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EDUCATION IN DENMARK:

ITS HISTORY AND PRESENT CONDITION.

EDUCATION IN DENMARK.*

GENERAL REMARKS.

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, the present constitution being embodied in the charter of June 5, 1849, which was modified in some important respects in 1855 and in 1863, but was again restored, with various alterations, by a statute which obtained the royal sanction July 28, 1866. According to this charter, the executive power is vested in the King and bis responsible ministers and the right of making and amending laws in the Rigsdag, or Diet, acting in conjunction with the sovereigu.

The King must be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is declared to be the state church. The Rigsdag comprises the Landsthing, or Upper House, and the Folkething, or House of Commons. The Landsthing consists of 66 members. Of these, 12 are appointed for life by the Crown, from among actual or former members of the Folkething, and the rest are selected indirectly by the people for the term of eight years. The choice of the latter 54 members of the Landstbing is given to electoral bodies composed partly of the largest tax payers in the country districts, partly of deputies of the largest tax-payers in the cities, and partly of deputies from the totality of citi. zens possessing the franchise. Every citizen who has passed his twenty-fifth year is eligible to the Landsthing. The Folkething, or House of Commons, consists of 102 members, returned in direct election, by manhood suffrage, for the term of three years. The franchise belongs to every male citizen who has reached his thirtieth year, who is not in actual receipt of public charity, (or who, if he has at any former time been in receipt of it, has repaid the sums so received,) who is not in private service without having his own household, and who has resided at least one year in the electoral district on the lists of which his name is inscribed. All men of good reputation, past the age of twenty-five, are eligible to the Folkething. Both the members of the Landsthing and of the Folkething receive payment for their services and at the same rate.

The ministers have free access to both of the legislative assemblies, but can vote only in the chamber of which they are members. They

* This summary has been compiled from the following publications : Hippeau's L'instruction publique dans les États du Nord; Kongelig Dansk Hof og Statscalender, 1876 ; Seyffarth’s Chronik des Volksschulweseus, 1875 und 1876; Schmid's Encyclopädie des Erziehungs- und Unterrichtswesen, 10. Band.

are appointed by the King, are individually and collectively responsible for their acts, and in case of impeachment and being found guilty cannot be pardoned without the consent of the Folkething.

The area of Denmark (excluding dependencies) is 14,553 square miles. The population of the kingdom proper was estimated to be in 1876 1,903,000, about 99 per cent. of wbom belong to the established Lutheran Church, which was introduced as early as 1537, under Christian III. Complete religious toleration is extended to every sect. It is enacted by article 76 of the constitution that “all citizens may worship God according to their own fashion, provided they do not offend morality or public order;" by article 77 no man is bound to contribute to the support of a form of worship which he does not approve; and by article 79 no man can be deprived of his civil and political rights on the ground of religion, nor be exempted on this account from the performance of his duties as a citizen.

Agriculture and fisbing are the principal occupations of the Danish people, whose good social condition is generally admired.

HISTORY OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.

Denmark has long been noted for the excellence of her schools. As early as the year 965 we find schools connected with the different cathedrals and convents. Later, in the twelfth century, existed Latin schools, so called, in almost all the larger towns. These schools were greatly inproved by the Reformers, about 1538. In addition to the then existing grades, they established lower grades for the children from the country. They also organized the so called writing schools for poor boys and girls, and placed them under the control of the municipal au. thorities. The catechism was taught all over the country, either in large residences, where a number of children met, or in schools. Trained teachers were not very bumerous in those times, and therefore the pupils of the bighest classes, the sextons of the various churches, and the students of theology were expected to devote a great deal of their time to the instruction of children. The perfection and extension of the system of popular instruction date from the beginning of the eighteenth century, when Bishop Thestrup, of Aalberg, caused 6 parish schools to be established in Copenhagen and when King Frederick IV (1699– 1730) had 240 school-houses built, each consisting of a school room and a dwelling for the teacher. By royal decree of 1721, these schools were regulated and the salaries of the teachers definitely fixed. Religious instruction and reading were made obligatory, while writing and arithmetic remained optional studies. Children were required to attend school from their fifth to their eighth year every day for fire or six hours, and after this period only half a day. Many noblemen and landed proprietors soon followed the royal example and established similar schools for the children of their tenants.

The general superrision of the schools was left to the clergy. Hith

erto the system of public instruction had not been general. Christian VI, (1730–1746,) seeing this deficiency, ordained in 1739 the establishment of common or parish schools in every town and in every larger village. The branches of instruction were to be religion, reading, writing, and aritbmetic. No one was to be allowed to teach unless he bad shown himself qualified to the satisfaction of the clergyman of the parish. These schools were to be supported by a revenue fund, collections, fines, and a school tax. A large number of the so-called Latin schools in smaller towns were abolished and their funds appropriated for the common schools. Many difficulties, however, (especially the objections of the landed proprietors, who had their own schools on their estates,) hindered the free development of the common school system, and it was not until 1814 that a new and more favorable era was inaugurated by the law of July 29 of that year. According to this law the general control of the schools is in the hands of a minister of public instruction and subordinate superintendents for the several departments of the king. dom.

Each parish is obliged to furnish good primary school buildings, with teachers for the instruction of children in reading, writing, and arithmetic, tbe Lutheran catechism, grammar, history, and geography. Attendance is made compulsory for all children between the ages of seven and fourteen. In addition to the teachers' seminary (normal school) of Joenstrup, founded in 1791, 4 new seminaries had to be erected, at Skaarup, Lyngbye, Jelling, and Ranun.

Instruction in gymnastics was introduced into all the schools in 1828. Evening schools for adults were established in every town and higher burgher schools in the larger towns in 1838.

The following is a summary of the laws and decrees of 1814, 1844, 1855, 1856, and 1857, in accordance with which the present school system is governed :

(1) Attendance upon school on the part of the children is absolutely obligatory. Parents and guardians are compelled to send their children and wards to school, either public or private; that is, they are to see that the children receive instruction of the same quantity and quality prescribed in the public schools.

(2) The children are required to attend school from the age of seven to fourteen; when, after having passed the prescribed examination, they are confirmed. No person can be employed, apprenticed, or married who has not been confirmed as a member of some church, and none can be confirmed unless able to read and write the mother tongue.

(3) Whosoever does not comply with the compulsory provisions of the school law is fined, and in special cases the children may be taken from the parents or guardians and intrusted to appointed persons, who will see that they receive the required instruction.

(4) The public schools are divided into two classes, viz, primary or ele. mentary and secondary or intermediate. In the schools of the city of

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