Sunday, August 21, 2005

Amadeo Jacques

French Educator and pioneer of science and culture.

His name is, for ever, linked to the history of the National School of Buenos Aires, where he worked as a teacher and head, and to culture in Buenos Aires and Tucumán.

Jacques was born in France in 1813. He studied at Borbon Liceum and the Teacher Training College in Paris, where he was attracted to Science. He taught in Amiens and Versailles, and at the age of 24 he became a Ph Doctor in Literature, with two thesis: one in Latin and another one in French. A short time later, he became a BA in Science at the University of Paris. He was forced, due to political reasons, to leave his teaching career in Paris and traveled to America.

He lived and worked in Paraná-Entre Rios, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero fostering culture in each city. Later, he moved to Tucumán where he was appointed Head of San Miguel School, his work there was revolutionary as regards systems and pedagogic methodologies. He also worked as a librarian in the school, when he increased the bibliographic collection considerably.

Some time later, he was appointed head of the School of Buenos Aires. In this position, he transformed teaching completely, introducing the new scientific ideas stemming from Europe, but adapted to our circumstances and environment. He also planned primary, secondary and university education on a “universalist” basis, which consisted in preparing students to “learn everything”. He believed that students should not be prepared for a certain university course or career, they should be prepared for any job or activity in life. Specialities should be based upon this general and complete education. This was his main legacy, and exerted an important influence on the organization and orientation of our secondary education.

The National School, under Jacques’s rule, became a model to be imitated by the other schools in the provinces. Together with other contemporary thinkers, like Juan María Gutierrez, he created a very important work Plan the Instrucción Publica, which exerted great influence on the educational plans at the end of the 20th century. He died on 13th October, 1865.

His figure was immortalized by Miguel Cané in his major work Juvenilia.

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