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Kapodistrian Learning School

Kapodistrian

School of

Learning

Ioannis Kapodistrias

Before discussing the Kapodistrian School of Methoni, it is important to learn a little about the historical figure Ioannis Kapodistrias, of whom the school was named after.

Ioannis Kapodistrias, also known as Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias, was a Greek statesman and diplomat who played a significant role in the history of Greece during the early 19th century. Born on February 11, 1776, in the Ionian Islands (which were under Venetian rule at the time, now part of Greece), Kapodistrias received his education in medicine and law in Italy.  He rose to prominence as a diplomat and statesman, serving as the Foreign Minister of the Russian Empire from 1816 to 1822. During his tenure, he played a crucial role in the Congress of Vienna, which aimed to reorganize Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.

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Ioannis Kapodistrias

Kapodistrias is best known for his service as the first Governor of Greece following its independence from the Ottoman Empire. He was appointed as the Governor of the newly independent Greek state by the Great Powers (Britain, France, Russia, and Austria) in 1827. Kapodistrias was instrumental in laying the foundations of the modern Greek state, working to establish institutions, reform the administration, and promote education and infrastructure development.

However, his efforts were met with significant challenges, including resistance from various factions within Greece and interference from foreign powers. Kapodistrias faced opposition from powerful Greek clans and factions who resented his centralizing policies and his attempts to reduce their influence. He was assassinated on October 9, 1831, in Nafplion, Greece, by members of a rival political faction.  Despite his assassination, Ioannis Kapodistrias is remembered as a key figure in Greece's struggle for independence and nation-building efforts, and his contributions to Greek statehood are widely recognized.

Kapodistrian Learning School

After the Greek War of Independence (1821), loannis Kapodistrias, who was elected as the first "Governor" of newly liberated Greece in 1827, aimed to reorganise and reform the national education system. Two main types of schools functioned under the Kapodistrian administration: the Schools of Mutual Learning that offered primary education and the Hellenic Schools that included the teaching of Ancient Greek. The Schools of Mutual Learning relied on "mutual teaching", since the most educated students were those who taught the beginners under supervision of their teacher. The decree issued by Kapodistrias on the 12th of August 1830 imposed the mutual learning system as the official teaching method, inspired by the ideas of the French pedagogue Sarrazin. In September 1831, thirty-one Schools of Mutual Learning trained 2664 students in the Peloponnese; one of the first such schools was the Kapodistrian School of Methoni. In 1834, thirty-seven students in total attended the classes.

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According to a document dating to 3rd of April 1829, after the end of his tour, loannis Kapodistrias himself chose the location, where the School was later erected. The plan was designed by the French colonel Audoy of the Morea Expedition. He was the person who designed the plan of the new city of Methoni, outside the Castle. The Kapodistrian School was built in short period and it was inaugurated on the 13th of August 1830. The School was in use throughout the 19th century until 1940 and was the properly of the Greek State. On the 26th of April 1940 the building was sold and served various purposes ever since.

 

In 1951, by Decision of the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs, the "Kapodistrian School of Methoni" was designated as a "Listed Historical Monument" (Ministerial Decision 1565/71/15-2-1951, Official Journal 33/B/23-2-1951). The architectural measured drawing of the monument was carried out in 1998 by the 5th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities. In 2000, the Greek government expropriated the property for archaeological purposes (Official Journal 76/D/14-2-2000). In 2008, in the context of the Operational Program "Culture" of the 3rd Community Support Framework - the 26th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities - carried out a study for the Restoration of the School.

The project: "Restoration of the Kapodistrian School of Mutual Learning in Methoni" was implemented after being introduced to the Program "Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship" of the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework). The budget was €650,000. It was carried out from February 2012 until December 2015, by the Committee for the Promotion, Restoration and Preservation of the Pylia Castles, under auspices of the Directorate of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The Ephorate of Antiquities of Messinia" is in charge of the monument's protection and operation.

Just outside the premises of the Kapodistrian Learning School lies a well of key importance.  It is a traditional stone well, likely built during the same period as the school. The well would have served as a crucial water source for the school's students and staff during its operational years.

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Today, the well and the Kapodistrian School are part of the historical heritage of Methoni, attracting visitors interested in the history and culture of the region. Visitors can explore the school building and its surroundings, including the well, to get a glimpse of education and daily life during the time of Ioannis Kapodistrias.

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