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Technical education in England, Germany and France in the nineteenth century: a comparison


  • Carlos Pombo


  • María Teresa Ramirez



This paper describes the developments of technical education in England, Germany, and France during the nineteenth century, contrasting their similarities and differences. It also analyses the role of the State in the provision of technical education in those countries. The paper suggests that the high standard of scientific and technical instruction contributed significantly to a country becoming an economic power. For instance, the growing technological superiority of the Germans over the British in activities such as production of chemicals, dyes, iron and steel, has been attributed to the fact that the British persisted in using of empirical methods and incremental tinkering to accomplish improvement and adaptation, while the Germans developed an extensive system of university and polytechnic education with close ties to industry that allowed them becoming the largest industrial power in Europe by the beginning of the twentieth century. *********************************************************************** Este documento describe el desarrollo de la educación técnica en Inglaterra, Alemania y Francia durante el siglo XIX, contrastando sus similaridades y diferencias. También analiza el papel del Estado en la provisión de educación técnica en estos países. El artículo sugiere que el alto estándar científico y técnico en la enseñanza, contribuyó significativamente para que el país se convirtiera en una potencia económica. Por ejemplo, la creciente superioridad técnica de los alemanes sobre los británicos en actividades como producción química, tinturas, hierro y acero, ha sido atribuida al hecho de que los británicos persistieron en el uso de métodos empíricos que representaban una barrera para alcanzar mejoras y adaptación, mientras que los alemanes desarrollaron un sistema de educación universitario y politécnico con fuertes lazos industriales que le permitían convertirse en la potencia industrial mas grande de Europa al inicio del Siglo XX.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Pombo & María Teresa Ramirez, 2002. "Technical education in England, Germany and France in the nineteenth century: a comparison," BORRADORES DE INVESTIGACIÓN 003543, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000091:003543

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mitch, David, 1984. "Underinvestment in Literacy? The Potential Contribution of Government Involvement in Elementary Education to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(02), pages 557-566, June.
    2. Weale, Martin, 1992. "Education, externalities, fertility, and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1039, The World Bank.
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    More about this item


    Technical education; Industrial Revolution;

    JEL classification:

    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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