Glöckel, Otto

   An educational reformer and teacher, Glöckel was a key member of the Freie Schule (Free School) movement founded in 1905. Among its demands were the total removal of clerical influence in public education, free instructional materials such as books to all pupils, and increased schooling opportunities for the educationally disadvantaged.
   Serving as undersecretary for education in the brief Social Democratic Workers’ Party regime that governed the First Austrian Republic in 1919–1920, Glöckel put many of these reforms into practice. Falling back on a decree that had been first issued under the Dual Monarchy in 1869, he ended requirements that all students participate during school hours in such religious rituals as the Catholic mass and processions.
   In federal office for so short a time, Glöckel could not realize proposals for such far-reaching changes as compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6 and 14. The termination of compulsory religious observances was among the measures that endured, though religious instruction did remain obligatory. He was somewhat more successful in implementing his agenda in Vienna, where he chaired the municipal council for education from 1922 to 1934. In 1923, he was a major sponsor of the Vienna Pedagogical Academy. The Austrian Christian Social Party bitterly opposed his policies, particularly those that curbed the Catholic influence in public education.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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