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Péter Szebenyi: Division and Unifacation – Content Control and School Structure

This paper outlines two trends of the development of education in the countries belonging to the Atlantic centre. On one hand, it discusses how the dividends have been moving toward unification, and on the other hand how the need for differentiation has been increasing within this process. The two trends have been discussed on a macro level from the point of view of the changes in content control and school structure. Starting from the premise that the school structure is the highest level of content control because it is the school structure that distributes social knowledge in a certain system, different periods of this process are identified in the paper. The first is the period of natural knowledge distribution when each pupil learns what they need in their future adult life. The second is the period of external content control when during the time of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation the distribution of social knowledge beyond the natural needs was started in order to disseminate certain ideas among the people. The third is the state period, that of the distribution of social knowledge by acts of education and central curricula serving the purposes of the state. The fourth is the period of the political movements for a more equal social knowledge distribution. Finally, the present period is discussed which can be designated as a period of constitutional rights to cultural literacy. The process of unification in the above mentioned periods is presented through the analysis of four models. The first is the model of the externally unified and internally divided system, with the USA as a pattern country. The models of the successful and unsuccessful attempt for shaping a pattern unified both externally and internally are England, Sweden and the former socialist countries. The example of Germany is presented as an externally divided model with attempts to create internal unification. Finally, the author argues that Hungary has moved toward a model of both an externally and internally divided system in the last decade. Since this tendency was taking the country in exactly the opposite direction than international and historical tendencies, this has presented a great challenge for Hungarian policy makers.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 97. Number 3-4. 271-302. (1997)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Szebenyi Péter, József Attila Tudományegyetem, Pedagógiai Tanszék, H–6722 Szeged, Petőfi S. sgt. 30–34.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia