It’s difficult to know where to begin when answering this question. It wasn’t the case of one person waking up one morning with a brainwave of how the schooling system was going to work and then set it up and introduced it to society. In fact, the concept of school has been around for centuries.
One of the first records of a schooling system actually dates back to around 385 BC. This was back in the times of the thriving Greek empire when the philosopher commonly known as Plato set up a kind of school of philosophy. This institute was known, at the time, as Akademia and is the root of the word ‘academy’ in our modern language.
Hundreds of years later, by 425 A.D (during the height of the Byzantine Empire), the concept of schools was fully integrated into society. During this era, schools were set up for children and were compulsory for individuals in military roles. Throughout this schools, some of the most common subjects included Philosophy, Maths, Language, and History. However, once the Byzantine Empire fell during 1453 A.D, the concept of schooling vanished.
However, during the times of the Byzantine Empire, Islamic cultures were also developing their own foundations for a schooling system. Due to the nature of the religion and the culture, there was a primary drive to share and spread knowledge as well as learning new things. It’s estimated that around the 9th Century, schools, more commonly known as Madrassa, had been implemented into society. During the reign of Ottoman, schools were available to individuals of all ages.
Another man, known as Harry P. School (yes, his actual last name), was sick and tired of children misbehaving in his local neighborhood. To counter this, he rounded up children who were naughty and shut them off in a building. Obviously, chaos ensued, so Harry hired other willing adults to watch the children while they were punished for whatever they did. Parents and other community individuals found this extremely beneficial. Obviously, this has nothing to do with education but instead promoted the idea of keeping children together in a purpose building.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years to 1838, and you’ll find an individual called Horace Mann. He is renowned for being one of the leading figures for implementing a schooling system that is very similar to the one used today. He himself was a famous college professor and, despite schools, universities, and colleges already existed; it’s believed that he created the ‘Normal Schooling System,’ or at least contributed to it, during this period.
As you can see, the school wasn’t just ‘invented’ but instead has been developed, changed and invested in throughout the course of human history until it has become what it is today. The only question that remains is what’s in store for schools of the future.