Education and Society in the New Russia

Education and Society in the New Russia

Education and Society in the New Russia

Education and Society in the New Russia

Synopsis

This survey of the changes in education and socialization in the former USSR examines the institutions that are shaping the first post-Soviet generation. Chapters provide reports on such questions as diversification and the development of independent schools, curriculum reform and democratization.

Excerpt

After decades of subordination to the goals of the communist regime, educators in Russia now find themselves part of a fundamental social, economic, and political transformation. the difference between now and earlier times, however, is that the central authorities are weak, the path ahead ill-defined, and the finances necessary for the task unavailable. Today, the schools are expected to find their own solutions to educational problems, after being dictated to for the last seventy years. Needless to say, the Russian education system is ill-equipped to deal with the new situation. and yet, if the transformation currently under way is to solve the long-term problems of the nation, the schools must play a major part. It will be in the schools that the knowledge and attitudes necessary for a new society will in part be formed. It is in the schools that the future labor force will be prepared. It is in the schools that future citizens are shaped. in short, the emerging society will be influenced in no small measure by what happens in education.

At the same time, what happens in the schools will be strongly affected by what happens in society. the kinds of tasks that the educational system will undertake, the goals that the curriculum will try to meet, and the resources necessary for functioning will all come mainly from the world outside of the school. Education in Russia already looks different in significant ways than it did during the Soviet period, and its relationship with political authorities has seen profound changes. To an extent not true just a few years ago, education now has a chance to control more of its activities and to reorganize its relationships with other major institutions of society. It is this changing relationship, and the ways in which education and society are influencing each other's development, that are the themes of this book.

While it is convenient to date the beginning of the "new" Russia from the formal dissolution of the ussr in December 1991, it actually predates the collapse of the Soviet Union. During the Gorbachev period (1985-91) . . .

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