Creating a New, Proletarian Educational System
Creating a New, Proletarian Educational System
Creating a New, Proletarian Educational System
Source: Peking Review, No. 45, November 3, 1967
After 16 months and the winning of the decisive victory in the great proletarian cultural revolution to'- clean up all the muck of the past, the proletariat revolutionary teachers and students of universities and colleges, middle and primary schools are resuming, classes. Back in the classrooms, they are enthusiastically creating a completely new, proletarian educational system in the course of practice, turning their schools into big, red schools of Mao Tse-tung's thought.
From the summer of 1966 on, the nation's revolutionary teachers and students (many of whom are Red Guards) have played an important role in the cultural revolution. Battling the handful of counter-revolutionary revisionists in their own schools and also going out into society to spread Mao Tse-tung's thought, they have made an invaluable contribution in the struggle between the two classes, two roads and two lines. During this lengthy period when classes were suspended both teachers and students have experienced a deep-going tempering in the fiery class struggle of the cultural revolution.
During this period the handful of counter-revolutionary revisionists in the educational field were unearthed and the revisionist line in education represented by China's Khrushchov was criticized and repudiated by the masses. The mass of revolutionary teachers and students and revolutionary masses of the people insistently demanded that the old educational system and principles and methods of leaching be overhauled according to the Decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Concerning the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, drawn up under the personal guidance of Chairman Mao. As the Decision slates, this is "a most important task" of this great cultural revolution.
Chairman Mao said on May 7, 1966: "While their [the students] main task is to study, they should in addition to their studies, learn other things, that is, industrial work, farming and military affairs. They should also criticize the bourgeoisie. The period of schooling should be shortened, education should be revolutionized, and the domination of our schools by bourgeois intellectuals should by no means be allowed to continue." This is the basic guideline followed by the revolutionary teachers and students in revolutionizing education.
Use Mao Tse-tung's Thought to Rear the Younger Generation
In their new school term which began on October 20 Shanghai primary schools are making great efforts to put Mao Tse-tung's thought to the fore, to put proletarian politics to the fore.
Upwards of 100,000 new pupils were enrolled in Shanghai primary schools this term. Right from the start these schools put a big effort into improving political and ideological education. For example, the Guang-linglu Primary School organized its pupils of higher grades to study "'the three constantly read articles"1 and the People's Liberation Army's "The Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention"2 and Chairman Mao's five requirements 3 for successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat, holding up before them the P.L.A. as their model and training them in the P.L.A.'s tradition of the "three-eight working style."4 They all do military training as well.
The subjects generally taught in the primary schools of Shanghai, this biggest industrial centre of China, are Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung, Chinese, arithmetic, general knowledge, revolutionary songs, drawing and military physical training. Pupils also take part in industrial and farm work. Most of the textbooks used are new, compiled during the great proletarian cultural revolution. They give prominence to the three great revolutionary movements of class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment. For Instance, in studying arithmetic in the lower grades, pupils are given sums to do in which they are asked to work out how much certain workers or poor or lower-middle peasants are exploited by the capitalists and landlords. This enables them to learn arithmetic as well as receive a profound lesson on classes and class struggle. Many schools have worked out supplementary teaching material on the principle that they must a) publicize Mao Tse-tung's thought; b) be closely linked to the current situation; c) be aimed directly at solving pupils' current ideological problems and d) take into account the ages of the pupils of different grades. Many primary schools have also invited workers, poor and lower-middle peasants, and men from the P.L.A. to give lessons and guidance.
Before the new term started, revolutionary cadres and teachers of all Shanghai primary schools spent part of their summer vacation studying Chairman Mao's directives concerning educational work, and also in carrying out criticism and repudiation of the revisionist educational ideology and educational system advanced by China's Khrushchov in which the stress is put exclusively on "knowledge before all else," "getting good marks," and "going on to the next grade of education." In this way, they heightened their understanding of Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and thinking on education. Riding the crest of this new revolutionary enthusiasm they are effectively using Mao Tse-tung's thought to bring up successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat.
Reforming Teaching and Study Through Repudiating the Revisionist Line
With the aim of successfully conducting the classes on Mao Tse-tung's thought, class struggle and the great proletarian cultural revolution and in the course of exposing and repudiating the revisionist line in education, the Kongjiang Middle School in Shanghai, which resumed classes eight months ago: has made attempts to work out ways of reforming teaching and study and has gained some valuable experience in this field.
This school was set up in a working-class district by the Party and government some ten years ago especially for workers' children. But the handful of capitalist readers inside the Party were against the principle of "education serving proletarian politics, and education being combined with productive labour" as proposed by Chairman Mao. They were against getting students to develop in an all-round way — morally, intellectually and physically—so that they become labourers with a socialist consciousness and culture as proposed by Chairman Mao. In fact, they selected this school precisely for carrying out their revisionist line in education, trying to turn workers* children into bourgeois intellectual aristocrats working against their own class interests.
One of the measures they introduced was the forming of "rapid-advance classes" for students with the highest marks. In these classes, students were encouraged to compote freely and a few "star pupils" were given special tuition.
The Red Guards and the revolutionary teachers and students point out that this practice invariably led students into studying for personal ends. It divorced them from proletarian politics, from the workers and peasants and productive labour, and made them successors to the bourgeoisie.
Investigation and analysis revealed that when the revisionist educational line prevailed, the leadership of the Kongjiang Middle School was actually controlled by a handful of bourgeois intellectuals. These were the ones who were working their hardest to implement the revisionist black line. The revolutionary teachers and students have gained a better understanding that "the domination of our schools by bourgeois intellectuals should by no means be allowed to continue." They have resolved to wipe out the revisionist black line in education and turn their school into a big, red school of Muo Tse-tung's thought.
As they teach and study, the revolutionary teachers and students and the Red Guards arc constantly breaking new ground and summing up experience in teaching and studying according to Chairman Mao's instructions. In addition to overall arrangements combining school education with productive labour and learning from the Chinese People's Liberation Army, they go to factories, rural people's communes, army units, shops and other schools to collect opinions and suggestions. In this way, they aim to work out better Ways of transforming the old educational system and old teaching principles and methods.
A brand-new relationship between teachers and students is also taking shape. They regularly hold joint meetings to criticize and repudiate the revisionist educational line and work together to prepare lessons, discuss ways to improve tuition and study and sum up experience.
The revolution in education goes ahead vigorously as institutions of higher learning, middle and primary schools throughout the country resume classes while making revolution. Revolutionary teachers and students and the Red Guards all regard education as a major activity with a close bearing on the training of successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat. They take the educational revolution as a glorious historic mission that is theirs to accomplish. They say that this revolution is "a great cause that has never been undertaken by our predecessors." With the revolutionary spirit of toppling all irrational conventions and with a high proletarian sense of responsibility, they are determined to criticize and repudiate thoroughly the revisionist educational line represented by China's Khrushchov and firmly establish the proletarian educational line of Chairman Mao.
(1) Serve the People, In Memory of Norman Bethune and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains.
(2) The Three Main Rules of Discipline arc —a) Obey orders in all your actions; b) Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses; and c) Turn in everything captured. The Eight Points for Attention arc—a) Speak politely; b) Pay fairly for what you buy; c) Return everything you borrow; d) Pay for anything you damage; e) Do not hit or swear at people; f) Do not damage crops; g) Do not take liberties with women; and Ii) Do not ill— treat captives.
(3) The five requirements for successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat are: They must be genuine Marxist-Leninists and not revisionists like Khrushchov wearing the cloak of Marxism-Leninism. They must be revolutionaries who wholeheartedly serve the overwhelming majority of the people of China and the whole world, and must not be like Khrushchov who serves both the interests of the handful of members of the privileged bourgeois stratum in his own country and those of foreign Imperialism and reaction. They must be proletarian statesmen capable of uniting and working together with the overwhelming majority. Not only must they unite with those who agree with them, they must also be good at uniting with those who disagree and even with those who formerly opposed them and have since been proved wrong In practice. But they must especially watch out for careerists and conspirators like Khrushchov and prevent such bad elements from usurping the leadership of the Party and the state at any level.
They must be models in applying the Party's democratic centralism, must master the method of leadership bused on the principle of "from the masses, to the masses,'' an.) must cultivate a democratic style and be good at listening to the masses. They must not be despotic like Khrushchov and violate the Party's democratic centralism, make surprise attacks on comrades or act arbitrarily and dictatorially.
They must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity; they must be imbued with the spirit of self-criticism and have the courage to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work. They must never cover up their errors like Khrushchov, and claim all the credit for themselves and shift all the blame on others.
(4) The "three-eight" working style: The Chinese People's Liberation Army, under the leadership of the Communist Party and Chairman Mao. has fostered a fine tradition. This fine tradition is summed up by Chairman Moo in three phrases and eight additional characters, meaning firm, correct political orientation; a plain, hard-working style; flexibility in strategy and tactics; and unity, alertness, earnestness and liveliness.
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