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Estonia


Gustav Adolf Grammar School

Headmaster: Hendrik Agur
Website: www.gag.ee

The first modern school that prepared students for university, was opened in Estonia on the 13th of August 1631, by Gustavus II Adolphius, the king of Sweden who opened a grammar school and a university in Estonia.

The Grammar school began to work in the old building which was a convent from the 13th century. The Grammar school consisted of four forms: prima, secunda, tertia and quarta. The head of the school was a rector who was chosen from among proffesors and his duty was to teach theology. The study-programme was oriented towards academic humanities, where great attention was paid to Latin because it was the language of teaching. There were also several other subjects: history, geography, French, Old Hebrew and mathematical programmes. Music was also important.

During the Great Northern War one part of the schoolhouse was used as a warehouse. The war and plague killed 75% of the citizens in Tallinn. At school the only remaining living lecturer was a rhetorics and history professor, rector Johann Rudolf Brehm. In autumn 1710 he started working with three former students. The schoolhouse which had stood without changes since convent time was partially rebuilt in 1740-42. The main aim remained that graduates could continue their studies at university.

In 1805-1890 the name of the school was Tallinn Province Grammar School. Czar Alexander I school reform set the educational system in the towns of Estonia. The language of studying was changed from Latin to German. The teachers were local Baltic Germans who had mostly been educated at Tartu University, but also in Germany, Switzerland and France.

In 1890 the school was renamed Tallinn's Emperor Nicholas I Grammar School. This was the beginning of the total Russification of the schools. From 1892 the teaching took place in the Russian language. From 1890-1917 the pedagogical staff was mostly of Russian origin. Little by little the number of Estonian teachers grew and there were more Estonians among the students.

In October 1917 the Bolsheviks seized power. Regular schoolwork began at the beginning of 1918. Most students started to study in the Estonian and special Russian classes for Russians. On November 11th, 1918 the First World War and the German occupation ended. At the end of November the Estonian War of Independence began making school life more complicated. 129 students and 11 teachers from this school took part in the War of Independence in order to defend the independent statehood of Estonia. Aleksis Kuusik, the headmaster of our school who participated in the War of Independence, was the leader of the teachers` troop. That struggle ended in victory. On the 3rd January 1920 Estonia and Russia signed an armistice followed by a final peace treaty on the 2nd February. The Tartu Peace Treaty meant official recognition of Estonia as an independent country by Russia.

In autumn of 1944 the school's name was again the First Gymnasium of Tallinn. In 1945 and 1946 younger students (from the first to fifth grade) started to work here. GAG had been a boys` school since the beginning, but from 1950 girls could attend the final class. It created many problems. From 1967 French is taught according to a special programme. In 1961 a special class to teach mathematics in grater depth was formed, but later in that class also the number of physics lessons increased. Our school has got many good results in mathematics and physics competitions because of that.

The independence of Estonia was restored on the 20th of August, 1991. In the same year on the 6th of November the school got back the name of its founder and it is now Gustav Adolf Grammar School. The same day the school's flag was inaugurated. Also the former uniform - school cap, tie and badge were included. On the 2nd of April, 1992 the Swedish Queen Silvia visited our school. From the 1992/93 academic year there are continuing Swedish intensive classes. This year the school celebrated its 380th anniversary. On the 3rd of November 2006 the school's museum was opened. Among the people who have played and play an important part in building up our Estonian Republic are many of our graduates.

Today there are 34 sets of classes in Gustav Adolf Grammar School: 22 of them are in the basic school and 12 in the secondary school. Our fields of study in basic school are French, Mathematics‑Music, Science and in the secondary school Science, French-English, Swedish, Mathematics-English. There are 1062 pupils and 74 teachers in our school.


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