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 Nation's Revolutionary People Discuss Revolution in Rural Education

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     In the countryside, schools and colleges should be managed by the poor and lower-middle peasants —the most reliable ally of the working class.
- MAO TSE-TUNG


Great Cultural Revolution in Progress

Nation's Revolutionary People Discuss Revolution in Rural Education

Source: Peking Review, No, 51, December 20. 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


THE proletarian revolution in education is being vigorously carried out in the rural areas just as it is in the cities.
  The enthusiasm of the poor and lower-middle peasants in the people's communes for running schools has soared to a new high since the publication in late August of Chairman Mao's instruction: "In the countryside, schools and colleges should be managed by the poor and lower-middle peasants — the most reliable ally of the working class." Many communes and production brigades have set up groups or committees to manage education, giving direct leadership to the struggle-criticism-transformation in the schools in the confines of their respective communes, production brigades or villages and shouldering the heavy task of running the rural schools. All important school problems are now discussed and decided by the poor and lower-middle peasants. They are leading the revolutionary teachers and students in mercilessly repudiating the counterrevolutionary revisionist educational line of Lin Shao-chi and his agents and in transforming the old educational system and the old principles and methods of teaching. A few persons in authority in the schools (mostly bourgeois intellectuals from exploiting class families) formerly made decisions in a subjective way. Now in schools in the vast countryside, the poor and lower-middle peasants have the final word on problems such as which students should be enrolled when a new term begins, what kind of people should be chosen as teachers, what subjects should be included in the curriculum and how teaching should be done, and on the use of funds and investment in capital construction, etc.
  For the poor and lower-middle peasants who were called "muddy legs" or "the unlearned" to have taken the rural school leadership into their own hands is something new in China. Before the great cultural revolution, schools in the countryside run by the peasants themselves were few. The overwhelming majority of the schools in the people's communes or in the production brigades were run by the state and the government allocated funds,  appointed teachers, arranged the curriculum, decided on textbooks, and so forth; All school activities were arranged by the county cultural and educational bureau and the local commune members could not interfere with them. Since the schools were dominated by the bourgeois intellectuals at the time, the poor and lower-middle peasants saw that many of their children were kept out of school, and even if they could get into school, they were often discriminated against in one way or the other. What made them more angry was that after a few years in school some children were unwilling to do farm work again and even looked down upon the peasants. Many poor and lower-middle peasants had given the schools their criticisms and suggestions, but all of these were turned down without any serious consideration.
During the great cultural revolution, our great leader Chairman Mao's series of instructions on educational revolution have shown the schools the way ahead and inspired the poor and lower-middle peasants and the revolutionary teachers and students. They began to realize that the schools in the past were dominated by bourgeois intellectuals and that, under the revisionist educational line the latter pushed, students were trained into bourgeois intellectual aristocrats; this was very harmful to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat. They held that in making a success of the proletarian educational undertakings, the fundamental question lay in the fact that school leadership must be put in the hands of the proletariat. According to Mao Tse-tung's thought, this means that urban schools must be put under working-class leadership and rural schools under the leadership of the poor and lower-middle peasants.

Revolutionary Suggestion

  On November 14, Renmin Ribao published a suggestion by Hou Chen-min and Wang Ching-yu, teachers in the Maji Primary School of the Maji People's Commune in Chiahsiang County, Shantung Province. (During the great cultural revolution, both took an active part in the struggles against the capitalist roaders and the revisionist educational line and were later elected head and member of the commune's educational group respectively.) They proposed that all state-run primary schools in the countryside be put under the production brigades and run by them, so that the poor and lower-middle peasants could manage the schools more effectively. The two held that the production brigade had all the necessary conditions to provide political leadership, financial support and a teaching staff to run its own schools. They proposed that the stale stop allocating funds or allocate a smaller amount of funds for rural primary school education and that the teachers in brigade-run primary schools no longer receive wages from the state, but. earn work points like other commune members. As the people's commune is an organization combining the local government with the commune and the basic unit of our socialist state power in the rural areas, they said, it is in accordance not only with the orientation of the development of socialism, but also with the demands of the masses that the people's communes run schools besides engaging in agriculture, forestry, livestock breeding, side occupations and fisheries.
  This suggestion has drawn nationwide attention and evoked enthusiastic response. Teachers, students, parents, workers, peasants, members of the People's Liberation Army, office workers and even retired personnel have all voiced their opinions and taken part in the discussion on the subject. In the latter part of November alone, Renmin Ribao received more than 7,000 letters from all over the country. Many good proposals have been advanced and many good experiences are being spread.
Following are excerpts of part of the letters published in the press:

"Power" Is the Fundamental Question of Revolution In Education

HAVING the state-run primary schools run by the production brigades has many advantages. Of all advantages, the most outstanding is that power is in the hands of the poor and lower-middle peasants. The fundamental question of revolution is political power. The fundamental question of revolution in education is also the question of power. Because power was not in the hands of the proletariat in the past, Chairman Mao's proletarian educational line could not be put into effect while the renegade, traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi's bourgeois educational line was poisoning the people everywhere.
  While power is in its hands, the bourgeoisie will use bourgeois ideas to train its successors; teachers will teach with "advancement in official posts" in mind, while students study for the purpose of "becoming officials." There can be only one result: the higher their cultural level, the further they get from the poor and lower-middle peasants. When students were enrolled, many were near and dear to the poor and lower-middle peasants, but when they came back they didn't want to be close to us peasants. If they stuck to this practice for a long time, how could our country, which Chairman Mao founded for us poor and lower-middle peasants, not change its political colour?
  Ours is a socialist country. A rural primary school should be a component part of a production brigade. When primary schools are run by production brigades power in education will really be in the hands of the poor and lower-middle peasants and this enables thorn to do a good job in the educational revolution and change all irrational rules and regulations in the schools. When we poor and lower-middle peasants manage the schools, we can decide the teaching contents and, in a way we see fit, plan when classes take place, guaranteeing that the poor and lower-middle peasants will always be in charge of lessons. We can change all the restrictive practices in the state-run schools, enrol large numbers of children of poor and lower-middle peasants and really bring about universal education. With power in education in the grip of the poor and lower-middle peasants, it is possible to change the "three separations" — from politics, from workers and peasants and from reality — into non-separation and to better enable the intellectuals to be re-educated by the poor and lower-middle peasants. In schools run by the production brigades, teachers are teachers and commune members at the same time. They simultaneously propagate Mao Tse-tungs thought and fight self-interest and repudiate revisionism. Eating the same kind of food and living in the same kind of houses as the poor and lower-middle peasants, they are able to have the same feelings as the latter and to work for them. This will change the phenomenon of domination of the schools by bourgeois intellectuals, educate the students in Mao Tse-tung's thought and train successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat.
We feel that having state-run primary schools run by the production brigades has fundamentally solved the important question of educating the future generations in Mao Tse-tung’s thought, so as to prevent capitalist restoration and guarantee that the state will never change its political colour.

by the poor and lower-middle peasants of the Maji Production Brigade in Chia-hsiang County, Shantung Province


Poor and Lower-Middle Peasants' Children No Longer Are Kept Out

THE suggestion to have state-run primary schools run by the production brigades is a revolutionary suggestion for further carrying out Chairman Mao's latest instructions. If this is put into practice, we children of the poor and lower-middle peasants will never again be kept out of school.
  I am of poor peasant origin. Before liberation, my grandfather and father toiled for big landlords without let-up. Both of them never had enough to eat or wear. Because of undernourishment after birth, my physical condition was poor and sickness seriously affected my health. The Communist Party and Chairman Mao led us in winning our emancipation. Seeing I was too weak to work when I was eight, my father wanted me to go to school so that I could learn something to serve the poor and lower-middle peasants. We never imagined that the day my father took me to school the frowning principal who saw my poor health would tell my father: 'You better take her back home. Ours is a regular state-run school. We don't take invalids like her.''
  I burst into tears when I heard this and father was sad. The production team's poor and lower-middle peasants and cadres sympathized with us and wanted to urge the principal to enrol me, but they had no power in running the school so their opinions didn't count.
  Father finally said through clenched teeth, "Child, this isn't our school. When we poor and lower-middle peasants start a school, father will let you attend it."
  Like a clap of spring thunder which shook the heavens, the great proletarian cultural revolution, which was personally initiated and is being led by our great leader Chairman Mao, started in 1966. Guided by Chairman Mao's revolutionary line, the poor and lower-middle peasants in our village rose in rebellion against the agents of the renegade, traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi in our commune and a handful of monsters and ghosts. The poor and lower-middle peasants seized power in education from the hands of the bourgeois intellectuals. They managed the school and added classes run by themselves as well as part-study, part-farming classes. Group after group of our class brothers and sisters entered the school that had become ours.
  I entered school on September 1, 1966 for the first time in my life. What I had always dreamt of had come true. This was the most unforgettable day of my life.
  Nurtured by the great thought of Mao Tse-tung, and with the close attention of the poor and lower-middle peasants and the revolutionary teachers, I have made marked progress in both ideology and study.
The more I think of my experience, the better I understand the overwhelming wisdom and greatness of Chairman Mao's teaching that "In the countryside, schools and colleges should be managed by the poor and lower-middle peasants — the most reliable ally of the working class," and the more I appreciate the fact that Chairman Mao cares about us poor and lower-middle peasants the most, and that he is the nearest and dearest to us.

by Chou Kuei-ying, a pupil in the Yuhong Primary School of the Chunguang Commune in Hsuanhua city, Hopei Province

Different Kinds of Teachers Bring Up Different Kinds Of Students

THE school in our production brigade used to be stale-run. During the great proletarian cultural revolution, a Mao Tse-tung's thought propaganda team of P.L.A. men helped the poor and lower-middle p- as-ants in our brigade take over educational leadership in the school.
  To do a good job in carrying out Chairman Mao's instruction "In the countryside, schools and colleges should be managed by the poor and lower-middle peasants — the most reliable ally of the working class," we ran a Mao Tse-tung's thought study class to thoroughly denounce Liu Shao-chi's revisionist educational line. We specially discussed two questions: changing the system of the teachers getting fixed wages to the system of earning work-points, and transferring teachers who had gone to teach in other places back to the brigade.
  We compared the two systems of remuneration. Previously three of our school's teachers earned work-points, while five received wages. The result was that their work attitudes were entirely different, as were the effects of their teaching. Those who got work-points were simultaneously teachers and commune members. They took the initiative in looking after the affairs of the production teams and voluntarily joined in the latter's work. They had a deep feeling for the poor and lower-middle peasants and had the best of relations with them; at the same lime, the poor and lower-middle peasants were satisfied with the students they had trained.
  Wang Pao-sheng, a teacher who earned work-points, frequently joined the poor and lower-middle peasants in field work, and studied Chairman Mao's works together with them. His class was the best in school. Of the 30-odd students in the class, 17 were cited as "five-good" students and 8 were activists in the study of Chairman Mao's works.
  In contrast, the teachers who received wages paid undue attention to their own comfort and could not get along with the poor and lower-middle peasants. Also, the quality of their teaching was poor.
  Seeing this, we were greatly impressed, and realized: "Different kinds of teachers bring up different kinds of students. Without having the feelings of the poor and lower-middle peasants, it is impossible to do a good job in bringing up the children of the poor and lower-middle peasants. Only when we have become teachers that the poor and lower-middle peasants are satisfied with can we bring up students that meet their approval."
  Having raised our level of political understanding, we turned our school into a brigade-run school after getting the approval of the revolutionary committee at a higher level. We then transferred two teachers who were teaching elsewhere back to the brigade. The five teachers who used to receive wages were given work-points the same as the commune members. These measures completely transformed our school. We teachers study and work in the fields together with the commune members and are like members of the poor and lower-middle peasants' families. The latter say: "These are the kind of teachers who are really of one heart and one mind with us. We entrust our children to them with complete confidence."
We have learnt from our experience that having state-run schools run by the production brigade is imperative in revolutionizing the thinking of the teachers. This is the way to bring up successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat.

by the entire body of teachers at the Jianchangbao Production Brigade's primary school in Penki County, Liaoning Province

Teachers Must Be Re-educated By the Poor and Lower-Middle Peasants

THE aim of the proletarian revolution in education is to completely change the phenomenon of our schools being dominated by bourgeois intellectuals and use Mao Tse-tung's thought to transform the old educational system and the old principles and methods of teaching. Some questions in the revolution in education have already been solved, and some are being solved. At present, one important question before us which demands attention is the remoulding of the teachers, that is, the people who educate others.
  Our great leader Chairman Mao teaches us: "In the problem of transforming education it is the teachers who are the main problem." To a certain extent, it is the educator who decides what subjects to teach and what sort of successors to train. If we are to completely change the phenomenon of our schools being dominated by bourgeois intellectuals the question of the revolutionization of the teachers' thinking must be solved.
  Besides introducing poor and lower-middle peasants into (he ranks of the revolutionary teachers, the reeducation of the teachers already in the schools is of particular importance. A considerable number of the latter were seriously poisoned by the bourgeois education they received. Many came from families belonging to the exploiting classes, and were deeply influenced by exploiting class ideology. The ideology and teaching methods of such people are basically bourgeois. They must, therefore, "be re-educated by the workers, peasants and soldiers under the guidance of the correct line, and thoroughly change their old ideology." A new contingent of teachers armed with Mao Tse-tung's thought can be built up only on this basis.
Putting the rural schools under the leadership and management of the poor and lower-middle peasants makes it possible for the teachers there to go deep among the poor and lower-middle peasants and learn about class struggle and labour and production, and to receive re-education from them. In this way, teachers will be able to thoroughly transform their bourgeois world outlook. This will have far-reaching significance not only for the teachers themselves, but also in training successors to the revolutionary cause of the proletariat.

by Tang Chih-chiang, a government worker in Tunhsi Township, Anhwei Province
  
  
  

 
 
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