Education in the Soviet Union

Soviet education was organized in a highly centralized government-run system. Its advantages were total access for all citizens and post-education employment. The Soviet Union recognized that the foundation of their system depended upon complete dedication of the people to the state through thorough psychological training as well as through military training, and through specialized education in the broad fields of engineering, the natural sciences, the life sciences and social sciences, along with education.[1]

History

Enlarge picture
Pictures of the founder of the Soviet state, Vladimir Lenin, were often included in school textbooks. Above, he smiles in the background as the children argue over which direction of the classroom he is glancing at. Printed in the Armenian SSR.


In Imperial Russia, according to the 1897 Population Census, literate people made up 28.4 percent of the population. During the 8th Party Congress of 1919, the creation of the new Socialist system of education was proclaimed the major aim of the Soviet government. The abolition of illiteracy became the primary task in the Russian SFSR.

In accordance with the Sovnarkom decree of December 26 1919, signed by its head Vladimir Lenin, the new policy of likbez, was introduced. The new system of universal compulsory education was established for children. Millions of illiterate adult people all over the country, including residents of small towns and villages, were enrolled in special literacy schools. Komsomol members and Young Pioneer detachments played an important role in the education of illiterate people in villages. The most active phase of likbez lasted until 1939, raising the literacy rate to 56.6 percent of the population in 1926 and further to 87.4 percent in 1939 (population census data).

An important aspect of the early campaign for literacy and education was the policy of "indigenization" (korenizatsiya). This policy, which lasted essentially from the mid-1920s to the late 1930s, promoted the development and use of non-Russian languages in the government, the media, and education. Intended to counter the historical practices of Russification, it had as another practical goal assuring native-language education as the quickest way to increase educational levels of future generations. A huge network of so-called "national schools" was established by the 1930s, and this network continued to grow in enrollments throughout the Soviet era. Language policy changed over time, perhaps marked first of all in the government's mandating in 1938 the teaching of Russian as a required subject of study in every non-Russian school, and then especially beginning in the latter 1950s a growing conversion of non-Russian schools to Russian as the main medium of instruction.[1] However, an important legacy of the native-language and bilingual education policies over the years was the nurturing of widespread literacy in dozens of languages of indigenous nationalities of the USSR, accompanied by widespread and growing bilingualism in which Russian was said to be the "language of internationality communication."[2]

The worst feature of Soviet education in 1930s-1950s was its inflexibility. Research and education in the social sciences was dominated by Marxist-Leninist ideology and supervised by the CPSU. Such domination led to abolition of whole academic disciplines such as genetics.[3] Scholars were purged as they were proclaimed bourgeois and non-Marxist during that period. Most of the abolished branches were rehabilitated later in Soviet history, in the 1960s-1990s (e.g., genetics was in October 1964), although many purged scholars were rehabilitated only in post-Soviet times. In addition, many textbooks - such as history ones - were full of ideology and propaganda, and contained factually inaccurate information (see Soviet historiography).[4]

Another aspect of the inflexibility was the high rate at which pupils were held back and required to repeat a year of school. In the early 1950s, typically 8-10% of pupils in elementary grades were held back a year. This was partly attributable to the pedagogical style of teachers, and partly to the fact that many of these children had disabilities that impeded their performance. In the latter 1950s, however, the Ministry of Education began to promote the creation of a wide variety of special schools (or "auxiliary schools") for children with physical or mental handicaps.[5] Once those children were taken out of the mainstream (general) schools, and once teachers began to be held accountable for the repeat rates of their pupils, the rates fell sharply. By the mid-1960s the repeat rates in the general primary schools declined to about 2%, and by the late 1970s to less than 1%.[6]

The number of schoolchildren enrolled in special schools grew five-fold between 1960 and 1980. However, the availability of such special schools varied greatly from one republic to another. On a per capita basis, such special schools were most available in the Baltic republics, and least in the Central Asian ones. This difference probably had more to do with the availability of resources than with the relative need for the services by children in the two regions.[7]

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Soviet people were about 99.7% literate.

Classification and terms

Enlarge picture
Russia has more academic graduates than any other country in Europe, if combined with Ukraine, the Soviet Union had more than a third of all the academic graduates in Europe
The Soviet educational system was organized into three levels. The names of these levels were and are still used to rate the education standards of persons or particular schools, despite differences in the exact terminology used by each profession or school. Military, militsiya, KGB and Party schools were also graded according to these levels. This distinguishes Soviet system from the rest of the world, where educational levels of schools may differ, despite their similar names.

Elementary schools were called the "beginning" level (Russian: начальное, nachalnoye), 4 and later 3 classes. Secondary schools were 7 and later 8 classes (required complete elementary school) and called "incomplete secondary education" (Russian: неполное среднее образование, nepolnoye sredneye obrazavanieh). This level was compulsory for all children (since 1958-1963) and optional for under-educated adults (who could study in so-called "evening schools"). Since 1981, the "complete secondary education" level (10 or, in some republics, 11 years) was compulsory.

10 classes (11 classes in the Baltic republics) of an ordinary school was called "secondary education" (Russian: среднее образование -- literally, "middle education").

PTUs, Tekhnikums, and some military facilities formed a system of so-called “secondary specialized education” (Russian: среднее специальное, sredneye spetsialnoye). PTU's were vocational schools and trained students in a wide variety of skills ranging from mechanic to hairdresser. Completion of a PTU after primary school did not provide a full secondary diploma or a route to such a diploma. However, entry to a tekhnikum or other specialized secondary school could be started after either 8 or 10 classes of combined education in elementary and secondary school. Graduation from this level was required for the positions of qualified workers, technicians and lower bureaucrats (see also vocational education, professions, training).

“Higher” (Russian: высшее, vyssheye) educational institutions included degree-level facilities: universities, “institutes” and military academies. "Institute" in the sense of a school refers to a specialized "microuniversity" (mostly technical), usually subordinate to the ministry associated with their field of study. The largest network "institutes" were medical, paedagogic (for the training of schoolteachers), construction and various transport (automotive and road, railroad, civil aviation) institutes. Some of those institutes were present in every oblast' capital while others were unique and situated in big cities (like the Literature Institute and the Institute of Physics and Technics in Moscow). Colloquially these universities and institutes were all referred to by the acronym "VUZ" (ВУЗ – высшее учебное заведение, "higher educational institution").

Students who wanted admission to a VUZ had to have graduated from either a general secondary school (10 or 11 years) or a specialized secondary school or a tekhnikum. Those who completed only vocational school (PTU) or "incomplete secondary school" were not deemed to have been certified as having completed secondary education (they lacked an аттестат зрелости – maturity certificate – or equivalent diploma from a specialized secondary school) and were thus were not eligible to attend a VUZ.

Numerous military and militsiya (police) schools (Russian: высшее училище/школа, vyshee uchilische/shkola) were on the same higher level. Note that Soviet military and militsiya facilities named "Academy" (Russian: Академия, Akademiya) were not a degree-level school (like Western military academies such as West Point), but a post-graduate school for experienced officers. Such schools were compulsory for officers applying for the rank of colonel, see Soviet military academies.

KGB's higher education institutions were called either "schools" (like "Higher School of KGB") or "institutes" (like "Red Banner Institute of KGB" - training specifically intelligence officers).

CPSU's higher education institutions were called "Higher Party Schools" (Russian: Высшая партийная школа, vysshaya partiynaya shkola).

The spirit and structure of Soviet education is mostly inherited by post-Soviet countries despite formal changes and social transitions.

Citations

1. ^ For literature concerning policy change over time, see the article on Russification. For an analysis of changes over time in the extent of native-language schooling, see Barbara A. Anderson and Brian D. Silver, "Equality, Efficiency, and Politics in Soviet Bilingual Education Policy, 1934-1980," American Political Science Review 78 (December 1984): 1019-1039.
2. ^ See the essay on Russification.
3. ^ See the articles on Trofim Lysenko and Lysenkoism.
4. ^ Ferro, Marc (2003). The Use and Abuse of History: Or How the Past Is Taught to Children. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415285926. See Chapter 8 Aspects and variations of Soviet history
5. ^ The generic category (школы для детей с дефектами [недостатками] физического и умственного развития — schools for children with defects (deficiencies) of physical and mental development) included schools for children who were deaf, hearing impaired, speech impaired, partially sighted, orthopedically handicapped, or mentally retarded but educable. Compendia of educational statistics would report the number of such pupils in a separate "auxiliary schools" category from children in the general schools.
6. ^ Barbara A. Anderson, Brian D. Silver, Victoria A. Velkoff, "Education of the Handicapped in the USSR: Exploration of the Statistical Picture." Soviet Studies 39 (July 1987): 468-488.
7. ^ Anderson, Silver, Velkoff (1987).

General references

  • Bronfenbrenner, Urie. Two worlds of childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1970.
  • E. Glyn Lewis. Multilingualism in the Soviet Union: Aspects of Language Policy and Its Implementation. The Hague: Mouton, 1971.
  • Spearman, M. L. Scientific and technical training in the Soviet Union, (NASA, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA), 1983.

See also

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (abbreviated USSR, Russian: ; tr.
..... Click the link for more information.
Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom.
..... Click the link for more information.
Psychology (from Greek: Literally "talk about the soul" (from logos)) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior.
..... Click the link for more information.
Military has two broad meanings. In its first sense, it refers to soldiers and soldiering. In its second sense, it refers to armed forces as a whole. Over the years, military units have come in all shapes and sizes.
..... Click the link for more information.
Engineering is the applied science of acquiring and applying knowledge to design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. The American Engineers' Council for Professional Development, also known as ECPD,[1] (later ABET [2]
..... Click the link for more information.
natural science refers to a rational approach to the study of the universe, which is understood as obeying rules or laws of natural origin. The term natural science
..... Click the link for more information.
Biology (from Greek: βίος, bio, "life"; and λόγος, logos, "knowledge"), also referred to as the biological sciences, is the scientific study of life.
..... Click the link for more information.
The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. They diverge from the arts and humanities in that the social sciences tend to emphasize the use of the scientific method in the study of humanity, including quantitative and qualitative
..... Click the link for more information.
Education encompasses teaching and learning specific skills, and also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting of knowledge, positive judgment and well-developed wisdom.
..... Click the link for more information.
Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian: Pоссiйская Имперiя, Modern Russian: Российская империя,
..... Click the link for more information.
18th century - 19th century - 20th century
1860s  1870s  1880s  - 1890s -  1900s  1910s  1920s
1894 1895 1896 - 1897 - 1898 1899 1900

:
Subjects:     Archaeology - Architecture -
..... Click the link for more information.
A census is the process of obtaining information about every member of a population (not necessarily a human population). The term is mostly used in connection with national 'population and housing censuses' (to be taken every 10 years according to United Nations recommendations);
..... Click the link for more information.
literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, and speak. In modern contexts, the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for communication, or at a level that lets one understand and communicate
..... Click the link for more information.
population is the collection of people or organisms of a particular species living in a given geographic area or mortality, and migration, though the field encompasses many dimensions of population change including the family (marriage and divorce), public health, work and the
..... Click the link for more information.
A party congress is a general conference of a political party. The congress is attended by delegates who represent the party membership. In most parties the party congress is the highest decision making body of the organisation and elects the party's leadership bodies such as the
..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1880s  1890s  1900s  - 1910s -  1920s  1930s  1940s
1916 1917 1918 - 1919 - 1920 1921 1922

Year 1919 (MCMXIX
..... Click the link for more information.
Socialism

Currents
Communism
Democratic socialism
Eco-socialism
Guild socialism
Libertarian socialism
Market socialism
Revolutionary socialism
Social democracy
Utopian socialism


..... Click the link for more information.
Council of Ministers of the USSR (Russian: Совет Министров СССР, tr.
..... Click the link for more information.
literacy is considered to be the ability to read and write, or the ability to use language to read, write, listen, and speak. In modern contexts, the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for communication, or at a level that lets one understand and communicate
..... Click the link for more information.
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic or Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR) (Росси́йская
..... Click the link for more information.
Council of Ministers of the USSR (Russian: Совет Министров СССР, tr.
..... Click the link for more information.
December 26 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

Events

  • 1481 - Battle of Westbroek - Holland defeats troops of Utrecht.

..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1880s  1890s  1900s  - 1910s -  1920s  1930s  1940s
1916 1917 1918 - 1919 - 1920 1921 1922

Year 1919 (MCMXIX
..... Click the link for more information.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Улья́нов
..... Click the link for more information.
policy is a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). The term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals.
..... Click the link for more information.
Likbez (Russian: ликбе́з IPA: [lʲɪkˈbʲɛs] from ликвида́ция
..... Click the link for more information.
An editor has expressed concern that this article or section is .
Please help improve the article by adding information and sources on neglected viewpoints, or by summarizing and use of summary style if it is too long already.
Please see the discussion on the .
..... Click the link for more information.
child (plural: children) is primarily a boy or girl who has not reached puberty.[1][2] However, some youth reach puberty earlier or later than expected.
..... Click the link for more information.
Literacy Schools were special evening schools in the Soviet Union for adults, to teach the illiterate or those that didn't finish school.
..... Click the link for more information.
Komsomol (Комсомол) is a syllabic abbreviation word, from the Russian Kommunisticheskiy Soyuz Molodiozhi
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.