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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 5, No. 2 April 23, 1942

Soviet Education

Soviet Education

Schools in the U.S.S.R. are graded by age groups; thus there is the first grade school for children from eight to twelve, which more or less corresponds to our primary school. Then there is the second grade school for children eight to fifteen, and there is the third grade or ten year school, which has now almost superceded the previous two, for children from eight to eighteen. From eighteen onwards there are the factory apprentice schools and Technicums for training factory workers, and also many universities and academies, but these are not compulsory. It is interesting to notice here that all Soviet education is absolutely free, including the universities.

One aspect of Soviet education of which little is known is very important. This is what is known as "polytechnisation." This term implies the close relationship, which exists between the Soviet school and the factory. All schools in the U.S.S.R. are connected to a factory. The workers in the factory give the school material for its workshops, and make school accessories. The school children study conditions of work in the factory and help the workers sometimes with their work. This does not mean, however, that pupils at a particular school are expected to become workers at the factory which controls the school. It does mean, though, that school children should understand the workings of big industrial enterprises, and it is one aspect of the general plan to make the future Soviet citizen an intelligent cultured person who understands the working of all the national manufactories and who is capable of taking part in any branch of industry. Like the Government, Soviet education is completely "materialistic in conception and atheist in outlook." There is no religious teaching allowed in Soviet schools, since Marxism does not accept any explanations of natural phenomena which are other than scientific. According to Beatrice King "From the schools, religion has been banished entirely. . . . Anti-religion is not taught as a subject in the schools. But . . . anti-religious ideas are inculcated in Soviet schildren. In the school it takes the form of scientific explanations of natural phenomena, with always a reference to the absurdity, for modern times, of the religious explanation." In place of religion the children are given the fundamentals of Dialectical Materialism, the basis of Marxism.

—From Otago University Review, 1941