The dramatic events of the mid-twentieth century bear adequate testimony that the rate of the development of science and new technology is one of the most decisive factors in determining the economic and political power of a nation and its international position. A detailed knowledge of the educational systems of the world in meeting the needs of economic and social development becomes increasingly important, particularly in regard to professional scientific and technical manpower. The education of such specialists encompasses a period of 15 to 20 years, and thus the educational policies which are followed today affect the power potential of a country two decades hence.
The profound economic, political, social and cultural transformations which have taken place in the Soviet Union during the last few decades are of great and continuing concern to the free world. Almost 8 years have passed since the initial effort by the present author to examine the Soviet educational potential and specialized manpower resources was made for the Office of Scientific Personnel, National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. This effort resulted in the publication by the National Science Foundation in 1955 of Soviet Professional Manpower -- Its Education, Training, and Supply. In 1958 research was begun on what was intended to be merely an updating of this earlier study. The extensive amount of new information, however, and in particular the reorganization of the Soviet educational system called, instead, for a new and completely revised study.
The present study was prepared under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation as part of the project on education and professional manpower in the communist bloc countries of the Office of Scientific Personnel of the National Academy of Science-National Research Council. I am indebted to Dr. M. H. Trytten, director of the Office of Scientific Personnel, for his guidance and interest throughout the course of the preparation of the manuscript. It is a happy privilege to acknowledge the valuable assistance and support of the Foundation's director, Dr. Alan T. Waterman, its associate director, Dr. Harry C. Kelly, and the continuing cooperation of numerous Foundation associates, particularly Dr. Bowen C. Dees, Mr. Thomas J. Mills, and Mr. Robert Cain.
The National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council in turn express their appreciation to the individuals who aided this study in various ways-sharing information, providing counsel, reviewing the material or otherwise collaborating in the research-and to the U.S. governmental agencies and private institutions for their cooperation and the use of facilities.
Most of the research, the reconciliation of material, and the preparation . . .