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Mihály Szabó Kékes: The Main Features of Kuno Klebelsber's University Policy Objectives

Kuno Klebelsberg, Minister of Religious Affairs and Public Education between 1922–31, understood and professed that the only way for Hungarians to escape the deep lethargy of territorial losses and economic collapse after the first world war was to aspire for cultural supremacy by preserving and improving the cultural achievements of the nation. Because of the scarcity of financial resources, in his first years in office Klebelsberg provided the conditions for the operation of institutions that served the preservation and improvement of higher learning. Later he focused on the development of institutions for promoting access to culture and education for the entire population. Under the auspice of targeting cultural supremacy, he urged the relocation of the universities of Kolozsvár and Pozsony to Szeged and Pécs, respectively. These universities had been established earlier but were prohibited in their operation by the administration of Romania and Czechoslovakia, the countries which these regions had been annexed to. Klebelsberg provided for the establishment, building and equipping of the universities in the country towns of Szeged, Pécs and Debrecen (the last of which had been opened in 1914 but was operating under basic conditions because of the war.) Klebelsberg wished to develop the country universities into regional cultural centers. He expected the staff of departments of the same disciplines at different universities to provide new impetus to academic life in Hungary with discussions and debates. He obtained state support for the construction of university buildings but the towns in question also had to contribute to the costs of establishing the institutions. Klebelsberg insisted that the new buildings had to be functional as well as beautiful by European standards. Since the country universities were smaller than the Budapest institution, he believed that personal contact between professors and students would be possible there. He also promoted the greater use of more intensive forms of instruction, such as seminars and laboratory practices. He took several measures to raise the standards of instruction and to ease the welfare problems of students.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 96. Number 3. 253-260. (1996)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Kékes Szabó Mihály, József Attila Tudo¬mány¬egye¬tem Pedagógiai Tanszék, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia