V. I. Lenin

Instructions Of The Central Committee

To Communists Working In The People’s Commissariat For Education

Written: 5 February, 1921
First Published: Pravda No. 25, February 5, 1921; Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 1st English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 32, pages 120-122
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\HTML Markup: David Walters & R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2002. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

1. Unreservedly adhering to the position defined by the Programme of the R.C.P. in regard to polytechnical education (see, in particular, § 1 and 8 of the section dealing with education), the Party must regard the lowering of the ago for general and polytechnical education from seventeen to fifteen as only a practical expedient necessitated by the country’s poverty and ruin caused by the wars imposed upon us by the Entente.

Vocational training for persons. of fifteen years of age and upwards ’in conjunction with ... general polytechnical education" ( 8 mentioned above) is absolutely compulsory all over the country, wherever there is the slightest oppor-tunity to introduce it.

2. The main failing of the People’s Commissariat for Education is its lack of practical efficiency, inadequate attention to the recording and verification of practical experience, lack of systematic application of its lessons, and prevalence of general arguments and abstract slogans. The People’s Commissar and the Collegium must concentrate on combating these defects.

3. The enlistment of specialists, i.e., of teachers with theoretical and long practical experience, and of persons having such experience in technical (including agronomic) vocational training for work at the centre, is improperly organised in the People’s Commissariat for Education in genera], and in Glavprofobr, [The Chief Administration for Vocational Training under the People’s Commissariat for Education—Editor] in particular.

The registration of such workers, the study of their experience, the verification of the results of their work, and their systematic enlistment for responsible posts in local, and specially central, work must be organised immediately. Not a single serious measure should be carried out without canvassing the opinion of these specialists and obtaining their continued co-operation.

It goes without saying that the enlistment of specialists must be carried out under these two indispensable con-ditions: first, specialists who are not Communists must work under the control of Communists; secondly, Commu-nists alone must determine the content of the curricula, in so far as this concerns general educational subjects, and particularly philosophy, the social sciences and communist education.

4. Curricula for the main types of educational establishments and for courses, lectures, readings, colloquia and practice periods must he drawn up and endorsed by the Collegium and the People’s Commissar.

5. The Standard Labour School Department, and, in particular, Glavprofobr, must devote greater attention to the wider and more systematic enlistment of all suitable technical and agronomic forces for the promotion of technical vocational and polytechnical education and to the utilisation for that purpose of every tolerably well-organised industrial and agricultural enterprise (state farm, agricultural experimental station, well-organised farm, etc., electric power stations, etc.).

To avoid disruption of normal operations, the forms and the order in which economic enterprises and establishments are to be used for polytechnical education are to be determined by agreement with the economic agencies concerned.

(3. Clear, concise and practical forms of reporting must be devised to make it possible to estimate the scale and verify the results of the work. The organisation of this work in the People’s Commissariat for Education is highly unsatisfactory.

7. The distribution of newspapers, pamphlets, magazines and books to libraries and reading-rooms in schools and elsewhere is also highly unsatisfactory. The result is that newspapers and books reach only a small section of Soviet office workers and extremely few factory workers and peasants. This whole system must be reorganised from top to bottom.