 had been examined-on the other hand, of the 570 at the other gymnasiums, but twenty-seven out of 442 had not been examined. Great disadvantages and discouragement doubtless result not only from the withholding the right of pension from the teachers of the religious gymnasiuins, but also from the precarious pecuniary circumstances of the teachers, as a class, at all the gymnasiums. It was shown by Bonitz in 1861 that within the preceding ten years the incomes of the teachers had fallen off, while the demand for preparatory training and efficiency had greatly advanced, and at the same time the necessary expenses of living were considerably greater—the cost of house-rent, board and fuel for a married couple without children being estimated at not much less than 900 fl. in Vienna, 700 fl. in Prague, and 600 fl. in other cities, and not much less for an unmarried person. On entering service the condition of the teacher compares not unfavorably with that of other State officials of like grade, but the comparison becomes constantly less favorable, the increase of income affording small compensation for the elsewhere existing chance of promotion.

The efficiency of many institutions is greatly impaired by the want of suitable provision for libraries and other collections. Forty-one gymnasiums have libraries for the teachers of over 2,000 and averaging 3,500 volumes each, while there are others with but a hundred volumes, or even less, and of the students' libraries there are but twenty-two that average over 2,000 volumes and in many gymnasiums they are wholly wanting. The deficiency is made up, however, in some cases by access to the libraries of other institutions. The natural history cabinets are mostly of very recent establishnient and have been greatly aided by the Zoological and Botanical Society of Vienna. Fourteen gymnasiums have collections of vertebrate animals averaging 400 specimens, twelve have collections of invertebrates that average 6,500 specimens, and twenty-three have herbariums that average 4,000 specimens. The mineralogical cabinets, of which fifty-seven average over 2,000 specimens, are in general the best arranged. In the larger cities use is made of the various museums, but the backwardness of instruction at many schools is due to the want of all means of illustration. The apparatus for instruction in physics, geoinetry, geography, &c., is also too often greatly deficient.

The amount of stipends paid in 1863 was 206,373 fl., of which 56,298 f. belonged to the gymnasiums of Bohemia, 31,351 fl. to Lower Austria, and 25,659 f. to Galicia—the amount of each stipend averaging about 100 A. Since the abolition of the stipends derived from the tuition fees, the need of State appropriations to supply the deficiencies of private endowments has been more apparent. Some assistance is derived from aid societies, collections, concerts, &c., but many students are compelled to gain a portion of their support by the private instruction of pupils of the lower classes or in the common schools,

Upon a comparison of the ages of the students at the close of the first year at all the gymnasiums with those in the highest class, it is found that the course of study is actually completed within the prescribed eight years. The exceptions occur chiefly in the polyglot provinces, where the instruction of the common school is the most deficient. Were admission deferred from the beginning to the close of the tenth year, many of the difficulties in the way of instruction would be removed, as much of the over-burdening complained of in the lowest class is due to the defective preparation of the entering scholars. The course of study, notwithstünding the complaints at first made against it, has already gained general approval. Some changes might be advantageously made in regard to geog. raphy and history, as well as natural history and philosophy, and the need is also felt of placing drawing among the obligatory branches of the lower gymnasium. In the optional branches—in singing and gymnastics especially—it is desirable that tuition fees were done away with. A partial criterion of the efficiency of instruction may be found in the results of the annual classification, at which the percentage of those found fitted for promotion was in 1858 and in the seven preceding years about seventysix per cent., and has since increased to eighty-four per cent. Yet there has been a gradual diminution in the number of students that have attained the certificate of the first grade, for preeminent scholarship, from one-fifth in 1851 to one-seventh in 1863. In close conformity with the results of this classification is the relative number of scholars in the seyeral classes, the larger decrease from the fourth to the fifth and from the fifth to the sixth classes being due to the withdrawal of many pupils at the close of the gymnasial course, or at least after a single year in the higher gymnasium. At the close of the course about one-seventh leave without undergoing the maturity examination, of whom two-thirds engage in theological study. Of those examined, ninety-two per cent. succeed at once, two-fifths of the remainder being rejected for six months—the rest, with an occasional exception, passing at the end of a year. Nearly onefifth receive the highest grade of certificate. The standing of the “privatisten " at the examination is found notably inferior to that of the gymnasial students. Of those that have passed the maturity examination the statistics of many years show that with great uniformity fortyone per cent, engage in the study of theology, thirty-seven in law and political economy, thirteen in medical, and seven per cent. in philosophical study.

But slight changes can be pointed out as desirable in the method of administration, prominent among which would be the restoration of the provincial school authorities in the form that existed from 1850 to 1854.

III. REAL SCHOOLS IN AUSTRIA.

1. History. Soon after the idea of the real schools had taken root in Germany, the Moravian Bureau of Trade and Manufactures projected the establishment of a “Mechanics' School" and in 1751 approved a plan drawn up for it by Rabstein, but the want of suitable teachers and books and the breaking out of the seven-years war, prevented its going into operation. Empress Maria Theresa had already in 1745 organized the first university lectures upon experimental physics and in 1757 those upon mechanics, had in 1763 permitted instruction in book-keeping to be given at the Piarist schools, and even established several schools for apprentices. Wolf soon afterwards came from Baden to Vienna and laid before the Empress the plan of a real institute, to include a real academy, real school, and an apprentices' school, and after a trial course in 1770 he was charged with the establishment of the “Real Commercial Academy,” the purpose of which was “to afford to young men, who intend to devote themselves to commercial pursuits, a fundamental knowledge of all that distinguishes a skillful commercial man from a shopkeeper.” The course was biennial and included writing and arithmetic, German, French, and Italian, general and commercial geography, the essentials of ge etry, mechanics, physics, logic, morals, philosophical and positive jurisprudence, commercial and maritime law, book-keeping and drawing. The number of pupils was limited to sixty and the instruction was made exclusively practical. But the prohibitive system of Joseph II., (1784,) exerted a paralyzing influence upon foreign commerce, while domestic trade was left undeveloped, and thus the greatest incentives were wanting for self-improvement in the field for which the Academy was designed. While its definite purpose was to give a special commercial training, it became the aim of the fourth classes of the high schools, to which the Emperor was far more favorably disposed, to give to some extent a more extended general education to those not designing to pursue a course of gymnasial study.

Still the whole subject of real instruction met with comparative neglect until after the death of Joseph and the appointment of the commission for educational reform in 1795, whose attention was urgently called to it by Rottenhann. Less concerned for common schools and gymnasiums, yet as a large, manufacturer of Bohemia he took an active interest in promoting education for commercial and trade purposes and became the creator of the first truly real school of Austria. Under his direction a detailed plan of study was drawn up by Gertsner, and was finally reported by him in 1799 as the basis of what should be “an entirely novel institution,” taking the place for the business classes of the gymnasial and philosophical courses. After long delay the “Plan for the organization and administration of the entire German school system" appeared in 1804, which recognized the real school, indeed, but only as a branch of the common schools and under the same administration. The general plan of Rottenhann was followed with some restriction of the subjects and reduction of the course to three years. The studies proposed as obligatory were religion, (seven hours weekly,) German, French, geography, and arithmetic, (each nine hours,) history and mechanics, (two hours,) elementary geometry, (five hours) natural history and physics, and calligraphy, (seven hours,) and drawing, (six hours,)--and as obligatory at the pleasure of the parent, book-keeping, agriculture, mathematics and drawing for artists and artisans, and Italian, (five hours each,) commercial science, with the laws of exchange and a knowledge of commodities, physics, and chemistry, (four hours,) and agricultural drawing, (three hours.)

It was not until 1809 that the Commercial Academy was remodeled upon this plan as the first Austrian real school. Two years later the instruction relative to agriculture and art was omitted. As it was required for admission that the pupil should have completed both years of the fourth class at the high school, the latter became in fact a lower real school, giving preparatory instruction in the principal branches of the real school course. After the model of the Vienna school, institutions were founded at Brünn in 1811, at Brody in 1815, and at Lemberg in 1817, and the lower department of the naval school at Triest was organized in the same year as a real school, independent of the common school authorities, as was now also that at Vienna, having been united to the Polytechnic Institute. But the spirit of political isolation that prevailed in the government and the restrictions alınost prohibitory that were laid upon commerce, hindered the growth of these institutions, so that even in 1829 the three schools at Brünn, Brody and Lemberg numbered but little over two hundred pupils. The rapid progress that now commenced in the industry of Austria awakened a new interest in real schools, and Bohemia, which surpassed all the other provinces in the rapid development of its manufactures and trade, took the lead by establishing a real school at Prague, in 1833, in connection with the polytechnic institute, followed by one at Rakonitz in 1834, and at Reichenberg in 1837. Like schools were also organized by Styria at Gratz in 1841, and at Milan and Venice. At the same time the number of fourth classes at the high-schools was continually increasing and many private institutions of a special technical or commercial character were opened. In 1844 a revision of the real school plan had been resolved upon, which was interrupted by the revolution of 1848.

The new Ministry of Instruction found themselves less prepared for an immediate reorganization of the real schools than of the gymnasium. Feuchtersleben proposed that there should be in every city a lower real or burgher school of three classes, formed from the fourth high school classes, in which all the branches of the common school should be continued and at the same time special instruction be given preparatory for the

« PreviousContinue »