Education and Teaching - Expo Liege 1905

Education and Teaching at the Exhibition Expo Liege 1905

The Universal Exhibition of Liege was, above all, a vast commercial and industrial exhibition; in this double domain, all the participating nations, spurred on by a fertile emulation, vied with each other in zeal and enthusiasm and deployed an activity whose results exceeded the most optimistic hopes; but in the field of education, the efforts were insignificant: Only the Beige Government, in a series of salons which occupied the whole of the left-hand end of the upper galleries, thought it necessary to take advantage of this grandiose international fair to display, before the eyes of the whole world, the superb organisation of its public education at the three levels. The head of the Department of the Interior and Education, who took the initiative for this great undertaking and to whom the greatest share of the success achieved by this important section belongs, is to be highly congratulated.

This exhibition presented each of the three classes of primary, middle and higher education, but it seems useful to us to recall briefly what were the guiding idea of this exhibition and the essential aim of its organisers.

We could not define them better than the Minister himself did, on 23 June 1905, when he presided over the official opening of this interesting section. In a speech full of patriotism and legitimate satisfaction, the Honourable M. de Trooz noted first of all that the various classes that comprise Group I constitute "a magnificent jewel whose case is opening up before our eyes. The best part of the national wealth is here: it is the intellectual property of the Belgian people".

He went on to set out the aim of the Exhibition in the following terms: " show the level to which the education of young people, considered in its various stages, has risen in our country, and to highlight the methods which, appropriate to our temperament, have determined the superb development of which the country is proud; to show the effort made since our national emancipation, while restoring to the past what belongs to it; to affirm that education in Belgium, at all levels, can rival that of the highly cultured peoples.

Does this mean," adds M. de Trooz, "that we consider that nothing more should be done to develop the works of education and science in this country? No, we do not! What we want, on the contrary, is to mark the beginning of a new period of work and research, which will make the country appear more beautiful, more prosperous, even more powerful when, in twenty-five years, Belgium celebrates the centenary of its independence.

This is the essential character of the Belgian section of education at the Universal Exhibition in Liege: in each of the three classes, the organisers have endeavoured to highlight the progress made since our national emancipation by showing how, in primary schools, middle schools, colleges and universities, teachers and professors conform to this fundamental principle of modern pedagogy: school for life.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Liège 1905