The Revolution, Napoleon, and Education

The article from which I have excerpted below is about history of mass education in France.

I will discuss this and a few other pieces from histories of mass education for the readers of this blog as I find some more time over the weekend.   The purpose of this series of posts in history of mass education will be to initiate a conversation and develop insights about the role of various segments of society, including the significance of the role of ‘elites,’ in creation of the institution of mass education in different countries and regions. The need for such a conversation arose via questions raised by an earlier post about the role of public demand and elite.

Here some excerpts, and the link to the article.  Keep visiting the blog to read more:

‘Education was high on Napoleon’s list of priorities, which were in large part those of the middle class. Napoleon believed in a system of merit, and for such a system to be effective there must be some form of widespread education, especially at the secondary level. Besides, the state of French education was not all that it could have been when Napoleon began to rule. This fact was made abundantly clear by the results of a survey of all prefects in the nation conducted in March of 1801, under the direction of Minister for Home Affairs Chaptal. Numerous complaints were heard regarding the lack of schools in many areas, lack of professionalism among teachers, lack of discipline and attendance by the students and, in a few areas, the lack of religious education. [14]

And this about the interest of Napoleon in secondary education.

Secondary education was extremely important to Napoleon. In a letter to Home Affairs Minister Chaptal on June 11, 1801, Napoleon outlined in some detail his opinions on the structure of education for boys. He divided such education into two parts: under age twelve and over age twelve. The first four classes [grades] would teach general topics such as reading, writing, history, and the use of arms. The second class would be divided into those boys who were destined for a civil career, and those destined for a career in the military. Civil careers would stress languages, rhetoric and philosophy; military education would stress mathematics, physics, chemistry, and military matters. Both civil and military graduates would be guaranteed employment in their chosen career. [16] On May 1, 1802, a decree established what was to be a new system of education in France. [17] This new system would be the foundation for the system found in France today.

via The Revolution, Napoleon, and Education.

In days ahead, this blog will be posting in this space links to freely available articles history of education, especially the early history of the development of mass education.

Disclaimer: The external websites are quoted on this blog to provide the readers with a range of opinions on any given topic to help them reflect on their own questions concerning the issue being discussed.  This blog does not endorse views expressed on external websites unless explicitly stated.

About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

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