Education in the USSR 

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  • Education in the USSR
    • Literacy
      • Adult education
      • Last years of Tsarist Russia illiteracy rate was 65%
        • by 1939 94% of urban pop literate and 86% of rural, by 1959 the figures were reported as 99 and 98 respectively
      • 1919 campaign for the 'liquidation of illiteracy', aim to make everyone 8-50 literate
      • Tens of thousands of 'liquidation points' set up, between 1920 and 1926 5 million completed these courses
      • Remedial schools or rabfaki, set u for workers in factories, millions attended
      • Everyone who was conscripted into the red army was taught basic literacy
      • Focus put on women who were more likely to be illiterate, 14 million of 17 million who were illiterate in 1917 were women
    • Extent of schooling
      • Control of education given to the Commissariat of education or Narkompros
        • 1917, Programme to provide free and compulsory education for all children 7-17
      • Provision for compulsory education largely achieved by the 30s, in 1929 there were 14 mill in schools and by 1931 there was 20 mill but most didn't go beyond the first 2 years of secondary school
        • Education access widened to bourgeois and aristocratic children, and rural schools benefited from the deportation of intellectuals to isolated areas during the great terror
        • 1934 pattern established, 4 years of primary and then 3 years of secondary education, after that you could continue with secondary education, transfer to a vocational course or go into work
        • Tuition fees introduced for the final years of secondary education
        • During WW2 many teachers were killed in action and 82,000 schools were destroyed
          • During collectiviation many teachers were labelled Kulaks and sent to gulags
        • Fifth Five year plan set a target for 10 year compulsory education
          • This was deemed to ambitious and by 1958 there was a programme of 8 year compulsory education (7-15)
      • 1980s, Many academic schools were turned into specialist schools for things like maths, science and foreign languages, demand for admission was high
      • Traditional attitudes were always hard to overcome especially in rural areas, Khrushchev introduced things like sending farmers to special schools and reserving places in colleges for people who ahd worked 2 years on a collective
      • State education was viewed as tool for russification by ethnic minorities as all children had to learn Russian and most teachers were Russian
      • Higher Education
        • 1917, universities declared to be open to all, this was resisted by unis so a communist head was introduced in all unis
        • 2 main strands of higher education : academic universities and colleges that taught applied courses
          • Over the period the number of  students in higher education increased massively
            • This was partly due to no tuition fees and grants to support living costs, however they were low and most had to also work part time
        • Quota system introduced 1929, dropped entry requirements and 70% of places were reserved for working class students, most working class students dropped out and this was abolished in 1935
          • Despite a return to more traditional approach opportunities for the working class had been greatly improved
        • Khrushchev focused on expansion of technical colleges and this helped to widen participation
    • Curriculum
      • Purpose
        • Key to instiling socialist values from a young age, propaganda and indoctrination
        • Through it they could attack traditional attitudes and practices
        • Russification and unification
        • Teach people the practical skills they would need for the Five Year plans
      • Content
        • At first schools were mini Utopian societies, tests and corporal punishment were abolished and there was an emphasis on discovery and play
          • This led to chaos in schools and this grew worse in teh cultural revolution 1931-2
            • This led to another Great Retreat 1936
              • Return  to traditional discipline and formal exams reestablished
        • From 1936 the curriculum was prescribed by the government and focused on traditional subjects and content was memorised and regurgitated for exams, no creativity
          • Russian lit, modern languages and maths and science, science badly affected by Lysenko ism
            • They were also taught Marxist-Leninist theory
        • History constantly changed depending on the leader, Stalin had to personally oversee the first history book, under Khrushchev history was rewritten to fit De-Stalinisation, During the Brezhnev years Stalin was cut out of history books

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