« AnteriorContinuar »
Würtemberg has long enjoyed the reputation of having a system and standard of culture surpassed by those of no other part of the German nation, Prussia itself not excepted. The fundamental necessity of public education to social order and political security is recognized everywhere and among all classes. The primary feature of governmental administration in this relation is that education is not optional but obligatory. Every child in the kingdom, except the impotent and imbecile, is obliged by public statute to attend school between the ages of 7 and 14; and this law is rigidly and universally enforced. I believe this is a rule which prevails throughout the whole German Empire, and its ad. vantages are everywhere obvious, not only here but in America as well, whither so many thousands of Germans annually emigrate. They are thus prepared by home culture for the privileges of intelligent freemen.
To attempt a classification of the various departments of public education in Würtemberg would occupy more space than can be allotted to a report like this. Suffice it to say that every essential element of popular culture receives careful attention. Beginning at the university, we can trace the gradation of culture in existing institutions through every step of literature, science, and art to the purest utilitarianism, embodied, for example, in agricultural schools and veterinary colleges.
UNIVERSITY OF TÜBINGEN. Tübingen is the university town of Würtemberg and it has for a generation had a wide repute in America for the learning and, I may add, the heterodoxy of its theologians. In the department of theology Tübingen has not now so great a fame as it had during the life of Dr. Baur, whose works are kuown to every well read theologian in the civilized world. But there is no department of literature or science in which the University of Tübingen will not compare favorably with any other similar institution in the German Empire. Its annual register for 1874–75 reports an attendance of 827 students. One characteristic feature of this ancient seat of learning I must not omit to mention. I mean that of religious toleration.
Here, under governmental protection and support, are two theological faculties of the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths, each having its own students, and all, teachers and taught, living in friendly accord. In several visits which I have made to Tübingen University I have inquired in vain for any instance of strife between these opposing elements of religious thought, and I have been sometimes tempted to dream that the millennial morning will shed its first beams on this quiet Swabian town, which has nothing to distinguish it from a common place settlement save the vast erudition which it contains and the rare example of Christian fraternity which it exhibits.
GYMNASIUM AND REALGYMNASIUM.
The proper school of preparation for the university is the Gymnasium, which, in its general features, may be likened to an American college, the ancient classics being a prominent element in the cur. riculum.
Approaching by gradation toward the schools for practical scientific culture, the next step below the Gymnasium is the Realgymnasium, in which classic and scientific education are combined, Latin being taught nearly up to the standard of American colleges ; Greek, how. ever, being wholly omitted and, instead of this, mathematics being pursued to a very high grade; so that the student at his graduation can elect between a university and a polytechnic school for the further prosecution of his studies.
Next below the Realgymuasium is what is called the Realschule, in which the ancient languages are wholly omitted and mathematics, the natural sciences, French, and English are thoroughly taught, with a view to the requisitions of practical life. The Realschule may be called the bud, of which the polytechnic school is the blossom.
POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL, STUTTGART.
The polytechnic school is a genuine university of applied science; and Europe does not, probably, possess a polytechnic school of higher grade than the one which is located in Stuttgart. Here architecture and civil and mechanical engineering are taught by professors whose ability is surpassed, probably, by that of no living men in their several departments. It should be added that the Stuttgart polytechnic school is not wholly a utilitarian institution ; for the department of belles lettres is furnished with teachers of deep erudition and wide fame. I would make special mention of Professors Lübke and Fischer, whose lectures in the polytechnic in art history and literature are not only open to, but are also largely patronized by ladies. Of Prof. Wilhelm von Lübke, who occupies the chair of art history in the Stuttgart polytech
nic, I need not speak, as his learned works, translated into almost every ' language in which modern culture is represented, have made his name known among the educated classes throughout the civilized world.
Cognate with the polytechnic school, though on the scale of scientific learning a step beneath it, is what is called the Bauschule, (building school,) in which hundreds of mechanics annually qualify themselves, by adding knowledge to manual skill, for the position and increased pay of master builders. This school is one of the most useful institutions in the kingdom; it occupies a building of stately magnificence which is a prominent architectural feature in the capital of Würtemberg, a city renowned for its palaces.
CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC.
A single word must be devoted to the schools of art and music in Stuttgart, both of which have excellent faculties and a large patronage, both home and foreign. Not to dwell on the former of these, I will say that probably no music school now existing in Europe enjoys quite so enviable a reputation as the Stuttgart Conservatory of Music, which at present numbers about 600 pupils from all parts of the world, a large fraction being from America. The high rank which it has obtained is probably, in great' measure, due to its founder, Prof. Sig. mund Lebert, whose Method for the Piano has a wide circulation in both hemispheres.
Besides the special schools already named I should not omit to inention the Handelschule, (commercial school,) in which are pursued the branches which are especially adapted to the mercantile profession.
Of course it is impossible for all to share in the privileges of higher classic and scientific culture; and, recognizing the popular needs, the government of Würtemberg has made liberal provision for the Volksschule, which is similar in every essential particular to the American common school. And it may be stated in general that the instruction furnished here is at least on a par with that imparted to the corre. sponding class in any portion of Europe. I must, however, add that nowhere in Europe have I found a system of common school education which seems to me equal in all respects to that which is justly the pride of American civilization.
But it must be added that, with the conservative elements which prevail in most European nations, the need of popular culture does not make itself so deeply felt; whereas with us it is the only trustworthy safeguard against the perils of universal freedom.
PAY OF TEACHERS.
A few items of information concerning the pay of the teaching class in Würtemberg may fitly find place in this communication. It will