200 Czech crown banknote
On the 200 CZK banknote there is Jan Amos Komensky, in English John Amos Comenius (1592-1670). Comenius was a Czech teacher, scientist, educator, writer and a protestant bishop. Because of his religion he was forced to leave Bohemia and therefore lived and worked in many different countries in Europe, and thus Comenius became known as the „Teacher of Nations“. He has been stamped the „Father of Modern Education“ since he came up with new ideas concerning teaching methods that we still use today.
Children in Comenius days were taught to repeat and memorize things which was, according to Comenius, of no use because repeating won’t get the students to think about the problem. Rather the subjects taught should have practical use and, where possible, demonstration and observation should be used. His motto was „learning through play“. He also believed that children should be never punished for failing but rather helped and encouraged. If Comenius’ ideas sound modern to you, it is because they were not applied for centuries.
He wrote many didactical books. To name some – The School of Infancy was a handbook for parents and educators, which was the first systematic pedagogic work in the world dealing with pre-school education. And the book Orbis Pictus, which means World in Pictures, was the first picture book for children used up to 19th century in the whole Europe.
One of many very interesting things about Comenius is that he was asked to become the first President of Harvard University. And a European Union school partnership program – Comenius – has been named after him.
On the other side of the banknote there are hands of a child and an adult, and written Orbis Pictus, commemorating the work of Comenius and that wisdom is passed from generation to generation.
The banknote is orange maybe because Comenius is buried in Naarden, Holland, and orange is Holland’s national colour.