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Development of European Universities

Europe hosted universities beginning with XVIII century. At the beginning universities had a religious character being coordinated by church and the main rector was 'the Pope'. Central goal of universities was to educate and cultivate intelligent people who will represent interests of church and will enrich quality of ecclesiastical personnel. Students were taught different subjects but all subjects were directly oriented to religious ideology.

Exaggerate orientation to religious ideology led to abolishing of ecclesiastical type of university and adoption laical one. In this way specialties were enlarged an enhanced in right direction. Appeared subjects which studied scientific explanation of phenomena: physics, mathematics, etc. Some of European kings supported laic orientation of universities; others were obliged by Pope to maintain church power over educational process.

Later universities were considered means for excluding analphabetism, low quality specialists and unneeded information. It is the period when is made classification of subjects and division into areas; elaboration of books and gathering of useful information. Gradually, educational process was reformatted: there were elaborated rules and conditions for fulfillment; there were defined courses; also invented special attire.

Initially was thought that the existing internal order and division of specialties is the best achieved structure; but then when society changed and technical revolution evolved with big steps appeared stringent need to revise educational system. Universities became more and more independent of church. Still there were created theological specialty and added some more like: medicine, law, art, philosophy, etc.

Departments were leaded by deans and the enormous number of students determined division of students using national criteria: French students, English students; German students; etc.

Chain reaction led to creation of more and more institutions of higher education, which permitted to higher classes of society to raise their cultural level. This made higher education a prestigious occupation and an area of huge investment of money. Higher education became pledge of success and career. Individuals who were formed in universities put the base to national state, law state and civil rights.

Initially, Universities were financially supported by state; eventually, appeared private universities which had specific unilateral or narrow oriented specialties. Private universities were sanctioned and their activity was controlled by state.

Finally, each developed European state tended to create own national university and to gain prestige. This is the moment when European education quits being a united one and begins to be differentiated by national influence.


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