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 Worker-Teachers in Tsinghua University

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Worker-Teachers in Tsinghua University

Source: Peking Review, No. 3, January 15, 1971
Transcribed by www.WENGEWANG.ORG



    UNDER the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, Tsinghua University has selected a number of full or part-time teachers from workers In the forefront of the three great revolutionary movements — class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment. These worker-teachers, who have mounted the teacher's platform in a socialist university, have a high level of political consciousness and rich practical experience in production. They give prominence to proletarian politics, dare to blaze new trails and criticize the bourgeoisie. Taking with them the advanced experience in production into the university, they constitute the most vigorous revolutionary force in the transformation of education. Their participation in teaching has further strengthened working-class leadership over the university, given a powerful guarantee for the correct political orientation in teaching and raised the standard of teaching.

Training Successors to the Cause of Proletarian Revolution

  Communist Party member Hu Yueh-lin, who has been a building worker for 36 years, began to toil for the capitalists in the old society when he was only twelve. Though he had helped build many schools, he had no right to an education. Now he is overjoyed when the working class, under the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, has occupied the position of education and large numbers of worker, peasant and soldier students have entered the colleges and universities.
  After he became a teacher in Tsinghua, Hu Yueh-lin's first lecture was "whom should the building industry serve?" instead of the kind of "introduction" in the old textbooks which put theory above everything else and lauded reactionary bourgeois academic "authorities" to the skies. With bitter hatred for the old society, he told the class his family's history which was filled with blood and tears, and denounced the renegade, hidden traitor and scab Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line in education. "The school," he said, "has never been a place just for passing on book knowledge. It is a battleground of class struggle where the proletariat and the bourgeoisie contend to win over the younger generation. Bourgeois intellectuals dominated our schools before the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and they tried to poison the minds of the students with bourgeois ideology. Now that we workers have become teachers in the colleges and universities, we must make it our primary task to train worthy successors to the cause of the proletarian revolution."
  There are many worker-teachers like Hu Yueh-lin in the university. The first lecture they gave was class education and education in the struggle between the two lines. Viewing everything and analysing everything in the light of Mao Tsetung Thought and daring to criticize, they are a strong force in ensuring the correct political orientation of the transformation of education.
  When the mechanical engineering department was drafting a teaching programme, some teachers who had taught in Tsinghua for some years and were deeply influenced by the revisionist line in education held that the main task of university students was to "study theory in a systematic way" and that "technical innovations in the factories should be carried out by their own technicians." So they put forward a teaching programme which stipulated that the students must first study theory, then designing, and last of all go to the factories for practical experience.
  The department's worker-teachers realized that this view reflected the struggle between the two lines, centring round the fundamental question of what kind of people the university should turn out and how the students should be trained. They organized the teachers and worker-students to study Chairman Mao's wise teaching: "Our educational policy must enable everyone who receives an education to develop morally, intellectually and physically and become a worker with both socialist consciousness and culture." They initiated a debate and mass criticism of the crimes committed by a handful of capitalist readers of the old Tsinghua in pushing Liu Shao-chi's counter-revolutionary revisionist line in education. The worker-students sharply pointed out that students trained by the old Tsinghua University were utterly divorced from proletarian politics, from the workers and peasants and from reality because they spent the first four years studying mysterious "theories" behind closed doors and went to factories to take part in production only occasionally in the last two years of their six-year study. They said: "We workers must study theory. But if we study behind closed doors, before long we will become bookworms divorced from proletarian politics, from the workers and peasants and from reality even though wc have come from the forefront of the three great revolutionary movements of class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment."
  After this debate and mass criticism, a "three-in-one" group, with the worker-teachers as the main body and with the worker-students and old teachers taking part, drew up a brand-new teaching programme which stipulated that theory must be linked with practice, that teaching must be linked with social practice from the very beginning, and that new techniques and technological processes must be introduced into the teaching material. It also stipulated that the study of basic courses and designing must be combined with production. Practice shows that this teaching programme has enabled the worker-students not only to maintain the fine qualities of working people after entering school but also to quickly master the basic theories and raise their ability to solve practical problems. Before the Great Cultural Revolution, the students had to spend 401) hours in class before they could make very simple mechanical drawings. Now all the students of a class composed of veteran workers in the department, learning this subject while taking part in production, can make complicated drawings after only 40 hours of study.

Re-educating Intellectuals

  Chairman Mao has taught us: "In the problem of transforming education it is the teachers who are the main problem." In the course of transforming education, the worker-teachers by their words and deeds have helped members on the original teaching staff remould their world outlook.
  Last July, worker-teacher Wang Yung-po led a group of worker-students and teachers to the construction site of a metalwork assembly workshop in a Peking factory to gain practical experience in transforming education. The worker-students made preliminary surveys after their arrival and, on the basis of their rich practical experience, found that there was something wrong with the theory in the old teaching material concerning the calculation of the displacement of columns in industrial buildings under moving loads. According to the old theory, the displacement of columns under moving loads was quite large. Therefore, the old design called for columns of a large diameter, which were expensive. Some of the teachers felt that the worker-students were right and that the old theory was not scientific in some respects. A few others, however, said that the old theory had been followed for decades and therefore its validity was beyond question.
  As soon as he perceived these two opposing views, Wang Yung-po led them to study Chairman Mao's brilliant work On Practice. Ho said: "According to Chairman Mao's teaching, practice is the foundation of theory. The worker-students have raised doubts about the old theory on the basis of their experience. Whether the old theory is right or wrong, we must put it to the test of practice first before we can draw any conclusion."
  Upon his initiative, an on-the-spot survey team was organized by this group of worker-students and teachers. It carried out surveys in a number of factory buildings and conducted investigations and study among the workers. At first, some teachers were quite enthusiastic about the work. Later, however, when they ran up against difficulties, they began to have doubts. Wang Yung-po led them in studying the brilliant "three constantly read articles" by Chairman Mao. "We are making surveys on the spot not just for getting some data," he said. "More important, we want to break away from blind faith in bourgeois theories. Whatever the difficulties may be, we must go on with the work!"
  While criticizing the weak points of the intellectuals and educating them, Wang Yung-po praised every bit of progress they had made and encouraged them to make further efforts. After a month of hard work, the survey team finally gave the lie to the pseudo-scientific feature of the old theory. The data gathered from on-the-spot survey showed that the diameters of the columns could be shorter by 40 to 90 per cent than those required by the old theory. Ample evidence obtained from investigation showed that many hypothetical factors in the old theory were subjective judgments and that problems were analysed metaphysically. The group included in the teaching material the theory they had summed up from their practice. Thus by their deeds they hit hard at the renegade Liu Shao-chi's slavish comprador philosophy. Many teachers who had taught in Tsinghua for years said with feeling: "Politically, the worker-teachers are re-educating us; vocationally they see to it that we keep to the correct orientation. Without working-class leadership, we could not have achieved this success."

An Exemplary Lecture
  After Communist Party member Chen Chao-cheng, a forging worker, entered Tsinghua, he found that some teachers did not use proletarian politics to command their teaching. They only lectured on theoretical formulas, completely disregarding the question of what line should guide science and what class should it serve. Moreover, much of the teaching material was outdated stuff copied from foreign textbooks. In view of this, Chen Chao-cheng went to have heart-to-heart talks with these teachers and organized revolutionary mass criticism to help them break with the revisionist line in education. At the same time, he made up his mind to help them by his own teaching experience so that they could give lectures by putting Mao Tsetung Thought in command and integrating theory with practice, lectures that met the needs of the worker-students.
  While giving the worker-students a lecture on the forging of alloy steel, he enthusiastically praised Chairman Mao's brilliant concept of "maintaining independence and keeping the initiative in our own hands and relying on our own efforts" and wrathfully criticized the slavish comprador philosophy and the doctrine of trailing behind at a snail's pace peddled by the renegade Liu Shao-chi. He said: "Before the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Liu Shao-chi and his agents forced us to copy foreign types of alloy steel regardless of China's mineral resources. Taking advantage of this, some imperialist and revisionist countries tried to blockade us. We Chinese workers struggled resolutely against this. Over the past few years we have not only produced various types of alloy steel that have
Chinese characteristics, some of them even far surpass the technical level of those made abroad. A case in point is a certain type of die steel which China used to import in the past. When it was forged, at most only 65 per cent of this steel could be made into products. The same kind of die steel now being produced in China permits as much as 90 per cent to be forged into products." In the class, Chen Chao-cheng lectured on the classifications of alloy steel and the theory and technique of forging alloy steel in connection with the new techniques, technological processes and types of alloy steel developed in China. Full of revolutionary pride he said in conclusion: "Under the guidance of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, we Chinese workers dare to blaze new trails. We are confident we will outstrip the imperialists, revisionists and the reactionaries of various countries in science and technology!"
  The worker-students praised this lecture as an exemplary one. "Chen Chao-cheng gave us a political lesson as well as a lecture on a special subject," they remarked. "He voiced the lofty aspirations of the Chinese working class to win honour for our great leader Chairman Mao and for our great socialist motherland.1' One of the teachers who had taught in Tsinghua for many years said with feeling: "This lecture makes it clear that politically we intellectuals must accept reeducation by the working class and that vocationally we must learn from the workers too."
  The experimental class for transforming education which Chen Chao-cheng was in charge of accepted the task of compiling new teaching material Following Chairman Mao's teaching "Political work is the life-blood of all economic work," he organized the whole class first to analyse and criticize the old teaching material and in the course of the work constantly carried out class education and education in the struggle between the two lines, thus solving the question of "for whom should they compile the teaching material." He took the class to a dozen or so factories and enterprises to make investigation and study among the workers, revolutionary technicians and revolutionary cadres in order to know what were the problems which badly needed to be solved in industrial production and what the workers should learn. At the same time, they collected on an extensive scale the new inventions made by the workers and China's new technological processes and techniques. Then they summed up and raised the experience to the theoretical level. After the teaching material was compiled, they gave lectures to the comrades in the factories and repeatedly revised it in the light of comments and suggestions by the workers. In this way they compiled five books of new teaching material in just three months; two of these — Forging Technology and Stamping Technology — were compiled under Chen Chao-cheng's personal guidance. These teaching materials reflect the current new level of the metallurgical industry and meet present needs in China's industrial development. Simple, concise and easy to understand, they are welcomed by the worker-students.
  The worker-teachers in Tsinghua University have matured in struggle and practice in the past year or so. Some intellectuals, whose bourgeois world outlook had not been remoulded well, at first alleged that the worker-teachers could give lectures on practical work but not on theory. The worker-teachers have answered them with hard facts. Now much of the new teaching material for the various specialized courses has been compiled under the guidance of the worker-teachers. "Lectures by the worker-teachers," the students comment, "are easy to understand and we can quickly apply what we have learnt."
  
Source: Peking Review, No. 3, January 15, 1971
Transcribed by www.WENGEWANG.ORG

  
  
  

 
 
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