1874 - 1954: A CORPORATE MINING SCHOOL
By 1830, the Moravian-Silesian mines were owned by private landowners, and the mining management and administration was a responsibility of one of their officers. The coal mining was not very extensive at that time, and thus the extraction technology remained primitive for years.
It was not until 1847 that the first officers with certain level technical expertise came to our region from other areas with mining history in Bohemia, Moravia and Upper Silesia. Some miners were sent to a special mining school in Příbram, a former mining town 60 kms southwards from Prague. After an unfortunate series of mine explosions in the 1860s, the authorities called for better professional training of mining supervisors, and required the foundation of a new mining school in Ostrava. Since the city of Ostrava was situated on the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway, connecting Vienna with Poland, the coal could be exported in large quantities, and the mining was consequently becoming a more important business activity.
Mining companies decided to invite a few professionals to Ostrava to help them to establish the first mining school in the town. Classes began on 25th September 1874 in the temporary premises in the city centre, and 24 students entered the first year. As the mining regulations started to be refined, the authorities decided that only the mining school graduates could become mining supervisors.
In 1912, a new building was built on the Kratochvílova street near the bank of the Ostravice river, and has served as a technical school until nowadays.
However, the promising progress of technical education was interrupted by the First World War. The school building was used as a military hospital. Classes resumed in 1919.
The development of the school was again affected by the Munich occupation in 1939. German became the only language of instruction, which meant that up to two thirds of students could not understand the lectures, and German (but unqualified) teachers were hired. The Czech teachers organised clandestine meetings with Czech students to translate the lectures and answer their questions. During the severe bombardment of the city at the end of the war, some parts of the school were seriously damaged and could be rebuilt thanks to the voluntary work of its students.
After the end of the Second World War in 1945, some of the former graduates became new teachers of the school. The heavy industry in the region flourished, and mining specialists were sought after in the labor market. Students participated in the development of their school, organised a lot of cultural events and extracurricular activities. In 1949, the school celebrated the 75th anniversary of its foundation, and the Ministry of Education, after a thorough inspection, granted the school the right to award the official leaving certificate (“maturita”) to its graduates. This step enabled students to pursue their studies at university.
The school’s fame was growing. In the mid-1950s, more than 500 students studied here, a large minority of them were from other parts of the country. The new era began.
1954 - 1990: UPPER SECONDARY TECHNICAL SCHOOL OF MINING
The old and dilapidated school building was insufficient in both capacity and equipment. In 1957, a new building was built right next to the old school, and the two buildings were connected into one complex. In the same year, the construction of the students’ hall of residence was finished, offering a new home for students who came to Ostrava from other parts of Czechoslovakia which existed at that time. By the time the extensions were built, the school had suffered from a severe lack of premises, and classes had to be divided into three shifts.
In the 1960s, the mining industry was once again growing, which only reinforced the importance and position of the school and its graduates. New forms and branches of study were introduced, while the focus of the school expanded and included new disciplines, e.g. high-voltage engineering and machinery in 1968. The last extension of the school premises was in 1967, when the school gym was built in Sokolska street.
The school focused more on the practical training and built the first mechanization centre where students could get familiar with the most recent technologies in machinery. Also, the students’ sport and cultural life became more popular, and a lot of them were very successful in the field of sports, music, theatre, and so on.
THE TURN OF THE MILLENIUM
After 1990, the mining activity in the Ostrava region began to decline. This resulted in the reduced interest of young people in mining disciplines and studies, and that is why the school prepared completely new branches of study in order to be more attractive. The new disciplines were the following:
- Computer technology (the software)
- Computer mechanics and automation (the hardware)
- Land surveying and geodesy
The number of students increased again, but the mining studies were gradually less popular, so the school changed its name into “Secondary technical school of Ostrava”, and stopped, after more than 100 years, teaching and preparing mining professionals. In the 1990s, the school was unified with another technical school in the city, and the number of teachers and students doubled. Vast reconstruction of the premises was made. The hall of residence was turned into offices and classrooms, which allowed the recruitment of new teachers and students. The school invested a lot of money into the modernization of the technical equipment, and also new classrooms and laboratories were opened.
The school’s main goal is to prepare first-rate professionals in the technical fields who are both able to continue their studies at the most prestigious universities or to enter the labour market right after passing the final exam.