150 years of secondary school teacher education – Trefort Conference at the ELTE University Library and Archives

This year, ELTE Trefort Ágoston Teacher Training High School celebrated the 150th anniversary of its foundation and adopted eight prints of great significance to the history of the school, which are preserved in the ELTE University Library and Archives.

When it was founded, the Trefort High School was called the „High School of the Royal Hungarian Teacher Training Institute”. Established in 1872, it was the first institution in Hungary to offer practical training to teacher candidates, and the first in Europe. One of the venues for the conference on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of secondary school teacher training was the Reading Hall of our library, which once housed the gymnasium for a few academic years.

In her welcome speech, Dr. Kulcsár Szabó Ernőné Gombos Annamária, Director General of the ELTE University Library and Archives, expressed her gratitude to Director Zoltán Csapodi for his generous support of the book adoption programme. This symbolic gesture also served as a kind of atonement for the inconveniences suffered by the library during the forced co-tenancy of almost 150 years ago, such as the autopsies performed for the teaching of natural history or the fire that once broke out in one of the classrooms. More fascinating details about the history of the library are available at Curiosities, rarities on our website.

The speakers of the session, Jr. Iván Bertényi (Collegium Hungaricum, Vienna) on the educational policy environment of Ágoston Trefort and the founding of the Teacher Training High School during the Dualism era, Dr. Imre Garai (ELTE Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology) on the changes in the institutional system between the two world wars that shaped the secondary school teaching profession, and Dr. János Gombocz (Hungarian University of Physical Education and Sport Sciences) on the decades of teacher training after 1945.

During the conference, guests had the opportunity to visit the Director-General's Room and the Historical Old Bookstore, which is thought to have once served as some of the rooms of the teacher training college. In addition to the adopted volumes, our chamber exhibition included some special publications from the school's library and former school memorabilia preserved in the archives, such as the decree of the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Ágoston Trefort, on the establishment of the unified secondary school teachers' college, the first register of the school from 1874/1875, and the first school register from 1874/1875. The school's first register book from the 1874/1874 school year, a visitors' book from the 1877/1878 school year and the timetable for the 1882/1883 school year.

The two institutions remain committed to working together and to maintaining their partnership in the future.

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