Thursday, 22 September 2016


Another mystery?
From France

A recent item in Conductive World wondered how validly the term 'world famous' is applied to András Pető:

Here is a rare mention of András Pető that I came across by chance a couple of days ago. It was written by Zaghloul Morsy, French-Moroccan intellectual, and big wheel in UNESCO back in the early nineteen-nineties.

The following passage comes from the introductory chapter of a hefty book of his, called Thinkers on Education, In the introductory chapter 'The paideia galaxy' (pp. 7-20), there is a section called 'The invisible stars' which includes the following –
The best of universal thought on education has, in my opinion, been gathered together in these pages. The best, perhaps, but certainly not all. Like museums, encyclopedias are, as we know, always selective and sometimes unfair. Arbitrariness cannot be avoided: on display in galleries are the chefs-d'oeuvre, the Old Masters, representative or significant works; in the cellars and the archives, on the back shelf, more chefs-d'oeuvre, other, neglected masters, less well known or less understood. The present volume risks incurring the same reproach, though I am not unappreciative of the many who have had to be left out; this may be judged from the following list, arranged in alphabetical order.

Western Antiquity:  Isocrates, Quintilian 
Europe, from the Middle Ages to our own day: L eon Battista Alberti, Benjamin Samuel Bloom, Pierre Bovet, Urie Bronfenbrenner, Jerome S. Bruner, Auguste Comte, Lionel Elvin, Marian Falski, Vittorino da Feltre, Bakule Frantisek, Richard Goodings, William Heard Kilpatrick, Hermann Lietz, Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, Anatole Vassilievitch Lunacharski, Karl Marx, Alva Myrdal, Percy Nunn, Wincenty Okón, Petö Andras, Wolfgang Ratke, Pedro Roselló, Eduard Spranger, Edward Lee Thorndike, Faria de Vasconcelos, Alfred North Whitehead.
The Arab-Islamic world: Matta 'Akrawi, Ibn Hazm, al-Jahiz, al-Mawerdi, al-Qiibissi, Ibn Sahnun, Zarnouji.
Latin America: Alfredo D. Calcagno, Lorenço Filho, Valentin Letelier, Ivan G6mez Millas, Eugenio Marfa Hostos, Juan Mantovani, Jose Carlos Mariátegui, Victor Mercante, Roberto Moreira, Augustín Nieto Caballero, Pablo Pizzurno, Simón Rodríguez, Eugenio de Santa Cruz y Espejo, Franz Tamayo, Anixio Texeiro
Asia: Malcolm Adiseshiah, Kunijoshi Obara, R. P. Singh, etc.
There are certainly others, but that will do. There is material there for over fifty 'profiles' in future ordinary issues of Prospects, since the review was the seedbed from which the idea for the present collection first sprang. I will go further by suggesting that, a few years hence, it may well prove possible to publish a new edition, which not only takes into account the latest advances in research but also includes the thinkers I have just listed....I
However, even as it stands, our galaxy at least contains all the stars of first magnitude...
 (pages 15-16)

This of course neither confirms nor denies that András Pető was well known in circles outside Hungary – but if he were, then what circles, and where. How had Zaghloul Morsy even heard of him. Certainly, to account for even mention within this august educational pantheon, András Pető was known as an educator. But if so, what specifically did Zaghloul Morsy know about András Pető's educational practice and ideas?

After all, M. Morsy does not even seem altogether sure about his name (I like to think that András Pető would have rather liked that!)

By the way, the hoped-for second edition appears not to have materialised. So it goes.

Allons les copains!

Is this a matter of absolutely no consequence at all, or yet another mystery to spin around the mystery man, or perhaps an interesting loose thread that might lead... where?

What was a French educationalist doing twenty-three years ago, citing András Pető as one of the world's major educational thinkers? What did he know and who else knew it at the time? The answer, if there is one, is as likely to be found in Paris or Rabat as in Budapest.

If there is a jot of substance here, then those most likely to benefit are the Francophone conductivists (not just in France) who desperately require intellectual and supranational support for their cause, in order to to escape the bureaucratic and medical constraints that presently bind their world.

I leave it to them to take this up if they wish.

How? Well, why not start by asking Zaghloul Morsy?

Previous item on András Pető


Zaghloul Morsy (ed.) (1993) Thinkers on Education. Published in Prospects: Quarterly Review of Education, vol. 23, nos 1/2 (85/86), UNESCO Publishing, 1993 

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