How Did Maria Theresa Reform Austria's Education System?


1 Answers

Richard Marsden Profile
Richard Marsden answered
One of Maria Theresa's advisors, Van Swieten, was concerned with education. The schooling system was dominated by Jesuits, which involved emphasis on classics, scholastic philosophy and theology. The first step was to establish a Ministry of Education, with an initial task of secularising the universities. This was successful in breaking the so called "Jesuit monopoly" of higher education. As the need for bureaucrats was the motive of the reforms, there was a corresponding emphasis on practical subjects such as modern languages, maths and political science.

Secondary education was reorganised along similar lines. The introduction of subjects such as history, geography, maths and German destroyed the predominance of divinity and Latin. Teacher training colleges were also set up, although in many places, teachers remained semi-literate and were troubled constantly by instructions issued from the centre. The main opposition to the new system came from the intended beneficiaries – the common people, who thought that changes were ungodly.

Answer Question