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Mihály Csejoszki : Catholic Schooling in the Education System of Hungary’s Political Dictatorship: A Socio-Educational Study of the Benedictine Grammar School at Pannonhalma

During the era of political dictatorship in Hungary, significant changes took place within the structure of society, which also affected education, as evidence shows. In the second half of the 20th century, the Hungarian Communist Party attempted to ‘nationalize’ society according to its own goals and interests. Religious persecution formed a part of this effort, which aimed to disengage the churches from society; moreover, education was subordinated to the dissemination of ‘scientific materialism’. Under socialism the education system of the dictatorship barely met the demands of religion and of parents who preferred religious education, and the handful of denominational institutions suffered significant drawbacks in the competition among schools. Nevertheless, these schools managed to cope with this situation effectively. The aim of this study was to observe and identify the role of the Benedictine Grammar School at Pannonhalma within the socialist educational and social system based on school records. It can be stated on the grounds of the analysis that the school’s primary intake comprised members of social classes persecuted and oppressed by the dictatorship. This institution clearly drew on the social and political elite of the Horthy era (1920–1944) and on parents demanding religious education while undertaking all of its ‘disadvantageous’ consequences. Accordingly, the motivations for enrolment at Pannonhalma were determined by the political environment, on the one hand, and by the demand for religious education, on the other. Therefore, the school attracted pupils from the whole country, thus explaining the diverse social background of the parents whose children were enrolled there, which differed from the national average. Furthermore, attempts aimed at eliminating the Horthy-era social model could be detected during the research as well. Moreover, the common perception that ‘even the children of party leaders went to Pannonhalma’ is refuted.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 112. Number 3. 149-166. (2012)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Csejoszki Mihály, Pannonhalmi Bencés Gimnázium, Egyházzenei Szakközépiskola és Kollégium, H–9090 Pannonhalma, Vár 1.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia