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Who invented School?

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    • Mikhail Agapov

      Schools are one of the most important parts of the human society. Schools have changed the way education or knowledge is transferred among people around the world and also the way society runs. But it has always been a matter of controversy to understand who actually started or invented the schools.

      To know more about who started the schools, let us first try to understand the meaning of school and why it is important in the first place.

      What is the meaning of School?
      Schools are a place of Knowledge Transfer.

      You will see online repositories stating that school is a place where children go to learn, but it is not 100% accurate because all the educational institutes can be referred to as schools. Therefore, by definition, any place that promotes knowledge transfer via systematic means can be referred to as school.

      Hence, colleges, institutes, and other establishments that promote knowledge transfer are also termed as schools and their means of knowledge transfer is also termed as schooling.

      Why are schools necessary?
      To understand who invented the schools, first, we will have to dig deep into why these schools were created and why are schools necessary.

      Basically, schools have a systematic way of transferring knowledge. Although, life skills can be taught at home and it was done or several years, still schools help in transferring skills that might not be available at home or that are difficult to acquire. For example, in older times it was easy to learn survival skills because parents used to go hunting and gathering, but learning a new dialect or language might not be possible without going to a school of thought.

      Therefore, schools are necessary to acquire new skills that may not be readily available in the nearby surroundings.

      Who first started or invented the schools?
      Let's first understand how schools evolved from ancient times.

      During the ancient times when people used to be hunters and gatherers, schools were basically hunting grounds where experienced members of the tribes used to teach new and young cavemen to hunt big Wooly Mammoths and other animals for the tribe.

      They even had systems to provide awards to the best hunters and most of the time, this education was done through cave paintings and practical work during hunting.

      Having said that this system evolved during the Vedic Times, especially in India, when Gurukuls were established which ensured proper and systematic transfer of knowledge among anyone who would be interested to learn new skills.

      People from around the world used to send their kids to Gurukuls, which were specially made establishments where Gurus or Teachers used to live and teach the students about different subjects that were required in life, such as:

      • Dharam Shastra: This guided students to teaching methodologies and the justice system of any society. There are different pillars of the same as well which we can discuss in some other article.
      • Kam Shastra: This usually focused on the procreation of humans.
      • Lifeskills: This basically dealt with different aspects of life and how to have good interpersonal skills withing communities and nations.
      • Shastra Skills or Fighting Skills: These basically defined the ways to use weapons and learn how to fight individually or during wars. This was one of the important skills during that time because many kings used to send their kids to learn these skills and introduce them same in their armies.

      Although the names of the different subjects may be a bit different, to give some idea those were some of the topics or subjects that were taught in the Gurukuls, and this was the place where actually education system evolved.

      These days it is said that Horace Mann was the Father of the Common Schooling System, still the education system or the schools were introduced during Ancient or Vedic Times by Gurus or Teachers who were experts in their arts and had established schools of thoughts around the world.

      After few centuries later we can also see that several other societies like Egyptian society etc also had places to teach their kids different skills of life and those can actually be related to schools.

      Why do you want to know who invented the school?
      I sometimes feel people want to know who invented schools to go back in time and kill the person who started the concept of school (on a lighter note), obviously because kids are taught and have to learn a lot of subjects and also have to pass the examinations which puts a lot of pressure on them.

      Still it would not be possible to kill a particular person in past and close the schooling system, because schools actually were not introduced by a single person or invented by an organization, but it was a collective effort by the human civilization to make their young ones learn what we have learnt and expand on that knowledge, and I feel one of the most important reasons why schools were introduced in the first place was that as humans, we are not going to live forever.

      It is this knowledge that always makes us work a bit more harder and take happiness in sharing knowledge.

      It is this reason why people after spending their whole life working, change their streams in teaching and giving back to the society.

      Societies have been on earth since the time immemorable and knowledge transfer happens through the parents itself, hence homes are also termed as first schools of a kid. You could have seen children learning their first few words at him and also kids start to read alphabets as parents are more and more eager to make them learn new things. Therefore, one can say that schooling systems were even invented at homes when parents used to teach life skills to their kids.

      Although we can have an ever ending debate on who invented the school, still we can say that it was in the Ancient or Vedic Times when schools were invented as a knowledge transfer tools and were termed as Gurukuls. Later, these were more streamlined to make it look like modern education systems.


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