Education In Sparta: History of Education

Education In Sparta

The Spartan citizens were divided into the Aristocratic or Master class, who ruled the state, Foreigners who are usually sojourners or temporary residents, and the Slaves (helots). The state was surrounded by hostile people thus it became necessary for them to give their citizens Military training to be able to face their belligerent or warlike neighbors and troublesome slaves within the state. The aim of education in Sparta was to produce strongman ready to safeguard the state, obey the law of the state and to be loyal to his country. It is with this in their minds that the Spartans developed a system of education for their citizens.

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The process of education in Sparta starts with the birth of a new born baby boy. The child is examined by a council of elders appointed by the state. If the child is found to be weak and feeble, the child would be taken to a mountain called Mount Taugetos and exposed to death or be saved by the slaves. But if the child is examined and found to be healthy and strong he will be returned to his parents to be taken care of for eight (8) years.

A child in his eighth year was taken away by the government to a boarding school established by the government. The boys were organized in companies where they were exposed to harsh training, running, boxing, wrestling and military drills. They were trained not to fear death and to obey without complain. The boys stay in barracks for their training up to the age of eighteen (18) years. After this training they are now enrolled into a two (2) years cadet where they continue with their training. They were also trained for secret services as spies on enemies and restless slaves. After the cadet training a child is then enrolled into Military Garrison to defend the state up to the age of thirty (30) years.

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After this age a soldier was then allowed to marry. The girls on the other hand were given gymnastic training in preparation for their roles in the society i.e. to produce strong and healthy children and at the same time develop moral strength with which h to support their soldier husbands and sons. The Spartan system of education even though shallow in curriculum succeeded in producing the preferred type of citizens needed by the state. The system also left an important legacy for the world community such as Public/Government schools and Boarding school systems.

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