On September 15, 1616, the first public and free school for poor children in Europe was established on the initiative of Saint Joseph Calasanz.
The school was opened in the Italian town Frascati. These were very difficult times for poor families and their children.
For the first time, these children had the possibility to attend the school in Frascati.
Saint Joseph Calasanz (September 11, 1557 – August 25, 1648) was a Spanish Catholic priest, educator and the founder of the Pious Schools.
He was the great man, who dedicated his life to education of poor children – those who, otherwise, would never have the opportunity to learn, to read and write.
Before this historical day, only children from rich and noble families and future priests attended the schools.
Later, there were several more such free schools known as the Pious Schools.
The schools were ran by the Religious Order known as the Piarists, which was the first Catholic order dedicated to education.
The concept of free primary schools originated from the Piarists, who opened many such schools across Europe.
Joseph Calasanz is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church. Calasanz was an educator of the poor, offering education free of charge to all classes of society, without discrimination.
He is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church.