Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 21, Issue 3, 2011

Poland in the Context of Russia’s Way to Europe

Józef Hen, Lesław Kawalec
Pages 39-45

Towards Enlightening Future Citizens

Faced with the loss of a part of the Polish state’s territory, that is, after the first partitioning of Poland by the neighboring countries—Russia, Austria and Prussia—and fearing even worse possible scenario of the loss of independence, the last king of Poland Stanisław August Poniatowski made a far-sighted decision, which he implemented on 14 October, 1773, by a motion, passed by the Partition Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, establishing the Commission for National Education, prefiguring the Ministry for National Education. The source of funding was the post-Jesuit property obtained by the suppression of the Jesuit Order by Pope Clement XIV; the order was abolished in Poland, as well. Cracow and Vilna universities were modernized, and these were also entrusted with the direct supervision of secondary schools, created anew as secular ones. Instruction in parochial elementary schools was carried out in Polish only; few of those were set up in the countryside, though. Entries were invited for course books in natural sciences and the history of Poland. Women were included in the state’s educational effort, too.