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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (March 1, 1878)
A Visit to a Gkhman gymnasium.
I ii ,
schools, but even within each state itsell,
tlfoliost of institutions, publicnml private,
sectarian and secular, and general, roprc
sonting every species of organization,
corporation, and endowment, embodying
and enforcing evciy theory, notion, and
whim of culture, having scarcely any de
pendence upon, or relation to one an oilier,
and yet all pouring their graduates into
colleges and universilies arc not oalcu
lated to diminish his bewilderment.
Not so here ; the system is a state system :
the schools, from lowest to highest,
arc sustained and fostered by the slate, and
sustain fixed and graduated relations lo
one another. Institutions of the same
name are on a perfect parity, and oiler
precisely the same essential course of in
struction. A Gymnasium in Prussia docs
iioL.diHer from a Gymnasium in Bavaria
or Austria, since the recent reform, not
even in the order of the classes and the
arrangement of the curriculum.
The American is struck with the role
which the "future calling" plays in the
conversation of the German student. He
is incessantly talking of his Stauts-stcl-lung,
his expected appointment in the ser
vice of the government; he talks of it,
strives for it, and is sure to obtain it. It
would be a rare phenomenon here indeed,
to (hid a student who had not chosen his
calling, who docs not know precisely
what his life-work is to bo. Hence his
questions in regard to one's future 'ofes
sion are often perplexing and extremely
embarrassing. When ho is told that in.
America there are no state positions in
the German sense, that all such places are
transient and dependent on the vieissi
tudes of party rule, or limited by short
tenure of olllee, and withal, regarded as
honorary distinction for a brief period,
rather than as lire professions by which
to gain one's subsistence, it is perfectly
natural that he should bo astonished, and
utterly unable to comprohond how such a
state of ailairs can redound to the well,
fare and prosperity of society.
Tnis condition of things in Germany
is the direct outgrowth of tho school sys
tern. The state has not taken upon her
self the education of tho youth for the
mere form's sake. Her intervention has
deep and far-reaching meaning. Every po.
sition and oilice in the gift of the govern
menl is reserved for those who have com
pleted the prescribed course of study
There is positively no road to a state ap.
pointment except through the schools.
The deep significance of this fact will be
seen more clearly when the meaning and
scope of the fittuits-Stcllungen are defined.
Under the head of " State appointments,"
for which a university and gymnasium ed
ucation is required, at least the latter for
some of the inferior olllces, are included
the " learned" professions Law, Medi
cine, Theology; also druggists, postmast
ers and other ollicials, appointees in the
various other government bureaus, all the
instructors in the Gynasien, Kcnl-Schul-lun,
and virtually in the universities and
polytcchnical schools, etc.
There is not a physician, notary, or jus
tice of the peace in all Germany, who has
not completed seventeen years of consec
utive study, including four years of prac
lice after leaving the university.
No attempt to compare the excellence
and evils of this system with our own,
can hole be made. Undoubtedly the Ger
man method secures more thoroughness,
greater stability and security of society,
at the expense of too much one-sidedness
and a lack of individual aspiration and
development. There is to much lirod
xtudium brcad-study as German reform
ers complain. On the other hand, the
American system conduces to a heathy em
ulation, an individual independence and
self-reliance, at the expense of superficial
ity and loo much lnany-sideness. The
floors of every profession arc made too
easy of access to quacks, while perhaps
the tendency of education to become
mere IlrotbutmUum is nowhere greater
than in the United States.
When it is remembered that tho Gym
nasium is tho only preparatory school for
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