Die erste Schrift zur Vergleichenden Erziehungswissenschaft/The First Treatise in Comparative Education
Fridericus Augustus Hechtius: De re scholastica Anglica cum Germanica Comparata (1795–1798)- Lateinisches Original, deutsche und englische Übersetzung/Latin Original, German and English Translation
Edited By Volker Lenhart
Comparatists of education usually assume that the research program published by Jullien in 1817 is the beginning of comparative education. But the text by Hecht comparing English and German school education is about 20 years older. It originates in a socio-historical situation when the old European order of nations and states is transformed into the new international order of nation states. The present volume offers a close look at the treatise by Friedrich August Hecht.
The rediscovery of this groundbreaking study by Friedrich August Hecht (Hechtius), De re scholastica Anglica cum Germanica comparata, gives us cause to reconsider the modern origins of comparative education as a field of academic inquiry. We are accustomed to think of Marc-Antoine Jullien’s text of 1816/17, Esquisses et vues préliminaries d’un ouvrage sur l’éducation comparée, as marking the beginnings of systematic investigation of provision in education across national boundaries. Jullien of course did not actually conduct such an investigation: he boldly provided in his plan a framework within which an international survey might be undertaken. Perhaps the missing second part of his work, which was due to appear ‘immediately’, would have moved from the theoretical to the empirical/practical. But Jullien’s plan remained a blueprint for what might be done. It presaged the large-scale international inquiries with which we are today so familiar, principally through the work of IEA and the OECD.
Now – in its original form and in German and English translation, we have an accessible text that predates Jullien’s by some twenty years. But does it supplant Jullien in any sense? Probably not, since it aims to do something quite different, actually to attempt rather than postulate a comparative investigation of aspects of education in two contrasting contexts, and it does so in a way that exemplifies, through both commission and omission, what the problems are in such an exercise.
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