LEGĂTURILE ȘCOLII COMERCIALE DIN BUCUREȘTI CU INSTITUȚII EUROPENE DE ÎNVĂȚĂMÂNT ÎN SECOLUL AL XIX-LEA
Keywords:International connections; European values; 19th century; Business education; Commercial school
CONNECTIONS OF BUCHAREST COMMERCIAL SCHOOL WITH EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE 19TH CENTURY
This paper presents the first connections, consisting in correspondence, between Bucharest Commercial School and economic training institutes in Europe. Connections with Central and Western European education systems were established in the early times, in various forms. Their initiator was the first principal of the school, namely Lucien Toussaint, born in Toulouse. The first intention of collaboration took shape on February 28, 1885, as a letter of the principal of L’École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (founded in 1879 and still operating today) addressed to the head of Bucharest Commercial School. The sender confessed his intention to develop a monograph of the main academies and business schools in France and the rest of the world, with a special attention paid to the presentation of the Bucharest school. To put in place this project, detailed information regarding the functioning of that institution was requested. The replies to questionnaires are not kept in the school archive. Instead, data on the school can be found in the monograph on the business education systems in the world. That paper was published in 1886 by the principal of HEC Paris and provided a useful documentary basis for the participants to the first International Congress of Technical, Commercial and Industrial Education (Paris, September 20–25, 1886).
The interest in becoming familiar with the Romanian commercial education system also had much more pragmatic reasons. Being a school established just for several years, HEC Paris aimed to attract an increased number of students, also from abroad. The intention emerges from the publicity inserted by the Parisian institution in the Bucharest press, long before the initiation of the correspondence mentioned above.
The next documentary piece examined in the paper is a letter dated June 6, 1885. The letter has the appearance of a circular, in which the principal of the Commercial School asked his counterparts in Paris, Marseille, Antwerp, Vienna, Trieste, Venice and Leipzig to communicate the curricula of the courses taught in their schools. The request was justified by Romanian government's decision to modernize the business schools. The reply from abroad is not known, but one can admit that the principals honored the request. Most likely, their replies were presented to the working group within the ministry, to serve as a model for the new structure of the vocational education system.
The last testimony discussed here dates from 1889 turning to 1890 and attests to the correspondence of the Commercial School with Handels-Lehranstalt vorm[als] Ignaz Pazelt in Vienna (founded in 1840). The exchange of messages is initiated from abroad, with the aim of becoming as familiar as possible with the Romanian economic education system. The replies kept in the concept show the goodwill of the Romanian principal towards his Austrian colleague. The actual usefulness of the initiative remains unknown. One can admit that the initiator used the information to expand his student recruitment area and/or kept the references in order to write a monograph.
The correspondence exchanged by the Commercial School between 1880 and 1890 attests to the foreign interest for becoming familiar with the economic education system in Romania, as well as the receptivity of the Bucharest school to establish professional connections with similar institutions in Europe. The institution also obtained a significant image advantage, by being presented in a benchmark monograph published in Paris.