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 Primary School Pupil Refutes Erroneous Views About Revolution in Education

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Primary School Pupil Refutes Erroneous Views About Revolution in Education

Source: Peking Review, No. 9, March 1, 1974
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

On February 11, Renmin Ribao frontpaged an open letter from Huang Shuai, a Peking primary school pupil, to Comrade Wang Ya-cho, a staff member of the political department of the Inner Mongolia Production and Reclamation Units, criticizing his erroneous views about the revolution in education. There was an editor's note supporting the letter.
Twelve-year-old Huang Shuai is a fifth grade pupil at the Chungkuan No. 1 Primary School on the outskirts of Peking. Renmin Ribao on December 28, 1973 had run her letter to the press and excerpts from her diary, which she had written in the revolutionary spirit of going against the tide to criticize the old educational system that advocated the "absolute authority of a teacher" and to condemn the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius peddled by Lin Piao. (See Peking Review, No. 2, 1974. p. 6.)
The editors note said: "Since the letter of Huang Shuai and excerpts from her diary appeared in our paper, teachers and students and people in various walks of life have expressed their warm support for her revolutionary spirit of going against the tide and praised the younger generation which grows up sturdily nurtured by Mao Tsetung Thought. But there are other people who disagreed with her action and have come out with criticism. Comrade Wang Ya-cho is one of them. Huang Shuai has written a letter in reply, refuting his erroneous views in a convincing and forceful way.
"This shows that the struggle between the two lines and two ideologies on the educational front is still very sharp. Whether to advance or retrogress? Whether to carry the revolution forward or resort to eclecticism and make compromises? Whether to encourage and foster revolutionary new-born things or decry them? These are vital questions that must be settled if we are to develop the excellent situation in the revolution in education."
In her letter to Wang Ya-cho, Huang Shuai said: Your letter raises questions that call for deep thought. For example, is there still a struggle between the two classes and the two lines on the educational front? Has the pernicious influence of the revisionist line been eradicated? Are children allowed to take part in the revolution in education? Do they know how to make revolution? Shall we carry the proletarian revolution in education through to the end or stop because we have already gone too far? People with different class stands answer these questions of principle differently. This precisely shows that the proletariat and the bourgeoisie are locked in a life-and-death struggle on the educational front.
Huang Shuai said: Is the situation "fine" or "terrible" as regards the current revolution in education? Here, I think, lies our fundamental difference. An invigorating revolutionary atmosphere prevails in our class and school and throughout Peking and the country. The pernicious influence of the revisionist line in education once set teachers and pupils against one another. Chairman Mao's revolutionary line in education today reunites teachers and pupils; they are fighting shoulder to shoulder. The teacher in charge of our class is now brimming with revolutionary zeal. He said: "The revolution in education is a great help to me in remoulding my world outlook and improving my work to train successors to the proletarian revolutionary cause. I'll never forget the profound lesson I've received." He has become our fine comrade-in-arms, fine example and fine "squad leader." One of our former teachers came to our class and asked us for opinions. He was moved to tears when the whole class applauded him. Our class has written many big- and small character posters. We are conscientious in observing discipline and enthusiastic about doing physical labour. We have improved in our study and those who lagged behind have caught up. Ours is now a class in which everyone is a Little Red Guard, studying well and making progress every day.
Huang Shuai continued: Instead of acclaiming this excellent situation, you grumbled at it and denounced it. This shows that you stand on the side of the bourgeoisie.
Finally, she said: Jeering at being sceptical of and even threatening the young shoots of new-born things are "essentially, methods of bourgeois class struggle against the proletariat, a defence of capitalism against socialism," as Lenin said.

  
  
  

 
 
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