Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
Laicism at the origins of the Argentine Educational System: A perspective based on the configuration of the secondary school
Felicitas Acosta

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


The history of education in Argentina usually considers the enactment of Law 1,420 in 1884 the legislative victory that ushered in laïque schooling in the country. While the scope of that law was limited in terms of territory and it did not explicitly enact laïque teaching in public primary schools, it did prohibit religious instruction during school hours. Most studies of the scope and limitations of that law have focused on elementary or primary school; the object of analysis of some studies, carried out decades later, was the authorization of private universities to issue professional licenses -a situation that unleashed a major conflict between public universities and the newly created Catholic universities.

The development of laïque education in public secondary schools in Argentina has not been studied in depth. The aim of this paper is to begin to examine that question. To that end, it addresses the beginnings of those institutions dedicated to secondary instruction in the second half of the nineteenth century, from schools with Jesuit origins to the development of the State-run colegios nacionales (national schools). Of particular interest are those institutions that were created or directed by religious orders or by clerics that were then taken over by the national State to be turned into colegios nacionales. The hypothesis is that, at the colegios nacionales, the source of legitimation for institutional regulations was displaced from religious practice to knowledge and information.

The paper looks to primary and secondary sources. The primary sources consist of the curricula and organizational regulations at four institutions of the sort described above: the colegios nacionales at the provinces of Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Córdoba and Tucumán. We will also consider the case of the colegio nacional at the province of Entre Ríos, which was created by the State but registers religious practices in its origins. The secondary sources include studies of the organization of those institutions as well as autobiographical novels by students at them. The period encompassed is from 1850 to 1920.