Historical traits of school hygiene in Lithuania
V. Kviklys
Published 1962-01-06


and hygiene in schools

How to Cite

Kviklys V. (1962). Historical traits of school hygiene in Lithuania. Psichologija, 2, 153 - 166. https://doi.org/10.15388/Psichol.1962.2.8855


Schools in Lithuania appeared as long ago as in 15th century, but issues concerning students’ healthcare were raised only in 17th century. E.g., in the Statute of Kėdainiai School, opened on July 29, 1631, some school hygiene matters were discussed, physical education of students was introduced; from 1651, considering hygiene requirements, examinations were held two times per year: in January and September. Notwithstanding that, until the 19th century students’ healthcare was not officially taken into consideration. Some records have survived witnessing about the low state of sanitation in schools, such as letters-memoirs of Foma Plateris (1499-1582), and in 18th century – school inspection protocols by the Education Commission (1773-1794).

Great role improving the sanitary supervision of schools and hygienic education of children in Lithuania was played by scientific and practical activity of J. P. Frank, especially his work “On students’ Healthcare and Sanitary Supervision of Schools”. Great furtherance of these works to be practically implemented was personal employment of J. P. Frank at Vilnius University. At his initiative in Vilnius University a course on hygiene and medical police (currently – healthcare organization) was commenced in 1805 with a significant part of curricula dedicated to school hygiene. Thus, we have reasons to consider J. P. Frank the initiator of school hygiene in Lithuania.

Official government instructions on school sanitary-technical supervision matters appeared only in 1871 (in Vilnius District), and the term “school hygiene” was first used in 1899 in “Kaunas Gubernatorial News.” First school doctors were appointed in Vilnius and Kaunas in 1879-1880. At that time, the “Law on Public Care” was effective in Lithuania according to which in gubernatorial districts councils (commissions) were established, including heads of school directorate and medical inspector. They also considered more important school sanitation questions. In 1887 Czar’s law concerning Lithuanian gubernatorial districts of Kaunas, Vilnius and Grodno city was issued establishing that on the basis of “Medical Statute” every district shall have operating district doctors, and in larger districts – at least paramedics. The appointed persons alongside other issues had to supervise the sanitation conditions of schools. Actually, in fact they very seldom engaged themselves in school hygiene and sanitation management. Such order preserved until the Great October Social Revolution.

In 1919 the Soviet rule, established in Lithuania, immediately undertook the issues of healthcare. On March 1, 1919, the Healthcare Commissariat including school sanitary unit was founded. In such way healthcare of children was implemented on the governmental level. However, these tasks were not fulfilled because the army of the White Polish occupied Vilnius and Lithuanian bourgeoisie, supported by the interventionists, liquidated the Soviet power in Lithuania.

The healthcare of bourgeois Lithuania, as well as the bourgeois Poland government in Vilnius, were “managed” according to the Czar’s laws, and paid very little attention to students’ healthcare. In 1940, having restituted the Soviet power in Lithuania, students’ healthcare system was again organized. However, this was not for long: in 1941 it was destroyed by Fascist occupants. Only in 1944, having forced out the occupants, the schools medical – sanitary supervision was restored, which during 15 years fully justified itself.

The historical review of school sanitary and hygiene development in Lithuania explicitly shows that students’ healthcare and sanitary supervision of schools firstly depends on the political system: under feudalism and capitalism conditions this activity was hardly functioning and was developing at sheer attempts on individual progressive scientists whose voice was not heard by the authorities. It is only the Soviet Power which has the possibility to create the universal students’ healthcare system and organization based on the achievements of medicine and pedagogy sciences.

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