Cevdet Kırpık

Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Sultanate, Şehzade Education, History

Abstract

Ottomans gave primary importance to the şehzade (princes) education since very early time, and educated them in very advance level. With the abandoning the system in which Şehzade were assigned to provincial governorships in order to prepare them for their future since the end of 16th century and with the introducing Cage (Kafes) system, in which Şehzade locked up in the palace without any contact of the outside world and without any genuine education, the quality of the education of Şehzade dramatically decreased. The Cage system was slackened at the beginning of the 19th century and it was finally abolished at the beginning of 20th century. Therefore, some clear recoveries were seen at the education of Şehzade. The best indication of it was to open a private school at the palace. The school opened with the name of Şehzade İptidaisi and later called Mekteb-i Ali towards the end of 19th century contained every level starting from primary education to the higher one. Şehzade attended the state schools with the closing down of this school at the period of the Second Constitution. Even some of them went to the schools in abroad. This study firstly focuses on the education of Abdulhamid II's Şehzades who attended the schools at the palace. The students who started their education in their childhood attended the school until their 20s years old. Curriculum that they followed in this school was similar with those followed in the state schools. Even some efforts spent for modernization of curriculum, the traditional education continued. The successes of the students were evaluated by exams once in a month. The exams carried out by the teachers of the classes and a chart prepared after the exams were being presented to the sultan. The evolution levels of the students were easily followed by the sultan. The teachers who were teaching the sehzades must be reliable and master of his work. Even foreign teachers could appoint as a teacher if he had the features stated above.