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Who Invented School: Tracing the Origins of Formal Education


From a young age, we are taught that going to school is an essential part of growing up and becoming a responsible adult. But have you ever wondered who came up with the concept of formal education? In this article, we will delve into the history of education and explore the question: Who invented school?

The Origins of Education

Before we can answer the who invented school question of who invented school, we must first understand the origins of education. Education, in its most basic form, has been around since the beginning of human history. Early humans learned from their surroundings and from each other, passing down knowledge from one generation to the next. However, formal education as we know it today did not exist until much later.

Ancient Education

In ancient times, education was reserved for the privileged few, such as members of the ruling class and the wealthy. In Egypt, for example, only the children of the nobility were educated, while in Greece, education was primarily for boys and focused on physical fitness, music, and literature.

The Roman Empire

In the Roman Empire, education was more widespread and included reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, it was still only available to boys from wealthy families, and girls were not allowed to attend school.

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, education was mainly provided by the church and was focused on religious studies. Schools were attached to cathedrals and monasteries, and students were mainly boys from noble families who were destined for the clergy.

The Renaissance

The Renaissance brought about a renewed interest in education and saw the emergence of universities in Italy. These universities were open to all, regardless of social status or gender, and offered a wide range of subjects, including law, medicine, and philosophy.

The Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries brought about a need for a more educated workforce. Public schools were established in Europe and America to provide a basic education to the masses, but these schools were often overcrowded and lacked resources.

Who Invented School?

So, who invented school? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. While there is no one person credited with inventing school, there were several key figures who contributed to the development of formal education.


Socrates, the Greek philosopher, is often credited with being one of the earliest proponents of education. He believed that knowledge was the key to living a good life and spent much of his time teaching others.


Plato, a student of Socrates, founded the Academy in Athens in 387 BC. The Academy was the first institution of higher learning in the Western world and was dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.


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