Education and Self-Education

In the early 19th century, Šiauliai had only one parish school, consisting of one class, attached to the church, which was operating for more than 35 years, until 1839. Due to the enhancing Russification and shortage of funds in the city budget, several short-lived schools were founded on the initiative of solitary noblemen, until it was unanimously decided to establish a gymnasium in Šiauliai. Originally, in 1839, a five-grade school was established for the nobility of the county, which was later supplemented by the preparatory class. This institution becomes the subject of exchanges. In 1851, thanks to active local nobility, the gymnasium from Grodno province, Svislach, is moved to Šiauliai in exchange for the said school for the nobility of the county, which was moved to Svislach. This way a school of seven grades and one preparatory grade, called Šiauliai Boys’ Gymnasium, appears in Šiauliai. Due to local laws, only children of noble families and about a tenth of townsmen attended the gymnasium. The land to this gymnasium was donated by Jonas Jakševičius, provided that his offspring and two more generations would be exempted from tuition fees. J. Jakševičius’s daughter Stanislava (future Venclauskienė) kept her father’s will and diligently followed it in a rather unusual way. She adopted over 100 homeless children and foundlings, to whom she gave their surname and this way provided them with both shelter also free education. Her husband, Kazimieras Venclauskis, supported and financed these activities of his wife. Lessons at the gymnasium were given in the Polish language, the spirit of union prevailed, but the pupils were characterized by the inherited identity of ‘the Samogitian noble’. In many cases, the patriotism of Polish union, developed at the gymnasium, simultaneously fostered Lithuanian patriotism too. The influence of this educational establishment was enormous both in the city and in the county, other surrounding counties.

The Šiauliai Boys’ Gymnasium was available only for boys, but girls also had an alternative, but private – the parochial gymnasium for girls, which operated in 1846-1857. In 1865, a girls’ shift was opened in the parochial state owned one-class school and in 1873, there were more girls than boys in this school. In 1898, a girls’ gymnasium was founded in the plot of count Vladimiras Zubovas, who financed the establishment and maintenance of this institution. Count V. Zubovas and his wife Sofija considerably contributed to the areas of education and inhabitants’ educatedness in the city and its vicinity. They initiated and funded the foundation of schools in Ginkūnai (secretly), Naisiai, Gubernija, Dabikinė, Medermrodė. Several short-lived boarding schools were also founded, with the exception of one that operated long: a private real boarding school, which operated from 1861 till 1907, and in 1907, was reorganized into a four-grade progymnasium.

In 1839-1851, the activities of all city schools were supervised by nobility schools of the county; and since 1851, by the directorate of the gymnasium. After the suppression the rebellion of 1863-1864, a Russification programme was introduced in Lithuania, discriminating the Poles and the Lithuanian culture. It was allowed to give lessons in schools only in Russian and to use the Lithuanian language only as a subsidiary language in the first school year.

In turn, Jewish education was organized according to Jewish customs. Jewish children in Šiauliai used to acquire primary education in a three-grade spiritual school attached to kahal (Jewish local authority). Such first-class three-grade state school appeared in Šiauliai in 1853. After this school, children, having acquired practical basics, were preparing to work or continue studying at the rabbinical school. In 1879, a Jewish one-class school was opened. In 1899, the largest industrialist of Šiauliai, Ch. Frenkelis funded the establishment of the Talmud Torah elementary school for Jewish destitute children.

Šiaulių Talmud Thora žydų mokykla

Šiaulių Talmud Thora žydų mokykla.

Šiaulių berniukų gimnazija

Šiaulių berniukų gimnazija.

Šiaulių mergaičių gimnazija

Šiaulių mergaičių gimnazija.



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