Schools and Education

Under Maria Theresa and Joseph II large-scale restructuring took place in the field of education. According to the edict on compulsory education, all children had to learn arithmetic, reading and writing from the age of six. In contrast, access to secondary and high schools, grammar schools and universities was strictly limited. Behind these reforms lay considerations of usefulness – namely the development of intelligent and obedient subjects in the Monarchy who were also willing to work. The school textbook became an indispensable teaching and learning aid in ‘enlightened’ educational practice. Maria Theresa herself ordered reprints of these textbooks. However, it was not only these but also works of literature which spread widely after the lifting of censorship.