MP logo MP title

Mátyás Horváth: An Outline of the Development of Hungarian Schools in Yugoslavia Between the Two World Wars

In this paper we summarize the characteristics of the educational system in Vojvodina (Vajdaság) before World War II. Vojvodina was a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural region of Hungary before World War I, comprised mainly of ethnic Hungarians, Germans and Serbs. The educational system had many levels and opportunities. However, in terms of the language of education, 66% of the schools taught in Hungarian when only some 30% of the population was of Hungarian nationality. Injustice to non-Hungarians by ethnicity turned into injustice to Hungarians after World War I, when Vojvodina was given to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The newly formed state signed the minority treaty of Saint Germain in 1919, the 9th paragraph of which guaranteed primary education in the mother tongue. However, the state abandoned secondary and vocational school education in the mother tongues of minorities such as Hungarians and Germans. Church and private schools were nationalized. History and geography were taught in Serbian even in the schools for minorities. The number of Hungarian teachers dropped due to the requirement that they pass a proficiency exam in Serbian on a short notice. Non-Hungarian minorities, Jews or ethnic Hungarians who had Slavic- or German-sounding family names were not allowed to attend Hungarian schools. Due to the reduced number of Hungarian teachers, as many as 66 students were taught by a teacher on averege. To mitigate the shortage of teachers, the Teacher's School in Belgrade opened a Hungarian section in 1933, where thirteen Hungarian teachers had graduated by the start of World War II. The readers for Hungarian schoolchildren were written by Serbian nationals. Even schools for ethnic Hungarians were using geography textbooks in Serbian, and textbooks in both Hungarian and Serbian for teaching history.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 97. Number 3-4. 319-326. (1997)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Horváth Mátyás, Jugoszlávia 24415 Bački Vinogradi Belgradi u. 12.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia