Education: In the Beginning


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The poem is composed of phrases of four characters each, thus containing exactly one thousand unique characters, and was sung in the same way that children learning the Latin alphabet may use the " alphabet song ". Later, children also learn the Hundred Family Surnames , a rhyming poem in lines of eight characters composed in the early Song dynasty [55] i.


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From around the 13th century until the latter part of the 19th century, the Three Character Classic , which is an embodiment of Confucian thought suitable for teaching to young children, served as a child's first formal education at home. The text is written in triplets of characters for easy memorization.

With illiteracy common for most people at the time, the oral tradition of reciting the classic ensured its popularity and survival through the centuries. With the short and simple text arranged in three-character verses, children learned many common characters, grammar structures, elements of Chinese history and the basis of Confucian morality. After learning Chinese characters, students wishing to ascend in the social hierarchy needed to study the Chinese classic texts.

The early Chinese state depended upon literate, educated officials for operation of the empire. In AD, during the Sui dynasty , for the first time, an examination system was explicitly instituted for a category of local talents. The merit-based imperial examination system for evaluating and selecting officials gave rise to schools that taught the Chinese classic texts and continued in use for 1, years, until the end the Qing dynasty , being abolished in in favour of Western education methods.

The core of the curriculum for the imperial civil service examinations from the midth century onwards was the Four Books , representing a foundational introduction to Confucianism. Theoretically, any male adult in China, regardless of his wealth or social status, could become a high-ranking government official by passing the imperial examination, although under some dynasties members of the merchant class were excluded. In reality, since the process of studying for the examination tended to be time-consuming and costly if tutors were hired , most of the candidates came from the numerically small but relatively wealthy land-owning gentry.

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However, there are vast numbers of examples in Chinese history in which individuals moved from a low social status to political prominence through success in imperial examination. Under some dynasties the imperial examinations were abolished and official posts were simply sold, which increased corruption and reduced morale. In the period preceding — AD, prefectural schools had been neglected by the state and left to the devices of wealthy patrons who provided private finances.

Each university specialized in a particular field of study. Takshila specialized in the study of medicine, while Ujjain laid emphasis on astronomy. Nalanda, being the biggest centre, handled all branches of knowledge, and housed up to 10, students at its peak. Indigenous education was widespread in India in the 18th century, with a school for every temple, mosque or village in most regions of the country.

The schools were attended by students representative of all classes of society. The history of education in Japan dates back at least to the 6th century, when Chinese learning was introduced at the Yamato court. Foreign civilizations have often provided new ideas for the development of Japan's own culture.

Chinese teachings and ideas flowed into Japan from the sixth to the 9th century. Along with the introduction of Buddhism came the Chinese system of writing and its literary tradition , and Confucianism. During the medieval period — , Zen Buddhist monasteries were especially important centers of learning, and the Ashikaga School, Ashikaga Gakko , flourished in the 15th century as a center of higher learning.

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Aztec is a term used to refer to certain ethnic groups of central Mexico , particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who achieved political and military dominance over large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the Late post-Classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.

At 15, all boys and girls went to school. The Mexica, one of the Aztec groups, were one of the first people in the world to have mandatory education for nearly all children, regardless of gender, rank, or station [ citation needed ]. There were two types of schools: the telpochcalli , for practical and military studies, and the calmecac , for advanced learning in writing, astronomy, statesmanship, theology, and other areas. The two institutions seem to be common to the Nahua people, leading some experts to suggest that they are older than the Aztec culture.

Aztec teachers tlatimine propounded a spartan regime of education with the purpose of forming a stoical people. Girls were educated in the crafts of home and child raising. They were not taught to read or write. All women were taught to be involved in religion; there are paintings of women presiding over religious ceremonies, but there are no references to female priests.

Inca education during the time of the Inca Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries was divided into two principal spheres: education for the upper classes and education for the general population. The royal classes and a few specially chosen individuals from the provinces of the Empire were formally educated by the Amautas wise men , while the general population learned knowledge and skills from their immediate forebears. The Amautas constituted a special class of wise men similar to the bards of Great Britain.

They included illustrious philosophers , poets , and priests who kept the oral histories of the Incas alive by imparting the knowledge of their culture, history, customs and traditions throughout the kingdom.

Considered the most highly educated and respected men in the Empire, the Amautas were largely entrusted with educating those of royal blood, as well as other young members of conquered cultures specially chosen to administer the regions. Thus, education throughout the territories of the Incas was socially discriminatory, most people not receiving the formal education that royalty received.

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The official language of the empire was Quechua , although dozens if not hundreds of local languages were spoken. The Amautas did ensure that the general population learn Quechua as the language of the Empire, much in the same way the Romans promoted Latin throughout Europe ; however, this was done more for political reasons than educational ones Modern systems of education in Europe derive their origins from the schools of the High Middle Ages. Most schools during this era were founded upon religious principles with the primary purpose of training the clergy.

Many of the earliest universities, such as the University of Paris founded in , had a Christian basis.

The History of Education

In addition to this, a number of secular universities existed, such as the University of Bologna , founded in Free education for the poor was officially mandated by the Church in when it decreed that every cathedral must assign a master to teach boys too poor to pay the regular fee; [61] parishes and monasteries also established free schools teaching at least basic literary skills. With few exceptions, priests and brothers taught locally, and their salaries were frequently subsidized by towns.

Private, independent schools reappeared in medieval Europe during this time, but they, too, were religious in nature and mission. In northern Europe this clerical education was largely superseded by forms of elementary schooling following the Reformation. In Scotland , for instance, the national Church of Scotland set out a programme for spiritual reform in January setting the principle of a school teacher for every parish church and free education for the poor. This was provided for by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland , passed in , which introduced a tax to pay for this programme.

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Although few countries of the period had such extensive systems of education, the period between the 16th and 18th centuries saw education become significantly more widespread. Herbart developed a system of pedagogy widely used in German-speaking areas. Mass compulsory schooling started in Prussia c to "produce more soldiers and more obedient citizens". In Central Europe , the 17th century scientist and educator John Amos Comenius promulgated a reformed system of universal education that was widely used in Europe. Its growth resulted in increased government interest in education. He proposed to educate young Russians of both sexes in state boarding schools, aimed at creating "a new race of men".

Betskoy set forth a number of arguments for general education of children rather than specialized one: "in regenerating our subjects by an education founded on these principles, we will create The commission functioned as the first government Ministry of Education in a European country. By the 18th century, universities published academic journals ; by the 19th century, the German and the French university models were established.

The French established the Ecole Polytechnique in by the mathematician Gaspard Monge during the French Revolution, and it became a military academy under Napoleon I in In the 19th and 20th centuries, the universities concentrated upon science, and served an upper class clientele.

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Science, mathematics, theology, philosophy, and ancient history comprised the typical curriculum. Increasing academic interest in education led to analysis of teaching methods and in the s the establishment of the first chair of pedagogy at the University of Halle in Germany. Contributions to the study of education elsewhere in Europe included the work of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi in Switzerland and Joseph Lancaster in Britain. In , a groundbreaking education conference was held in London at the International Health Exhibition , attracting specialists from all over Europe.

In the late 19th century, most of West, Central, and parts of East Europe began to provide elementary education in reading, writing, and arithmetic, partly because politicians believed that education was needed for orderly political behavior. As more people became literate, they realized that most secondary education was only open to those who could afford it. Having created primary education, the major nations had to give further attention to secondary education by the time of World War I.


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In the 20th century, new directions in education included, in Italy, Maria Montessori 's Montessori schools ; and in Germany, Rudolf Steiner 's development of Waldorf education. France had many small local schools where working-class children — both boys and girls — learned to read, the better to know, love and serve God. The sons and daughters of the noble and bourgeois elites, however, were given quite distinct educations: boys were sent to upper school, perhaps a university, while their sisters perhaps were sent for finishing at a convent.

The Enlightenment challenged this old ideal, but no real alternative presented itself for female education. Only through education at home were knowledgeable women formed, usually to the sole end of dazzling their salons.

Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning Education: In the Beginning
Education: In the Beginning

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