IMPACT OF PERESTROIKA AND GLASNOST ON SOVIET EDUCATION: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE FOR FOLLOW-ON RESEARCH

BY CHUCK SWEENEY

FOR PRESENTATION AT THE

RUSSIAN ACADEMY OF EDUCATION

BALTIC ACADEMY OF ST. PETERSBURG

MOSCOW STATE PEDAGOGICAL UNIVERSITY

JULY 1993

CONTENTS

Introduction....................................................1 

The Soviet School System........................................2 

Schooling For Socially Useful Labor.............................7 

Higher Education...............................................13 

Teacher Preparation............................................16 

Perestroika, Glasnost And Educational Reform...................19 

Findings.......................................................28 

Bibliography...................................................32 

Appendix A: Virtues Common to Good Citizens 

Appendix B: Author's Biographical Sketch 

Appendix C: Social Composition of Students 




INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this paper is to create a body of knowledge for follow-on 
research. For this focus, data were gathered through the study and 
analysis of material presented in books, research journals, and 
professional publications so as to determine: "What was the impact of 
perestroika and glasnost on Soviet education?"

On initial consideration, the question posed here appeared to bracket 
nicely the period between the introduction of perestroika by Mikhail 
Gorbachev and the breakup of the Soviet Union, 1985-1990. But I was wrong. 
I found it troublesome knowing where the past ends and where the present 
begins when it came to making judgments concerning the impact of 
perestroika and glasnost on Soviet education. Consequently my research 
became more expansive, and I found it necessary to chronicle a content 
analysis of the Soviet educational system from a cultural and historical 
perspective before moving on to the question. Although adding 
significantly to the length of the paper, this was rewarding. It permitted 
me greater insight and an opening to increase the body of knowledge for 
follow-on research. 

Beyond this introduction, the paper has six sections: The Soviet School 
System; Schooling for Socially Useful Labor; Higher Education; Teacher 
Preparation; Perestroika, Glasnost and Educational Reform; and Findings. 
The body of the paper begins below with a historical inquiry before 
examining the perestroika, glasnost and Soviet educational tie-ins so as 
to answer the question.

In the findings, I note there is no way of knowing at this time the real 
impact perestroika and glasnost has had on Soviet education; nor is there 
a way of knowing the impact these measures will have on the educational 
system now emerging as a result of the breakup of the USSR. I journal the 
certainty that perestroika and glasnost were intended to preserve 
institutions such as education and vospitania (upbringing) as pillars of 
national belief and key determinants of social structure; that perestroika 
and glasnost were part of a bigger representation. But when the parts all 
came en masse they could not hold the Soviet Union together. Further, a 
basic understanding of this dynamic can be realized by grasping the 
connection between the past with perestroika, glasnost, and Soviet 
education. 


THE SOVIET SCHOOL SYSTEM

Education is one aspect of life where Soviet and American views nearly 
conform. In both the Soviet Union and the United States, education is a 
pillar of national belief and a key determinant of social structure 
(Daniels, p.305). The functions and expectations of education are similar: 
train the young for the specialized demands of a technologically modern 
state and keep each country respectively competitive with other nations in 
a geopolitical and socioeconomic sense. Education plays a dominant part in 
creating values and beliefs, in creating and maintaining creative talents 
for the preservation of national interests. Further, it is education, more 
than any other institution, that enables each country to think of itself 
as a classless society in which there are no barriers or inequalities 
among those who acquire socially valuable skills. It is education that 
underlies the social and economic development in both societies toward a 
new hierarchical system of meritocracy. And, although the two societies 
have evolved from the opposite extremes of collectivism and egalitarian 
individualism, both now determine status above all by one's education and 
the prestige of the school that he or she attended.

One of the successes of Soviet education has been the mass inculcation of 
language and basic math skills for the elimination of illiteracy and the 
creation of a moral Soviet citizen, that is, educational efforts which 
further the cause of building a communist society. Before the revolution, 
the literacy level was low. According to the 1897 census only 24 percent 
of the total population over nine year of age was literate. By 1930, four 
years of compulsory primary education was instituted in the country side 
and seven years of education in the towns. This development succeeded in 
inculcating basic ideas of order, numeracy, and literacy, and within nine 
years it permitted the claim that 81 percent of the population over nine 
years of age could read (Lane, p292). Recently, however, the approach of 
presenting the degree of Soviet literacy has been imbued in mass campaign 
efforts (Murray, p237). The entire population is mobilized and involved in 
the learning process in some way. Literacy is presented as part of a total 
package which impacts dramatically on the creation of "the new Soviet man" 
and promises tangible change in the quality of life for the entire 
society. The process is called "vospitania." Vospitania doesn't translate 
literally into English, but in general terms it means "upbringing." It is 
a planned process involving the cooperative efforts of the home, the 
community, and the school. Yet it is the school, guided by the Communist 
Party, that is charged with the task of coordinating the efforts of the 
family and the community in the moral upbringing of children. 
Vospitania has its roots in the teachings of Vladimir Il'ich Lenin, the 
founder of the Soviet state. In 1920, Lenin proclaimed that "the entire 
purpose of training, educating, and teaching the youth of today should be 
to imbue them with communist ethics....The School apart from life, apart 
from politics, is a lie and a hypocrisy." Over the years, the ultimate 
goal of education has not been academic but moral. "The formation of 
Communist, all-people morals...is the unifying foundation of the 
requirements for teaching children (Smith, p163)." Thus, the main precept 
of Soviet child psychology is that by creating the proper group 
atmosphere, the school insures that children will grow up properly. The 
challenge has been to produce good Soviet citizens, for the good of the 
state; to teach those skills required by the economy, for that classic 
socialist goal: production for use. And vospitania has facilitated this 
effort.

A Soviet citizen, as a result of vospitania, should think and act in 
accordance with the dictates of the Party. "To think and act in this 
manner is to posses, in the hierarchy of communist virtues, the highest 
virtue. A person who possesses this virtue is commonly referred to, in 
Party parlance, as 'the new Soviet man'--one who has developed a communist 
world view and acts in accordance with this world view (Long, p470)." 
"To achieve a communist world view, a Soviet youth must develop some 
virtues that are common to good citizens in most societies. For example, 
he or she must be honest, truthful, and helpful to others; and he or she 
must work hard in school to develop intellectual, aesthetic, and physical 
abilities--that is, to develop a comprehensive, harmonious personality 
(Long, p470)." Although these important virtues receive considerable 
attention in Soviet schools, the virtues regarded as most integral to the 
development of communist ethics are love of labor, patriotism, atheism, 
and collectivism (Long, p470). (For amplifying information concerning the 
virtues of labor, patriotism, atheism, and collectivism, see Appendix A.) 
Further, having a correct attitude toward work, patriotism, atheism and 
collectivism does not in itself make a model Soviet citizen, since a model 
citizen must not only have correct beliefs but must act on them. It is 
here that the school plays an important role. "The Communist Party relies 
heavily on the school not only to teach students basic Leninist-Marxist 
thought but also to provide them with opportunities to put this knowledge 
into action (Long, p470)." 

Clearly, vospitania is an integral part of the Soviet culture and 
educational system. In the years to come, the extent to which vospitania 
moves away from an administered model to a system wherein individuals and 
groups are allowed to govern their own interest will define the degree of 
transition to demokratiya (democracy) that has taken place (Lane, p15). 
Under perestroika, demokratiya seeks to involve the masses in a more 
positive way in public affairs. In so doing, it will restrict the power of 
the political leadership. A pluralism (plyuralizm) of points of view, 
rather than the previously centralized and controlled orientation, will be 
encouraged. Hence a movement to democracy is an important mechanism to 
restrict traditional interests that maintain the status quo and is thought 
to be a necessary condition to ensure the acceleration of economic 
development (uskorenie) (Lane, p15). Neither uskorenie nor demokratiya 
will occur over night. Attempts to change the system are only possible 
given the tolerance of top leaders who have the power to introduce 
"freedom" in measure doses and by means of authority. Clearly, there is a 
precarious circle in all this: democracy is permitted on orders from the 
bosses, who are free at any moment to increase or restirct it. I trust 
that in time coercion will not be a necessary condition of "freedom".


SCHOOLING FOR SOCIALLY USEFUL LABOR

Vospitania and educational legislation in the Soviet Union over the past 
twenty-five or so years might be viewed as a continuing effort to achieve 
not only higher levels of economic efficiency but to improve scientific 
knowledge and technological competence, along with political orthodoxy. 
Stated differently, but in conformity with the insight captured by 
Professor Delbert H. Long, vospitania and educational legislation in the 
Soviet Union over the past twenty-five or so years might be viewed as a 
continuing effort to implement in a more comprehensive, coordinated manner 
the following principles: 

1. Use of school as an important instrument for promoting policies of the 
Soviet leadership;
2. Coordination of the work of the school with industrial and agricultural 
enterprises;
3. Coordination of the work of the school with youth, community, and 
political organizations;
4. Combination of general education with polytechnical labor education;
5. Combination of polytechnical labor education and aesthetic and general 
education with moral education; 
6. Equation of moral education with the communist ethical system 
delineated by Soviet leaders;
7. Union of academic and ethical knowledge with practical application in 
"socially useful" activities. 

Each of these principles has been interpreted and implemented in the 
schools in different ways over the years. Sometimes these principles have 
been stressed. Sometimes these principles have been de-emphasized. And 
sometimes these principles have been ignored. But not one has ever been 
abandoned in theory (Long, p409). Further, each of these principles 
supports the contention that the Soviet educational system is geared 
toward economic utility (socially useful labor) rather than the pursuit of 
knowledge for its own sake.

Like the United States, the Soviet Union uses a variety of approaches to 
educate and develop preschool children from birth to age six. Chief among 
these is the babushka (grandmother). Based upon personal observation I 
found that whether the babushka lives with her grandchildren, subsists 
independently in her own home, or travels frequently she provides a 
nurturing that is similar to that provided by American grandmothers. As 
such very few families would willingly get along without her. In addition 
to the babushka caring for children at home, the Soviet Union provides the 
yasli (nursery) to accommodate children from infancy through age three, 
detskie sady (kindergarten) for children ages 4-6, and yasli sady 
(combined nursery/Kindergarten) programs. 

The Soviet school system provides universal, free, compulsory education in 
a nine-year general schools program, starting at age six. Completion of 
eighth grade became the compulsory level nationwide in 1973, and in 1984 
an educational reform increased the length of schooling by one year. 
Students matriculate the general schools program at the primary education 
level in two stages: an initial and an intermediate. During the initial 
stage, students learn reading, writing, arithmetic, elements of 
theoretical thinking, speech patterns and basics of personal hygiene. 
Students cover this stage in three or four years, depending on their 
personal abilities and aptitudes. At the intermediate stage, students 
continue their general educational training but with a greater concern for 
a more analytical understanding.

Secondary education is optional. Students matriculate the general schools 
program at the secondary level in two years. Soviet schools were to switch 
from a ten year curriculum to a eleven year curriculum in 1985, but not 
all the schools made the transition immediately (Kerr, 1989, p333). 
Students at this level are either selected to attend a vocational trade 
school or directed toward a vocational production training track. In the 
final two years (tenth and eleventh grades), vocational students continue 
their education in language, mathematics, physical education, and science. 
In addition they have considerable production training and become skilled 
in a trade. Students attending a secondary trade school (SPTU) reach a 
standard in their general studies sufficient to qualify for entry to a 
university or institute (Lane, p293).

In 1984, educational reform was initiated. The reform declared that "all 
main indicators of the system of education and training of manpower must 
be strictly determined by the requirements of the national economic 
complex (Lane, p293)." Although some might say the reform objective was to 
provide a general and common education for all, with regional variations 
and adaptation for children with special needs, a more realistic 
understanding would lead one to say that the goal was to improve the 
national economy.

This requirement to improve the national economy comes from above and will 
probably lead to greater differentiation and greater vocational emphasis 
after the ninth grade since the general schools, which prepare students 
for higher education, are targeted for only 30 percent of the student 
cohort, with the remainder obliged to enter vocational schools. Stated 
differently, reforms such as those promulgated in 1984 will lead to a more 
highly stratified educational and social system, intensifying the 
significance presented earlier that status will be determined above all by 
one's academic degree and the prestige of the school that bestowed it.
General schools instruction is normally in the student's native 
tongue--Russian or one of the nearly one hundred minority languages. In 
minority schools, Russian is taught as a second language beginning in the 
second grade, since it is the nationwide lingua franca. In the major 
cities there are special schools (preferred by the elite) where English, 
French or other foreign languages are taught from the second grade on 
(Daniels, p306). By contrast, little or no effort is made to teach 
Russians any of the languages of the Soviet minorities (Daniels, p306). As 
noted previously, the government perceived education from its inception as 
an important tool in the creation of the Soviet state. Given the enormous 
linguistic diversity of the population of the USSR, as well as the equally 
diverse levels of economic and social development, national languages were 
considered to be instrumental in the inculcation of the new social ideas 
and for creating a sense of national identity (Thomas, p244). In fact, the 
first mass literacy campaign of the twentieth century was undertaken in 
many parts of the Soviet Union only after some 50 minority languages were 
cast in a written form (Thomas, p244). The dialectic between the 
importance of the over-arching lingua franca, Russian, and the development 
of the national languages to meet changing social and economic needs will 
continue today, tomorrow, and beyond. This dialectic has its roots in the 
policy resolution of the Tenth Congress of 1921, which underscored the 
relationship between centralizing forces and nationalist elements, namely: 

1. To develop and consolidate their Soviet statehood in forms appropriate 
to the conditions of national way of life of the various peoples.
2. To develop and consolidate in the native language, justice, 
administration, economic and governmental bodies composed of local peoples 
who know the way of life and psychology of the local population.
3. To develop the press, theater, clubs and educational establishments 
generally, in the native tongue. 
4. To establish and develop a wide network of courses and schools, general 
as well as professional and technical, in the native language (Lewis, 
p350).
According to the data derived by James Muckle, the post-1984 general 
schools curriculum is heavily weighted toward science. The number of 
periods over an eleven-year educational span are as follows (Muckle, p19): 
Russian language and literature 81, mathematics 60.5, other science 
subjects 40.5, physical education 22, vocational and labor training 28, 
foreign language 14, and other humanities subjects 57 (state and law and 
social studies totalled only 3.57). These numbers refer to total periods 
per week over eleven years: to find the average per week, per year, divide 
by eleven.

The 1984 reform mildly supported an extension in the number of electives 
in the secondary school. There are only two periods per week set aside for 
such options in the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades; while three periods 
per week are set aside for such options in the tenth and four periods per 
week are set aside in the last year. Computer studies are compulsory in 
the tenth and eleventh grades, with one session per week occurring in the 
tenth grade and two sessions per week occurring in the final year. 


HIGHER EDUCATION

There are four types of higher educational institutions: University 
Humanities Faculty, Technical Institutes, Agricultural Institutes and 
Medical Institutes. On Appendix C, Series 1 refers to the University 
Humanities Faculty track; Series 2 to the Technical Institute track; 
Series 3 to the Agricultural Institute track; and Series 4 to the Medical 
Institute track. On the "X" axis of Appendix C, attending students at the 
various institutes are clustered according to their fathers' occupations 
in one of four groups: Manual Workers, Unqualified Nonmanual Workers, 
Specialists (professionals), and Collective Farm Workers.

As in Western society, there is a definite correlation between the 
background and education of a parent and the ease of access a student 
finds to higher educational institutions. Note on Appendix C that there 
are four types of higher educational institutions and that the recruitment 
patterns of students by these institutions reflect social differences in 
the composition of the various student bodies. For example the data 
indicate: 

1. Less than forty percent of the students attending higher education 
institutions come from families with fathers who are unqualified nonmanual 
workers.
2. The majority of the students attending higher education institutions 
come from families with fathers who are specialists (professionals).
3. Although they represent only 25 percent of the population, children of 
specialists (professional backgrounds) dominate in the humanities 
faculties of universities, the medical institutes and technical institutes 
(Lane, p295). 
4. Collective farmers' children are well represented in the agricultural 
institutes.
5. Manual workers' offspring are best represented in the technical 
institutes.

Higher education in the Soviet Union duplicates the functions of the 
secondary schools: it is geared toward socially useful labor. It 
inculcates values and beliefs; forms adult personalities; and allocates 
statuses, jobs, and professions. In doing these things, it reproduces the 
system of social relations and deepens the likelihood that a highly 
stratified educational and social system will endure. Further, as in the 
secondary school system, there are no private institutions or schools 
funded or sponsored by charitable contributions. All higher education is 
carried out by agencies of the government or Party. It would be wrong to 
think of higher education as being homogeneous and controlled by a single 
state agency. 

Various academies, institutes, state committees, and ministries and the 
Communist Party organize and effectively control their own educational 
facilities. For example research and education are carried out by select 
academies and institutes in the Soviet Union and Republics. These 
facilities serve various professions such as agriculture, medicine, art, 
and pedagogy. Most teaching is carried out under the auspices of the State 
Committee on National Education, which in March 1988 replaced two 
education ministries (one for general academic education through high 
school and one for higher and secondary-technical education) and a state 
committee on vocational education (Kerr, 1989, p23). In addition, 
ministries in industry, health, social services, and culture run separate 
higher educational institutions. The ministry of agriculture, for example, 
runs ninety-nine educational institutions while the ministry of civil 
aviation runs five. Such institutions pursue teaching and research in 
their respective fields of expertise. Finally, the Communist Party has it 
own system education facilities and schools concerned with training 
specialists in the social sciences, policy-related research, and the 
education cadres. Such courses range from part-time evening courses to 
research at the postdoctoral level.

TEACHER PREPARATION

Pedagogical academies prepare teachers to work in the general schools 
program at the initial stage of the primary education level, grades 1 
through 3 or 4. They also train preschool teachers in subject areas such 
as music, art and elementary vocational education (a Soviet peculiarity) 
(Kerr, 1990, p333). Students are admitted to the academies at one or two 
points in their school careers: after completing a so-called "incomplete 
secondary education" (after the intermediate level general schools 
program), or after completing their secondary education. Those coming in 
after an incomplete secondary education take a three or four year course 
of study, receiving a secondary education along with work in teacher 
preparation. Those admitted following their secondary education receive a 
two or three years course of instruction in teacher education. 

"The curriculum is fairly standardized, with obligatory course work in 
Russian language and literature, mathematics, history, natural science, 
and teaching methods. For preschool teachers, there is special emphasis on 
language development, singing, sculpting, and drawing. All academy 
students bound for regular classrooms learn to play a musical instrument. 
Following the completion of their course of study, teachers from the 
academies are assigned by "distribution" (raspredelenie) to a school where 
in theory they are required to work for at least three years before moving 
to another job. In practice, an increasing number have violated these 
provisions in recent years and worked where they wanted, increasing local 
supply problems (Kerr, 1990, p334)."

Pedagogical institutes are equivalent to universities. They prepare 
teachers for general schools program service at the intermediate and 
secondary education levels. They admit students only after they have 
completed a secondary education and keep them for four years of 
preparation. Students wishing to teach more than one subject matriculates 
for an additional year (Kerr, 1990, p334). Pedagogical institutes have the 
responsibility to matriculate vocational education teachers. They also 
prepare teachers to work in special schools for children with 
developmental disabilities, physical and emotional handicaps, and other 
problems; mainstreaming is only beginning to be introduced in the Soviet 
Union and most special-needs children are still segregated (Kerr, 1990, 
p334).

"The institutes are typically much larger than the academies, and their 
offerings of both courses and programs are consequently more varied. There 
are specialized institutes, for example, that concentrate on the teaching 
of foreign languages, art education, and physical education. In some 
institutes, a special department trains primary teachers and thus serves 
those who prefer to obtain a higher education rather than to attend one of 
the secondary-level academies. Many of the institutes offer courses by 
correspondence, in the evening, or both--features that are typical of 
Soviet higher education in general. Such programs, however, are viewed as 
being less casual than their counterparts in the West, and students in 
these divisions usually take only one additional year to complete their 
studies (Kerr, 1990, p334)."

The teacher preparation curriculum at the pedagogical institutes consists 
of three interrelated strands (Kerr, 1990): 

1. Special Disciplines. Students work in their subject fields, that is, 
mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and etc. This portion of the 
curriculum constitutes 70 percent of the total course of study.
2. Social Disciplines. Formerly this was instruction in Marxism-Leninism. 
Now this portion of the curriculum is being altered to focus more on basic 
psychology and sociology. 
3. Pedagogical Disciplines. This portion of the curriculum includes 
pedagogy, history of education, educational psychology, school hygiene, 
and teaching methods particular to a particular field of study.
Practical application of what is being learned at the pedagogical 
academies and institutes is an integral part of the curriculum. This is 
done through field-work experiences, which are designed to help 
prospective teachers appreciate the practical applications to which the 
knowledge they cultivate in children will eventually be used. For example, 
during the early phases of their practical work pedagogical students 
benefit from an opportunity to work with children in a setting that 
fosters "upbringing" (vospitania). They do this in schools, clubs, 
"circles," and in youth camps during in the summer (Kerr, 1990). Teachers 
of biology, chemistry, physics, and electronics also do a required 
practicum with industry. "The latter part of a future teacher's practical 
work is more traditionally concerned with full-time student teaching, with 
both pedagogical institute faculty and on-site teachers providing guidance 
and supervision. Expectations are established in advance, and each lesson 
is carefully discussed by the student and the supervisors after it is 
given. Students typically keep a notebook with sample lessons, notes, and 
so forth (Kerr, 1990)." 


PERESTROIKA, GLASNOST AND EDUCATIONAL REFORM 

In 1985, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, as leader of the Soviet union and General
Secretary of the Communist Party, submitted a plan for the reform of 
political and economic institutions, which included education. This reform was 
called perestroika. It was a set of mobilizing strategies aimed at resolving 
contradictions and initiating reform. The manner in which reform was 
initiated in the Soviet Union during this time was through glasnost, or 
openness, which encouraged candid treatment of crucial issues. To 
understand the interrelationships of perestroika, glasnost, and 
educational reform, a review concerning the relevance of these terms is 
crucial.

At some point in time, the concept of accelerated socio- economic 
development (uskorenie) emerged. It called for the all- round 
intensification of production on the basis of scientific and technical 
progress, with an ultimate aim of creating a new qualitative state in 
Soviet society. This was announced at the April 1985 Plenary Meeting of 
the Central Committee, which inaugurated the program as the new strategy 
of perestroika and formulated its basic principles. Later it was endorsed 
by the 27th Party Congress as the Party's general policy line. Gorbachev 
concedes that the analysis which led to perestroika began a long time 
before the April 1985 Plenary Meeting (Gorbachev, p24).

Gorbachev knew that the objective of uskorenie (accelerated socio-economic 
development) would take time; that it would take "reconstruction" and 
"openness". He knew it would require a different type of Soviet person and 
a different type of educational system, both of which would have to become 
more participatory rather than authoritarian. Accordingly, Gorbachev's 
first priority became the restructuring of the "nomenklaura" through the 
purge of ineffective Politburo members. During most of 1985, the term 
"glasnost" was used primarily in this context, that is, to expose corrupt 
and wasteful leadership (Goldman, p100).

Glasnost means public criticism and access to information. It 
authenticates the articulation of individual group interests and the 
answerability of decision-makers to criticism. It involves greater 
individual and group autonomy (Lane, p14). 

Next, Gorbachev moved to effect structural change. His objective was to 
provoke a closer integration of education with the requirements of the 
economy. He and his supporters openly criticized the education 
establishment for its failure to implement the provisions of the 1984 
reform, which concerned primary and secondary education.

Coming at the end of the Brezhnev era, the 1984 reform was motivated 
largely by the same forces that motivated Gorbachev to implement 
perestroika, namely, changing economic and demographic conditions. Labor 
shortages during the 1960's and 1970's created pressure for a large 
percentage of secondary education graduates to pursue vocational careers 
rather than seek postsecondary education opportunities (Kerr, 1982, 
p1-12). Intense career guidance was intended to steer students toward jobs 
needed in the labor force. In support of this objective, each school was 
to be linked to a base enterprise such as a firm, a laboratory, a factory, 
or a farm that would provide students with training and would hire many of 
them upon graduation. The 1984 reform also included an attempt to improve 
the status of education as a profession by raising teachers' salaries. In 
addition, students were to start first grade at age 6 instead of age 7, 
schools were to be equipped with audiovisual equipment, and student class 
size was to be reduced. Ideological education was to be improved in the 
hope of regenerating some enthusiasm among students and teachers for a 
part of the curriculum that has typically been tolerated at best (Kerr, 
1989, p21).

During 1985, Gorbachev and his supporters began sending signals to 
educators that schools were free to concentrate on education, and that 
political dogma would no longer be enforced in schools (Brodinsky, p15). 
From pedagogical academies came calls urging principals to work on 
programs that enhanced the inclination for labor, discouraged habits of 
idleness, and gave students the broadest possible view of what work meant 
and how it could contribute to their social well-being (Brodinsky, p 10). 
By 1986, there were increasing indications that reforms had not gone far 
enough and that teachers should have a stronger role in determining the 
future course of education. This led to a "reform of the reform," a series 
of initiatives designed to bring education in line with perestroika and to 
reinvigorate the 1984 reform effort through public discussion and 
example-setting (Kerr, 1989, p21). The "reform of the reform" included 
radically restructuring the curriculum for the general education schools; 
shifting teaching methods away from lecturing and toward more "cooperative 
pedagogy" and the encouragement of active thinking; meeting more of the 
schools' needs for computers and other advanced instructional technology; 
and providing a more democratic environment for teachers (Kerr, 1989, 
p21). 

The 1986-87 reform concerned higher education and specialized secondary 
schools. This reform came at the height of initial enthusiasm for 
Gorbachev's wide-ranging effort to restructure Soviet society (Kerr, 1989, 
p21). The objective of this reform included: integrating higher education 
with the economy; improving instruction; acquiring new technology, 
especially computers for science and engineering; and upgrading 
administration and faculty departments.

The 1987-89 reform stressed that the fundamental goal of education is to 
improve the national economy. "In practice, the schools are being asked to 
build a new socialist society (Read, p613)." They "must bear in serving as 
the instrument to achieve higher standards of quality in economic, 
political, social, and spiritual life (Read, p613)." The goals that have 
been set to achieve these things are the goals that perestroika has set 
for the 11-year Soviet schools of the future (Read, p613): 

1. To develop a new qualitative concept of general education, spelling out 
all of its responsibilities in reconstructing society and achieving a new 
humanism that will counter the alienation of humankind;
2. To design educational research programs to forecast optimal goals of 
education and to find the means of achieving them;
3. To devise ways and means for self-financing secondary and higher 
education;
4. To create a differentiated salary scale that will reward quality and 
excellence in performance;
5. To demolish walls that separate the various kinds of secondary schools, 
in order to achieve a comprehensive education system capable of 
continually improving itself without controls from outside authorities;
6. To develop educational programs and research projects with the 
cooperation of relevant social, economic, political, and technical 
agencies in society;
7. To identify and transmit worthy traditional values and new democratic 
ideals of the social order; 
8. To develop the means of self-government and collective decision making 
in all educational institutions; 
9. To encourage local, regional, and republic-wide initiatives in 
instruction and administration; 
10. To give greater emphasis to student-family-teacher cooperation in the 
rearing and education of young people; 
11. To develop an international dimension in education to offset 
provincial biases and narrow nationalistic commitments; 
12. To develop new methods and new curricula to recover the dynamism of 
Soviet education;
13. To design a modern and relevant program of teacher education that 
would make personality development a key to education reform;
14. To encourage and foster a broad range of individual abilities, 
initiative, and independence; 
15. To support and apply the principle of glosnost throughout education;
16. To clarify the role of the party in education; 17. To achieve much 
higher standards of skill and of equality in the technical training of 
students; 
18. To provide the best in technical education facilities and equipment; 
and
19. To achieve more and closer cooperation between the complete secondary 
schools and the higher and specialized secondary education institutions.
The 1989-90 reform initially focused on resistance to change, as leaders 
attempted to overcome opposition to new policies during deteriorating 
socioeconomic conditions and on the heels of critical self-appraisal. Of 
the educational research studies undertaker in the Russian Socialist 
Federated Soviet Republic (RSFSR) during 1986-1990, 25 percent represent 
"nothing but ideologized cliches," and none were devoted to analysis and 
preparation of new curricula or methods, either for schools or for teacher 
education (Kerr, 1990, p338). The conclusions here are distressingly 
similar concerning teacher preparation: "An analysis of the research 
underlying the processes of teacher preparation shows a gap between real 
pedagogical practice and the judgements of educational researchers. The 
absolute majority of conceptions of teacher education are speculative and 
declarative (Kerr, 1990, p338)."

Further, Gorbachev objected in 1987 that "the work of the USSR Ministry of 
Education and all its organs is at a standstill." Egor Ligachev, in 1988, 
deplored the low level of capital investment in education, the inadequate 
buildings, and the lack of computers and relevant education facilities 
(Lane, p293). He pointed out that reform had been limited to insignificant 
shifts and complained about the listlessness of organizational work to 
advance the projected transformations (Lane, p303). Further, he attacked 
the management of the schools by the Ministry of Education and the USSR 
State Committee for Vocational and Technical Education, saying that their 
administration "is carried out primarily by bureaucratic methods and in a 
conservative spirit (Lane, p303)." And Communist Party Secretary in 1988 
said: "The main thing called for in the reform--substantial changes in the 
organization and content of the teaching and educational activities of the 
general and vocational schools, changes in the effort to enhance the level 
of students' knowledge, changes in the style and methods of a substantial 
portion of teaching collectives and teachers--has yet to take place (Lane, 
p303).

But as the economic and social conditions of the Soviet Union continued to 
deteriorate during 1989 and 1990, the attention to educational reform was 
redirected understandably toward the pressing problems of national 
survival. Change in education proceeded, but in a way that was 
increasingly less coordinated from the center and more determined by 
national, regional and local concerns (Kerr, 1990, p30). 

Another factor contributing to listlessness in educational reform was the 
emergence of two potentially powerful but still somewhat inchoate new 
interest groups--the elected Congress of Peoples' Deputies and its higher 
body, the new Supreme Soviet (Kerr, 1990, p30). Many educators, both from 
public and higher education, serve as members of these organizations. And 
they have not been hesitant to voice their concerns about the problems 
facing education. But neither these delegates nor the other members of the 
educational establishment all speak with one voice. "There is considerable 
diversity in the views expressed, with some blaming the problems of 
schools on the country's past and the "period of stagnation" under 
Brezhnev, whereas others complain that it is Gorbachev and the new 
policies of glasnost and perestroika that are ruining education. Not only 
is there lack of unanimity among factions, there is often not 
evenagreement within factions on the appropriate policy to pursue or how 
to pursue it (Kerr, 1990, p30). 


FINDINGS

There is no way of knowing at this time the real impact perestroika and 
glasnost has had on Soviet education. Nor is there a way of knowing the 
impact these measures will have on the educational system now emerging as 
a result of the breakup of the USSR. These are matters for follow-on 
research. But my preliminary observation is that perestroika and glasnost 
were sincere efforts to improve the day-to-day economic and political life 
in the Soviet Union. They were intended to preserve institutions such as 
education and vospitania as pillars of national belief and key 
determinants of social structure. They were part of a bigger 
representation, but when the parts all came en masse they could not hold 
the Soviet Union together. I believe a basic understanding of this dynamic 
can be realized by grasping the connection between the past with 
perestroika, glasnost, and Soviet education. The following five points are 
key in this regard.

First, the government perceived education to be an important tool in the 
preservation of the Soviet state. It was understood that not only does 
education provide training of the young for the specialized demands of a 
technologically modern state but it keeps the country competitive with 
other nations in a geopolitical and socioeconomic sense. Education plays a 
dominant part in creating values and beliefs, in creating and maintaining 
creative talents for the preservation of national interests. 
Next, as the economic and social conditions of the Soviet Union 
deteriorated, the attention to educational reform was redirected 
understandably toward the pressing problems of national survival. In the 
end, plans aimed at restructuring (perestroika) went unfulfilled; 
educational reform stalled. 

Third, vospitania is an integral part of the Soviet culture and 
educational system. In the years to come, the extent to which vospitania 
moves away from an administered model through glasnost, or openness, to a 
system wherein individuals and groups are allowed to govern their own 
interest will help to define the degree of transition to democracy that 
has taken place. 

Fourth, under perestroika, demokratiya (democracy) seeks to involve the 
masses in a more positive way in public affairs. In so doing, it will 
restrict the power of the political leadership. A pluralism of points of 
view, rather than the previously centralized and controlled orientation, 
will emerge. Hence a movement to democracy is an important mechanism to 
restrict traditional interests that maintain the status quo and is thought 
to be a necessary condition to ensure the acceleration of economic 
development. Neither uskorenie nor demokratiya will occur over night. 
Attempts to change the system are only possible given the tolerance of top 
leaders who have the power to introduce "freedom" in measure doses and by 
means of authority. Clearly, there is a precarious circle in all this: 
democracy is permitted on orders from the bosses, who are free at any 
moment to increase or restirct it. I trust that in time coercion will not 
be a necessary condition of "freedom". 

Finally, Soviet educational reforms from 1984 and beyond have been 
implemented unevenly, suggesting that a more highly stratified educational 
and social system will surface. With this will come the awareness that 
status is determined above all by one's education and the prestige of the 
school that bestowed it. The problem that this may or may not create is a 
matter of conjecture and a matter for follow-on research. 




BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brodinsky, Ben. "Soviet Secondary Principals under Perestroika: 
Changing Roles." The Education Digest. October 1991. 

Daniels, Robert, V. Russia: The Roots of Confrontation. 
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1985. 

Goldman, Marshall, I. What Went Wrong With Perestroika. New 
York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1991.

Gorbachev, Mikhail. Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country 
and the World. New York: Harper & Row, 1987. 

Kerr, Stephen, T. "Beyond Dogma: Teacher Education in the USSR." 
Journal of Teacher Education. November-December 1990, Vol. 42, No. 5.

Kerr, Stephen, T. "Will Glasnost Lead Perestroika? Directions 
of Educational Reform in the USSR." Educational Researcher. October 1990, 
p 30.

Kerr, Stephen, T. "Reform in Soviet and American Education: 
Parallels and Contrasts." Phi Delta Kappan. September 1989, Vol. 71, 
Number 1.

Kerr, Stephen, T. "Soviet Interest Groups and Policy Making in 
Higher Education." Slavic and European Education Review. Number 1, 1982.

Lane, David. Soviet Society under Perestroika. New York: 
Routledge, 1992.

Lewis, E. G. Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. Oxford: 
Pergamon Press, 1981.

Long, Delbert, H. Continuity and Change in Soviet Education 
under Gorbachev. "American Educational Research Journal." Fall 1990, Vol. 
27, Number 3.

Long, Delbert, H. Soviet Education and the Development of 
Communist Ethics. "Phi Delta Kappan." March 1984, Vol. 65, Number 7.

Muckle, James. A Guide to the Soviet Curriculum. London: Croom 
Helm, 1988.

Read, Howard, Gerald. "Education in the Soviet Union: Has 
Perestroika Met Its Match?" Phi Delta Kappan. April 1989.613. 

Smith, Hedrick. The Russians. New York: Times Books, 1983. 

Thomas, R. Murray. International Comparative Education. New 
York: Pergamon Press, 1991.



APPENDIX A: VIRTUES COMMON TO GOOD CITIZENS 

The following presents amplifying information concerning the virtues of 
Love of Labor, Patriotism, Atheism and Collectivism as discussed by 
Professor Delbert H. Long.

Love of Labor....To overcome the economic backwardness of their country, 
Soviet authorities have placed great emphasis on inculcating in people a 
love of labor. A true lover of labor is one who works not for personal 
benefit but for the benefit of society. To do this, one must develop 
"labor discipline," which means, when stripped of Party jargon, the moral 
commitment to do willingly whatever task the Party dictates, regardless of 
how difficult or unpleasant it may be.

Patriotism....A Soviet patriot is an internationalist who loves the 
military and the motherland and hates capitalists. Capitalists are to be 
hated not only because of their exploitation of the worker and their 
imperialistic designs but also because of their propaganda efforts "to 
exert a demoralizing influence on the minds of the Soviet people." 

Atheism....A good communist must be an atheist. Religious faith is 
contrary to the materialistic doctrines of Marxism, and communists claim 
that churches have always supported elite classes that gain and sustain 
their power and wealth through the exploitation of the worker. To be an 
atheist, however, is not enough. The good communist must be a militant 
atheist--not only renouncing all religious beliefs but striving to 
convince others to do the same.

Collectivism...A collectivist is one who recognizes that to develop a 
communist world view is to develop a collective world view. Such a view is 
the "enemy of individualism." In the Soviet Union an "individualist" is 
one who selfishly works only for personal benefit; a collectivist works to 
improve society rather than to improve his or her own will-being. 


AUTHOR'S BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Charles T. SWEENEY, 12560 McIntire Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192, (703) 
494-4193, holds a BS in Physical Education and an MBA. In addition to 
being a full-time teacher working with at risk students at the Alternative 
Learning Center, Prince William County Public Schools, he is a student at 
the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, doing graduate work 
under the tutelage of Dr. Valerie Sutter, Professor and Acting Director of 
Social Foundations of Education. Chuck Sweeney's recent academic interests 
are in comparative education, especially as they relate to Russian 
history, culture, and pedagogy. 

During the 1991-1992 school year he received a Washington Post Grant for 
taking a holistic approach to education; and he was selected to the Prince 
William County Public Schools' Design Team, which was charged with the 
task of creating a plan which articulated a new generation of American 
schools that are light years beyond the existing education practices of 
today. His imaginativeness in presenting a thematic approach to the study 
of Russia, which spanned Alfred, Lord Tennyson' The Charge of the Light 
Brigade and the history of the Ukraine and the Crimean War, to Napoleon 
and the Invasion of Russia in 1812, to the works of Tolstoy and 
Tchaikovsky, to the major geopolitical events of the 1990's, earned him an 
International Education Center, Ltd., fellowship to study in St. 
Petersburg and Moscow during the summer of 1992 and 1993.
During the summer of 1993 he presented a paper entitled Impact of 
Perestroika and Glasnost on Soviet Education: A Historical Perspective for 
Follow-on Research at the Russian Academy of Education and the Moscow 
State Pedagogical University in Moscow as well as to representatives of 
the Baltic Academy, a higher professional vocational training institution 
in St. Petersburg.

His previous experience includes nearly 27 years of officer service with 
the United States Marine Corps, during which time he saw combat in the 
Republic of Vietnam in 1966 as an Infantry Officer and in 1970 as a Naval 
Aviator. During 1990 and 1991 he served in Southwest Asia, participating 
in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He has extensive experience 
with the U.S. Government planning and budgeting process; has examined 
specific Hi-tech electronic industries important to U.S. national security 
both in the United States and in the former Soviet Union; and has 
consulted with the Department of State on sensitive personnel issues, 
receiving a commendation from Secretary George Schultz in a private 
ceremony. He has been a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University 
where his academic interests have been in economics, emerging 
technological advancement, education and the growing interdependence of 
Asia, Europe and the United States.

Futher, he has been a frequent selectee to interact with distinguished 
civilians both here and abroad, for the purposes of integrating their 
perspectives with our judgements and insights concerning world order. 
During September 1987 he did individual research in the Philippines, which 
culminated in a strategy toward a successful outcome of the Philippines 
Base-Rights negotiations of 1988. During August 1988 he was one of 12 
Americans--the only U.S. military officer so designated--to attend a 
conference in Bangkok on "Private Enterprise and Democratic Development in 
East Asia." His purpose in attending was to contribute meaningfully to the 
process for developing democracy and private enterprise values in East 
Asia. Participants included about 40 international business leaders, 
academicians and think-tank representatives from Asia and the United 
States. During 1989 he met with representatives from civilian scientific, 
business and research centers in New York and Hawaii, producing an 
eighteen month plan which articulated an effort to enhance our strategic 
policies with Japan. During June 1991 he was invited by the Association of 
Independent Publications to speak at a conference in Moscow and Kiev.