Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
On the Way to Coeducation in Secondary Grammar Schools: The Case of Hungary (1883–1949)
Magdolna Rébay

Última modificación: 2017-08-10


The first codifications of the first law of the Hungarian Secondary Grammar School (1883) regarded the students of the secondary grammar school being evidently boys. Therefore, girls were not even excluded from the studies. These backstairs were used for some females to enrol to grammar schools as private students. The idea of a girls’ secondary grammar school was established from the 1860’s on the part of Women’s Associations more and more deliberately. The same reasons of emancipation were in the background as in other places of the Western world: the elimination of cultural, economic and political disadvantages. However, just as in other places of Central Europe (Albisetti 1994: 14–31; Flich 1992: 58–59.; Kraul 1991: 280-283,; Goodman, Albisetti, Rogers 2010: 4–7.), the first chance of opening a girls’ grammar school in the 1890’s. At the same time, the question of coeducation was raised in social and professional disputes. That was definitely disagreed by the educational government, though. There were more and more girls’ secondary schools opened, their increase in number was far from following the social demands. In districts with few schools, the maintainers of boys’ schools permitted the accepting of girls – as private students, as they could not be regular students. After time, they could visit more lessons – they became ’commuter private students’. In practice, coeducation was realized but it became legal only in 1949.

In my research, I attempted to map this process. I was curious to see how it was possible to have more and girls study in boys’ schools in spite of the legal restriction. What school and higher level – maintainers; e.g. ecclesiastical – measures were born in this respect? How did the profession react to the coeducation? Were there any steps against it from the side of the state? How did the teacher staff welcome the presence of girls? Did they see it adequate to change the former pedagogical practice?

My sources were laws, press cuttings, school sources (reports, staff minutes). The method is qualitative document analysis.

Results show that there was not a big professional discourse over the question. Only feminist organizations took the floor for it. The lack of dispute denotes that the larger society was against it but admitted its practical need of use. Maintainers ruled coeducation in national level in the end. They defined the status of the girls, their ratio and the school requirements of their acceptance and also took care of their accommodation and supervision. There were minor differences among the measures, their common feature is that only girls with excellent or good results were admitted in the boys’ schools, in small number still, and they were isolated from the boys during and after lessons. The state did not have a word in the progress respecting the maintainers until the 1930’s when it asked for a greater strictness from the maintainers – in the name of the prevailing more conservative view of the time.