The article dwells upon preconditions (political, institutional, economical) for establishment of the economic and commercial schools in the Western Ukrainian territories of 1848–1939. The schools aimed at development of the people’s economic knowledge in the relevant area; and they were not only the centers providing the respective educational services, but also cultural and educational bases of the united Ukrainian society. One of the main organizational principles was the territorial location – aiming at maximizing public involvement in education in order to reach the population as much as possible through educational services providing basic economic knowledge.
The economic schools in the Western Ukrainian territories of 1848–1939 were classified by their specialization: 1) agricultural schools (tillage, gardening etc.) – they focused on formation of financial relation skills in the agriculture; 2) industrial schools, which targeted at formation of practical skills for work in railway shops, developing oil and distillery industry; 3) commercial (merchant) schools aimed at formation of the skills to sell and resell products (usually, the agricultural products that constituted the largest portion of the manufactured products); 4) art schools (construction, carpentry, painting, drawing and design etc.) the purpose of which was to educate the experts in various crafts; 5) universal (combined) schools – urban or rural economic schools or departments in the usual schools targeted at raising the economic literacy of the population, understanding the basics of cooperation, acquiring basic knowledge of recordkeeping, bookkeeping, fundamentals of banking. Authors clarified that the necessity of the professional educational institutions network was due to the introduction of “educational qualification” for traders by the Merchant Congregation. Despite their private nature, funding was largely carried out by cooperatives and at the expense of patronage.
The authors described the peculiarities of the trade schools activity with its main functional purpose and applied aspects with the support of leading public-oriented societies focused on propaganda, in particular, the idea of cooperation. The research is focused on the efforts taken to support and initiate the establishment of commercial schools by Prosvita, Inspection Union of Agricultural Co-Operatives and other leading institutions of the Western Ukraine.
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