Commission of National Education

Commission Of National Education

Commission of National Education

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The Commission of National Education (, abbreviated KEN, ) was the central educational authority in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created by the Sejm and king Stanisław August Poniatowski on October 14, 1773. Because of its vast authority and autonomy, it is considered the first Ministry of Education in history and an important achievement of the Polish Enlightenment.Ted Tapper, David Palfreyman, Understanding Mass Higher Education: Comparative Perspectives on Access, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0415354919, Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland, Columbia University Press, 2005, ISBN 0231128193,

The basic reason for its creation was that in Poland and Lithuania education was almost entirely controlled by the Jesuits. Although the Jesuit schools were fairly efficient and provided the Polish youth with a good education, they were also very conservative. In addition, in 1773 the Pope decided to close down the Jesuit order, which could have resulted in a complete breakdown of education in the Commonwealth.


The beginning

The Commission was formally created on October 14, 1773. Its main organiser and chief figure was a Catholic priest, Hugo Kołłątaj. Initially the body was formed of 4 senators and 4 members of the Sejm, half of them representing the eastern voivodships of the Commonwealth (from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania). The first head of the KEN was Prince Bishop Michał Jerzy Poniatowski. Although...
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