The philosopher and pedagogue Jan Sokol died. When you do too much crap, it gets in your head, Reflex said some time ago

The philosopher, pedagogue, signatory of Charter 77, former deputy and Minister of Education Jan Sokol died at the age of 84. This was stated by the Václav Havel Library. Take a look at the interview that Čestmír Strakatý had with him in October 2019 on the show Prostor X.

Sokol was born in April 1936 in Prague into the family of an architect and an art historian. He trained as a goldsmith, his craft was chosen by his parents. His father did not want him to be just a technician. He also devoted himself to watchmaking for some time. In the 1960s, he studied mathematics at Charles University, but did not finish school and the academic community did not recognize his studies until after 1990.

After November 1989, he became involved in politics and in June 1990 he was elected to the Federal Assembly for the Civic Forum (OF), serving as vice-president of the House of Peoples. After the collapse of OF, he became a member of the Civic Movement in early 1991, which, however, failed in the June 1992 elections. In the 1992 presidential election, after the non-election and resignation of President Václav Havel, he became one of the candidates for office. In the end, he was nominated by the CSSD for the fifth round of elections, but resigned.

After that, Jan Sokol devoted himself mainly to academic careers. In February 1997 he became an associate professor and three years later a professor, he participated in the establishment of the Institute of Fundamentals of Education at Charles University and its transformation into the Faculty of Humanities in 2000, which he then headed as dean for seven years. However, his interest in the administration of public affairs never completely left him, in the first senate elections in the autumn of 1996 he unsuccessfully ran for the People’s Party, a year later he nodded at the offer of the position of Minister of Education in the government of Josef Tošovský.

From the academic world, he briefly returned to political engagement in early 2003, when he became a candidate for the governing coalition of the CSSD, KDU-CSL and US-DEU for the third attempt to elect a head of state. In the third round, Václav Klaus won. “It was a couple of adventurous weeks and a lot of effort at the time. A lot of effort and then, I must admit, some relief that it didn’t work out. It’s no fun to be president,” Jan Sokol described his last attempt at active involvement in top politics.

As a former academic official, he also spoke about education, for example, he did not like the uncontrolled growth in the number of university students. The son of the renowned architect Jan Sokol – among other things, the author of modern alterations to the altar of the Cathedral of St. Vít and the Golden Gate Gate – in 1961 he married Františka Patočková, the daughter of a philosopher and one of the first speakers of Charter 77. He was the father of one daughter and two sons. In addition to English, German, Russian and French, he also spoke classical languages.

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