On Polytechnical Education

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(Private. Rough draft. Not to be made public.

I will think this over once again.)

That is not the way to write about polytechnical education: it sounds abstract, for the remote future; current, present-day, deplorable reality is not taken into account.

It is necessary

(1) to add one or two theses about the importance of polytechnical education in principle {{ according to Marx according to our RCP Programme }}

(2) to say clearly that on no account can we renounce the principle and the putting into effect immediately, so far as is possible, of education specifically on polytechnical lines.

17th thesis out.

On secondary education (12–17) to say:

The Republic’s extremely difficult economic situation requires at the present time, unquestionably and immediately,

the fusion[1] of secondary schools and technical schools,

transformation[2] of secondary schools into technical schools, but at the same time, to avoid transformation into trade schools, the following exact rules should be laid down:

1) Early specialisation to be avoided; an instruction to be worked out on this.

2) General educational subjects to be enlarged in all technical schools.

Annual programmes to be drawn up: (If there are no such programmes yet, Lunacharsky to be hanged) {{ Communism History in general ” of revolutions ” of the 1917 revolution Geography Literature etc. }}

(3) A binding task to be the immediate transition to polytechnical education or, more accurately, immediate realisation of a number of steps to polytechnical education, feasible at present, such as:

[[ BOX: Jointly with Goelro ]]a) visit to a power station, the nearest one, and a number of lectures with experiments there; a number of practical jobs, any that are possible with electricity; work out at once detailed programmes (for 1 visit; for a course of 5, 10 lectures; of 1, 2 months, etc.);

b) the same to every decently organised state farm;

c) the same to every decently organised works;

[[ BOX: Jointly with Goelro ]]d) mobilisation (for lectures on electricity and polytechnical education, taking charge of the practical work, excursions, etc.) of all engineers, agronomists, all graduates from university physics and mathematics faculties;

e) organisation of small museums on polytechnical education, mobile exhibitions on trains, steamers, etc.

This is of supreme importance. We are beggars. We need joiners, fitters immediately. Unquestionably. All must become joiners, fitters, etc., but with such-and-such an addition of general educational and polytechnical minimum knowledge.

The task of the secondary school (more accurately: of the upper classes of the secondary school, 12–17 age group) is to turn out

a joiner,

a carpenter,

a turner, and so forth,

who knows his job thoroughly, who is fully capable of becoming a skilled man and has been trained for this in practice, but with this addition, however, that this “ craftsman”

should have a broad general education (should have a minimum grounding in such-and-such sciences: which exactly to be indicated);

should be a Communist (indicate exactly what he should know);

should have a polytechnical outlook and the foundations (beginnings) of polytechnical education,

(Grinko has evidently overdone it namely: (aa) fundamental conceptions of electricity

(define precisely which),

to the point of stupidity, rejecting polytechnical education [ maybe, partly, 0. Y. Schmidt too).[3] This to be corrected.)

(bb) the application of electricity to the engineering industry, (cc) ditto the chemical industry, (dd) basic idea of the plan for electrification of the RSFSR (ee) a visit to a power station, a works, a state farm not less than 1–3 times, (ff) such-and-such foundations of agricultural science, etc. The minimum of knowledge to be worked out in detail.

  1. (Correction: fuse not the whole secondary school, but from 13–14 years, as indicated and decided by educationalists.)—Lenin
  2. [DUPLICATE "*"] (Correction: fuse not the whole secondary school, but from 13–14 years, as indicated and decided by educationalists.)—Lenin
  3. G. F. Grinko—People’s Commissar for Education in the Ukraine, who put forward his own scheme for public education. It was based on two principles: = 1) for children under 15 there was to be a “single system of social education, with all organisational forms (nursery schools, children’s homes, seven-year schools, etc.) on labour lines, = __NOTE_594_COMMENT__ Missing ” for 1) and 2) after the age of 15 there was to be “special training in some sphere of production or organisational group (industrial, agricultural, economic, etc.)”.
    This scheme clashed with the programme of the RCP(b) in the sphere of public education: = 1) Free and universal general, polytechnical education (giving an idea of the theory and practice of all the main branches of production) for children of both sexes until the age of 17.... = 8) Broad network of occupational education for persons from the age of 17 linked up with polytechnical knowledge” (ee KPSS v resolyutsiyakh..., Part One, 1954, pp. 419–20).
    O. Y. Schmidt, who was then deputy chairman of the Chief Administration for Vocational Training, favoured, like Grinko, technical vocational training for young people “at an earlier age ... that is, from 15 ”. He argued that the “interests of production, the interests of economic development imperatively demanded a reduction of the so-called general educational, and actually the purely verbal, school and a transition to concrete, special instruction as early as possible”. = Schmidt tried to turn a makeshift measure, caused by the difficulties of the transition period, into a principle, and wrote articles in the press arguing in favour of monotechnical instead of polytechnical education, that is, training in some branch of production. For a criticism of these views, see present edition, Vol. 32, pp. 123–25.