Komensky 2020 - Bringing Biblical Values to Schools
Apr 19, 2018 | 6 min read | Amy Nickerson
“I was teaching for one year at a private school. I was with kids and felt it had a meaning. It wasn’t very well paid, but the job was something that helped me to see that there is work that I can enjoy and see some progress in.”
That’s how Jan Rokosz describes his old job as a teacher in the Czech Republic. He no longer works at that school. Instead, he is using his passion for education, and desire to make a difference, to impact even more children and their families through a project called Komensky 2020. A project based around another Czech educator named Jan.
Jan Amos Komensky (or John Amos Comenius in English) was born in the current region of Moravia in 1592. While you may not have ever heard of him, Rokosz says that in Czech Komensky is considered “one of the greatest figures in the nation.” His portrait on the 200 koruna banknote and Teachers’ Day celebrated across the country every year on Komensky’s birthday, March 28th, is proof.
Known as a teacher, philosopher, and writer, Komensky was a devout Christian with European influence because of what Rokosz calls “his revolutionary style of thinking and way of teaching.” He championed universal education, supporting the idea of equal opportunity for all students. He was the first to use a textbook with pictures and encouraged a move away from dull memorization in favor of logical thinking and a lifestyle of learning. He wrote both in Latin and Czech, with one of his most famous theological books, Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart, being an allegory similar to the later book by John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
While most Czechs today know Komensky for his life and books, Rokosz says that not a lot realize he was a Christ follower, even though he was a bishop of the Unity of the Brethren. However, Komensky’s thoughts and values were clearly based on Scripture and a hope in Jesus that still has the potential to change individuals and whole societies now.
In light of this, while the country of Czech gets ready to commemorate the 350th anniversary of Komensky’s death coming up in 2020, Rokosz and a team of Christian leaders and educators partnering with Josiah Venture and some other organizations are excited about their newest project to get the gospel into schools.
Komensky 2020 is based on the book General Consultation on an Improvement of All Things Human that Komensky started in 1666 but never finished. Rokosz explains, “The idea of the project is to finish this book… to bring back Komensky’s thoughts summed up in his book and present it to the public, but mainly to students of the schools who will have a chance to create a smaller project of this improvement.”
The team has chosen seven areas Komensky writes on to be the focus of the project: family, education, government, business, media, faith, and art. The program will teach students (the target audience being 13-16 year olds across the Czech Republic) about Komensky’s thoughts in these areas and inspire them to apply their own changes in the world around them.
Currently the team is in the preparation stage, fundraising and working to make a website, comic book, and other tools that will be used, as well as building a network of churches and Christian speakers who want to be involved. Next year, they will be piloting the project in some test schools, before aiming to be in 500 schools across the country in 2020.
Rokosz says he can already see the potential of the project. “We are not just focusing on the young people, but the whole public. We believe that these values that Komensky presents in his book are things people desire. They don’t say that, but they are looking for a good government and strong families… So I hope that there will be some kind of shift to these core values of his. To see these values implemented in the minds of the people. I don’t know how many people will come to know Christ through this project, but I believe that there’s space for it.”
His goal for Komensky 2020 is that it will make people stop for a second and really think about how they could change things. “We hope that it can correct something in our country, in our towns or schools, but we hope that people stop and think about these values in their own lives and their connection with God.”
As Jan and the Komensky 2020 team work to make this project a reality, he asks that you would pray for God to provide unity and wisdom as they plan, more churches to cooperate with, and an openness in the schools. We want to see people come to know Jesus and change because of his love. For that, Jan says, “We need God to open their hearts.”
To find out more about the project or to give toward getting the project into public schools in Czech click here.
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