La educación socialista / Alexis Márquez Rodríguez

Socialist Education

The most notorious sign of the failure of “actually existing socialism” can be found in education. The aim to build a “new man” resulted everywhere in a fiasco. In the Soviet Union, seventy years of a socialist regime were not enough, nor were the millions of rubles invested, to achieve that so desired “new man.” And not because education there was deficient and of poor quality, since it’s evident that the educational system developed by the Soviet State reached levels that, compared with those of pre-revolutionary Russia, ended up being admired, with reason, as a true miracle. I remember having seen in situ, in the 60s, concrete accomplishments, and not of the kind fabricated to show specific visitors, that provided evidence of the advances gained, not only in the daily practice of schools and universities but also in the field of pedagogical theory. And on those visits, and during numerous international meetings, many of us educators had the chance to meet and talk with Soviet educators and calibrate the solidity of their formation as teachers.

The great Soviet advances in the sciences and technology are also well known, to the point that at one given moment the USSR was at the head of the so called “race for space,” leaving behind the United States for a while. The great achievements of Soviet Medicine were equally acknowledged. And generally, that country’s universities, with the famous Lomonosov in first place, garnered an extremely high prestige throughout the world. And yet, already before the collapse of the USSR people began to perceive the immense corruption among the functionaries of the “Soviet power,” formed within that educational system, a situation that was more widely seen once the Soviet State disappeared. At that point, the failure of the task of forming the “new man,” the desideratum of the “socialist” regime installed in 1917, was evident. The same thing, mutatis mutandis, has happened in all the other countries where “actually existing socialism” was installed. Even in those where high levels in the extension and quality of teaching were reached, the “new man” was nowhere to be seen. And even in countries like Cuba, where a high educational level has undoubtedly been achieved, those gains have been reversed by the reappearance of old social maladies the Revolution had banished, such as prostitution and the corruption of public officials, denounced by governmental leaders themselves. An undeniable sign that the “new man” has not been created there either, after forty years of revolution.

How does one explain, then, that facing such realities the delirious Chavista “revolution” intends to build that “new man” who will definitively install “21st Century Socialism,” a project that, for worse, has been placed in the hands of people who know nothing about socialism nor anything about education?

{ Alexis Márquez Rodríguez, Tal Cual, 21 September 2007 }

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