Education and young people USSR 1917-1991

What did Lenin believe was an essential factor in building socialism?
A high level of education, starting with a basic level of literacy
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What would be required in the building of socialism?
An educated workforce who could understand complex processes of industry
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What did this mean Lenin's intention for socialist education was?
Helped to solidify the long term goals of the revolution by laying the foundations for industrialisation
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What was Lunacharsky's view of education?
The primary goal of education was to allow individual students to flourish
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What questions were raised about what communist education should look like?
Should the communists continue with traditional forms of education; or create a new kind of revolutionary education?
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What was the question about traditional academics?
Should the communists work with them as they were a part of the traditional elite
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How many people were literate in Russia in 1914?
Only 34%
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What ethnic issues were there in education?
Russians tended to be better educated than non-Russians
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What issues of locale were also created?
Urban education was considerably better than rural education
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What led to inconsistencies in educational policy between 1918 and 1936?
The notion that Russia was in a "period of transition"; it was not fully socialist
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What reforms came in October 1918?
Established Unified Labour Schools to educate all children aged 8 to 17; banned religious instruction in schools; ended gender segregation in schools
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What radical new ideas were also introduced?
Abolished corporal punishment, homework and exams
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What social measures were brought in?
Free breakfast and medical examinations for children
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How was secondary schooling reformed?
Designed to be vocational; students worked four hours a day in a factory
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What did Lunacharsky prefer?
Radical American teaching methods; based on those developed by John Dewey
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What was the reality of Soviet education?
During the Civil War there were insufficient resources to invest in education; free compulsory education to the age of 16 would not be achieved until the 1950s
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Why did the socialist policies fail?
Schools did not have the resources to provide free meals or medical check-ups
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How did the NEP affect education?
Financial cuts meant significant damage to educational provision
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What happened in 1921?
Gov't forced some schools to close to save money
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What else happened?
The reintroduction of fees for all except the poorest children and those whose parents couldn't work because of war injuries
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What suggested a narrower provision of education?
Scrapped plans for the opening of schools linked to children's homes for the 7 million children orphaned by the Civil War
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What were the effects of cuts?
In the first 18 months the number of children in school and the number of schools halved
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What happened following the Civil War?
As the economy stabilised, the provision of education expanded
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What is evidence of this?
The abolition of school fees in 1927; by 1928 60% of Soviet children of primary school age were in school
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What inequalities still existed in the system?
In towns and cities children tended to get the full four years of primary education; in the countryside children were unlikely to complete three years of education
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What changed under the NEP?
Schools were funded locally rather than by the Commissariat for Education
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What was done therefore?
Local soviets took over existing gymnasia, schools that had been set up by the Tsarist regime
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What percentage of students paid fees to attend?
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What suggested that there was still a class divide in education?
Around 90% of of middle-class students started secondary school and around 25% of students finished secondary school
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Compared to how many working class students?
Only 40% started and 3% finished
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What suggested that the government could not control education?
The government wanted history teachers to teach the history of class struggle; teachers continued to teach classical history, such as Russia under the Tsars
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What was contained in the 1919 Decree on Illiteracy?
Required all illiterate people between the ages of 8 and 50 to learn to read and write
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What was Trotsky's view on literacy?
He viewed it as vital to the success of socialism
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What did this manifest itself in?
He introduced education for all soldiers
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What was impressive about this?
By 1925, 100% of the soldiers in the Red Army could read and write
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During the Civil War, what was the general trend in regards to literacy?
There was a decline in literacy
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How did the Communist Government aim to spread literacy?
Published 6.5 million textbooks containing simple rhymes that taught the alphabet
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What did this lead to?
A rise in those who could identify letters, however not actually read
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What else was provided?
Lunacharsky provided a network of literacy rooms called likpunkty in towns and villages
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Why were these not fully taken advantage of?
People were trying to survive the Civil War
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What factors led to setbacks in the literacy campaign?
The majority of teachers in 1917 did not support the regime; government prioritised military victory over education; the war disrupted education across the country
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What did economic conditions lead to?
The scaling back of the already small literacy campaign
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What effects did this have?
90% of the reading room network established during the Civil War was closed
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What did the government announce in May 1925?
An initiative to ensure that all adults in the Soviet Union were literate by October 1927
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What were the successes of this scheme?
The Transport Workers' Union achieved 99% literacy by 1927
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What did the Sixteenth Party Congress do in 1930?
Adopted new targets to eliminate illiteracy and ensure that primary schooling was compulsory during the First Five-Year Plan
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How did the government aim to achieve this?
Gov't recruited 3 million volunteers from Komsomol to educate workers and peasants
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What was this organised along the lines of?
A military campaign; volunteers were called "cultural soldiers"
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Why were these campaigns unpopular?
Occurred during the violent Stalinist collectivisation drive; teachers were viewed as the enemy
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What percentage of teachers were physically attacked during the first year of the campaign?
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What affected teachers' ability to teach?
They were poorly equipped; often they had no textbooks or writing materials; had little to offer peasants who attended schools
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What suggests the success of Stalin's illiteracy campaign?
By 1939, 94% of Soviet citizens were literate
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However, what did these statistics reflect?
The deep inequalities of Soviet society
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90% of women were now literate; while 97% of women were
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How else did Soviet literacy reflect wider Soviet society?
Became obsessed with targets
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What did it not do?
Encourage reading for pleasure
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Why were massive changes ordered to the Soviet curriculum?
Criticised by the People's Commissariat for Education; to reflect the values of a Stalinist society
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What did schools emphasise?
Hard work; obedience; discipline
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What did a 1931 decree abolish?
The 1918 polytechnic reform to the syllabus
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What did it state should be taught instead?
Core subjects such as reading, writing, maths and science
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What was the aim?
To ensure that all people had a foundational level of education necessary for work in factories or on farms
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What did Stalinist education emphasise?
All students were expected to attend regularly; be punctual; teachers were required to set regular homework
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What was introduced in 1935?
A national system of examinations
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From the Decree on the Teaching of Civic History, what did Soviet history lessons focus on?
The achievements of historical figures such as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great
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What did education also stress?
The history of the Russian nation; as opposed to the working class movement or class struggle
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Who was Olga Fedorovona Leonova?
A Soviet teacher who, in 1936, pledged that all of her students would get good grades
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What was the government target on education enrollment?
By 1932, 100% of school aged children aged between 8 and 12 would be enrolled in primary school
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What was achieved?
The enrollment of 95% of students
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Why was the government unwilling to spend money on education in the 1930s?
Wanted to spend the money instead on industrialisation
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What were maintained?
Fees in the higher levels of education
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What did the Communist Party offer?
Scholarships and grants to help students access higher education
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What did the number of universities increase by?
There were 105 in 1914 to 817 in 1939
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By 1939, how many people had completed secondary education?
1.5 million
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How many did in the last year of the NEP?
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What did a decree in July 1943 introduce?
Gender segregation into schools
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What were Labour Reserve Schools?
Aimed to train young men between the ages of 14 and 17 in specialisms in industry
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What was imposed to encourage people to attend LRSs?
Quotas for compulsory recruitment were issued
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What did life at the LRSs look like?
Students were enrolled in training courses lasting between six months and two years; followed by a four year work placement
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What were LRS students provided with?
Accomodation and food; but they were not paid
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Why were young men drawn to the LRS?
They could avoid military service by enrolling in an LRS; be deployed to fulfil a specialist role in a factory
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How Stalinist were LRS schools?
Conditions were poor; deserters faced one year in prison or ten years in a Gulag
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How did LRSs aid Stalin's plans for industrialisation?
Played an important role in providing the skilled workforce needed for economic reconstruction
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Between 1946 and 1952, how many people were recruited by LRSs?
4.6 million young people
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How did Stalin want to reform the education system?
During the NEP Soviet industry had been run by "bourgeois specialists", people who had been born into privileged classes before the revolution
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Why did this mean that Stalin wanted to expand the education system?
He wanted to replace them with new socialist experts; needed to expand Soviet education
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When did Stalin launch the new policy?
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What were enrollments in 1927?
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What were enrollments by 1940?
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By the late 1930s, who were university staff replaced with?
Red specialists
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In spite of the purge, how much did the number of academics rise by?
From 29,000 in 1927 to 50,000 in 1940
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How did the courses offered reflect the priorities of Stalin's command economy?
Expansion in courses dealing with construction, transport and factory production
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What was the impact of the Second World War on the university sector?
By 1944 only 227,000 students remained in university
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What had been achieved by 1953?
University sector had been extensively reconstructed with approximately 1.5 million students at Soviet universities
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How did Khrushchev attempt to reform rural schooling?
Khrushchev ordered the merger of small country schools that would offer the full ten years of compulsory education
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What was true about this scheme?
It only affected certain areas, the majority of country schools remained small and poorly resourced
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How did Khrushchev aim to improve general access to education?
Doubled the number of schools in towns and cities; invested in teacher training and recruitment
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How much did the number of teachers rise by?
Rose from 1.5 million in 1953 to 2.2 million in 1964
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What else was improved about tuition under Khrushchev?
In 1953 only 19% of teachers had university education; this had risen to 40% in 1964
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What was the most important educational reform brought in under Khrushchev?
Abolished fees for students attending secondary school and university in 1956
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What was established in 1959?
Special funds to help maintain poor students who attended secondary schools
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What did this provide?
Paid for clothes, footwear, textbooks and school dinners
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What is evidence of the success of these reforms?
The proportion of 17 year olds who completed secondary education grew from 20% in 1953 to 75% in 1959
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What did Khrushchev believe about the Soviet education system in 1956?
It was in need of reform
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What did Khrushchev reintroduce in 1956?
Reintroduced polytechnic education
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Reflected the needs of Khrushchev's industrial policy; Khrushchev's desire to grow light industry required workers with sophisticated skills
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What did Khrushchev's education system become?
A lot more practical
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What did the percentage of practical training on the curriculum increase by?
Increased from 8% in 1947 to 28% in 1959
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What did Khrushchev's 1958 reforms reflect?
Khrushchev's suspicion of the prejudice instilled by traditional education
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What is meant by this?
Khrushchev believed that academic education made students believe that they were too good to work in factories or on farms
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What did the new Education Law bring in?
Made education compulsory for children aged 7 to 15; restructured education so that students would complete their education through a combination of education in schools and vocational training in local factories
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What was introduced politically into the education system?
A new course "The fundamentals of political knowledge"; which taught Marxism
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How did Khrushchev aim to de-Stalinise education?
A new code of conduct which relaxed Stalinist discipline; emphasis on learning foreign languages; teachers lost the right to expel students who were underachieving
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Why were Khrushchev's reforms unpopular?
Parents wanted their children to get an academic education; rather than the vocational education offered by K's education system
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Why did the reforms not work in schools?
Schools did not comply with government regulations; slackening of discipline was ignored by teachers
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How many schools did not implement curriculum changes?
47% of schools
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What increased significantly?
The number of specialist schools
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What did Khrushchev's reforms not address?
The fundamental problems of Soviet education; poorly maintained and poorly built school buildings; the shortage of schools in rural areas
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How did other leading communists label Khrushchev's reforms?
"Crackpot" educational schemes
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How did Brezhnev reverse Khrushchev's reforms?
Drew up a temporary curriculum to restore the focus on academic learning; ended vocational training for students aged 16 to 19 in factories and on farms; abandoned compulsory education,
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What did Brezhnev replace compulsory education with?
A target that 100% of students would be in school by 1970
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What happened to the 1970 target?
By 1976, only 60% of students finished secondary education
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What percentage of teachers had a university education by 1978?
Almost 70% of teachers had a university education
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What did the 1970 School Statute expect?
Textbooks to be updated to reflect the latest scientific knowledge; reintroduced compulsory homework
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How did Brezhnev aim to improve peasant activity in schooling during the 1970s?
Required all schools to provide hot meals
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What happened in the late 1970s?
Textbooks were made available to students free of charge
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How much did university higher education grow by from 1953 to 1980?
Student numbers grew from 1.5 million to over 5 million
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What percentage of the population was this?
Around 19%
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How did Soviet university reflect the requirements of the society it served?
From 1958 there were new courses in electronics, radio, construction, agricultural chemistry and machine-building
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How did Khrushchev attempt to serve the diverse communities of the Soviet Union?
In 1954 Khrushchev initiated the building of five new universities to serve students from non-Russian backgrounds
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How did Brezhnev continue this initiative?
By founding 18 universities in non-Russian Soviet republics
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What evidence was there of the success of Soviet postgraduate education?
In 1953 only 9,000 Soviet citizens had doctorates; by 1975 that figure had risen to 32,000
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How was political conformity maintained?
Postgraduate students were expected to write a chapter on how their research supported the established truths of Marxism-Leninism
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What would be required in the building of socialism?


An educated workforce who could understand complex processes of industry

Card 3


What did this mean Lenin's intention for socialist education was?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What was Lunacharsky's view of education?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What questions were raised about what communist education should look like?


Preview of the front of card 5
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