university(redirected from Higher general education)
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universitythe form of HIGHER EDUCATION institution which in most countries stands at the pinnacle of a hierarchy of types of institution providing post-school education. There are exceptions to such a generalization, however, e.g. in France the grandes écoles, which train personnel for top positions in the higher reaches of government and industry, stand above the universities in terms of prestige. The university being in origins a medieval institution, there are some European universities – including Oxford and Cambridge – that can claim continuity dating back to this era. Most modern institutions however are comparatively recent creations, a product in some instances of the latter half of the 19th century. Most are more recent still, a result of the rapid expansion of higher education in nearly all countries since World War II. This in turn reflects the fact that in almost all countries higher education now plays a dominant role in occupational selection, although the nature and value of the part played by higher education in this respect is disputed (see CREDENTIALISM, SCREENING, INTELLECTUAL LABOUR).
In addition to the differences already mentioned, other important differences also exist in the character of universities in different countries: e.g. Germany has a system dominated by the professoriat and with an emphasis on research and scholarship and a relatively restricted and closely controlled access, while the US system is much more under the control of administrators, but also ‘open’, allowing wide access to a high proportion of the population (see MASS HIGHER EDUCATION). see also NEW UNIVERSITIES.
As well as its teaching functions, research and social monitoring are also vital functions of the university. As Clark (1983) suggests, the capacity of the modern university is such as to ‘appropriate functions’; thus for some commentators they are now utterly crucial to the essential character of modern knowledge-based societies. See INFORMATION SOCIETIES, POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES, BELL, LIFELONG LEARNING.
a higher educational institution that trains specialists in all the disciplines constituting the foundations of scientific and scholarly knowledge.
The first universities were founded in the Middle Ages in Western Europe as a result of the development of cities and the growth of urban economy and culture. The earliest medieval higher secular schools, founded in Italy in the 11th century, were the medical school in Salerno and the school of law in Bologna, which in 1158 attained the status of a university. The late 12th century and the 13th century witnessed the founding of the University of Paris (1215), the University of Montpellier (1289), Cambridge University (1209), Oxford University (second half of the 12th century or early 13th century), the University of Salamanca (1243), and the University of Lisbon (1290). Universities founded in Central Europe in the 14th century included Charles University in Prague (1348), the University of Kraków (1364), the University of Vienna (1365), and the University of Heidelberg (1386). The University of Uppsala was founded in 1477 and the University of Copenhagen in 1479.
The medieval university consisted of a preparatory faculty of arts and three higher faculties of law, medicine, and theology. In the faculty of arts, later called the faculty of philosophy, the seven liberal arts (septem artes liberales) were taught. These consisted of two groups: the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music). Instruction was conducted by means of lectures and debates, and the language used was Latin, the lingua franca of medieval Europe. When the trivium was completed and the examination for it passed, the degree of bachelor of arts was awarded. Upon completion of the quadrivium, the degree of master of arts was awarded. In the higher faculties the degrees of master of sciences and doctor of sciences were awarded, depending on the specialization of the given faculty. Students and teachers lived together in collegia, where studies were conducted as well.
The medieval universities were corporations to which both magisters and students belonged. For this reason, the universities were called universitas magistrorum et scolarium. Each university was administered autonomously, although the degree of autonomy varied. Each also had its own statutes, which strictly regulated the entire life of the university.
The earliest universities were independent of the ecclesiastical and secular authorities and often became centers of free thought and ideas, whose development was associated with the burghers’ opposition to the feudal system and the Catholic Church. The church, which was attempting to gain a monopoly over medieval education, sought a philosophical basis for its dogmas and waged a struggle for control of the universities. Gradually, the medieval university became an instrument for inculcating Catholicism. The monarchs of various countries, who were in conflict with the papacy over the establishment of an independent church, attempted to increase their infuence over the universities. Many universities in Italy, Spain, and Central Europe were founded by royal edict.
Despite the religious world view prevailing in the medieval universities, progressive ideological and scientific trends arose in them. In spite of persecution, some universities were important centers for the dissemination of materialist ideas in Western Europe. Aristotle’s materialism was developed by the adherents of Averroism. Many prominent opponents of Catholicism were associated with Oxford University, which was relatively free of papal influence; examples were R. Bacon and William of Ockham. The struggle waged by J. Hus against German dominance at Charles University significantly influenced the Hussite revolutionary movement of the first half of the 15th century in Bohemia. During the medieval period, the universities promoted cultural communication among various countries.
By the 15th and 16th centuries the scholasticism that predominated in the universities was hampering cultural and scientific development. The cultural progress achieved during the Renaissance influenced instruction in the universities. In Germany and in other countries, the growth of humanism was closely associated with the universities. Oxford University and the University of Kraków were important centers of humanism. At the University of Wittenberg, founded in 1502, M. Luther and P. Melanchthon initiated the Reformation. The Protestant universities were reformed, but they too became centers of scholasticism, which was now Protestant and not Catholic. The development of the natural sciences in the 17th and 18th centuries, which gave rise to many academies and scientific societies, took place largely outside the universities.
During the Counter-Reformation, the influence of the Catholic Church in the universities intensified. Most of the universities in the Catholic countries came under the control of the Jesuits.
In the capitalist era, the universities were obliged to adapt to the demands of bourgeois society. University education was secularized and freed of dogmatism and scholasticism, and the universities became centers of the new experimental sciences. These developments were particularly evident in the 19th century in the Western European universities.
In the USA, universities developed more slowly than in Western Europe, and the level of university education for a long time remained lower than that in Western Europe. Before the American Revolution (1775–83), the English colonists founded nine colleges, including Harvard College (1636), the College of William and Mary (1693), and Yale College (1701). These were essentially secondary schools for the privileged; only later, mainly in the 19th century, did they become universities. Colleges in the USA were founded primarily by Protestant organizations and were long under church control. The first American university that was independent of a religious denomination was the University of Virginia (founded 1819), established by T. Jefferson, who was also the university’s first rector.
Universities in the USA were founded and financed not by the government but by organizations and individuals. The programs of study in the American universities, as in the English universities, long reflected an aristocratic (classical) approach to education. The first department of chemistry, geology, and mineralogy in the USA was founded at Yale College in 1802, and in 1854 an advanced school of natural sciences was founded at Yale. However, the study of the natural and applied sciences developed more slowly in the USA than in many countries of Europe. Americans who had been educated in European universities contributed to the development of university education in the USA. After the Civil War (1861–65) and particularly beginning in the late 19th century, university education in the USA gained in importance.
In Latin America, universities were founded during the period of Spanish colonial rule, including the University of Santo Domingo (1538), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (1551), and the National University of San Marcos in Lima (1551). By the late 18th century there were some 20 universities in Latin America. They were modeled after the medieval Spanish universities, particularly after the University of Salamanca, and were completely under the influence of the Catholic Church. In the first half of the 19th century, a number of independent Latin-American republics were founded. As a result, the character of the older universities changed, and new universities were founded. The influence of US university education increased in the Latin-American universities; this was also true of Canadian universities. The first college in Canada, founded by Jesuits in Quebec in 1635, became a university in 1852. Major Canadian universities today include those in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
In Asia and Africa, there were almost no modern universities until the 20th century. The traditional higher schools, which had been founded in the Middle Ages, remained religious in orientation. The few members of the native intelligentsia who had an opportunity to obtain a higher education studied at European universities.
The British colonial authorities founded the first universities in India with the aim of training civil servants and officials from among the native population. The universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay were founded in 1857, and the Punjab University was founded in Lahore in 1882 and in Allahabad in 1887. All the Indian universities were modeled after the University of London. A number of colleges were founded by European and American missionary organizations, for example, the American University in Beirut (1866), St. Joseph’s University in Beirut (1881), administered by Jesuits, and the University of Algiers (1879). Instruction at these universities was religious in orientation.
In those countries of the East that remained independent, the earliest universities were generally modeled after universities in the West; they contributed to bourgeois development and to national efforts at overcoming economic and cultural backwardness. In Japan, in accordance with the new bourgeois system of education adopted in 1872, universities were founded in Tokyo (1877) and Kyoto (1897). The first university in China, the University of Peking, was founded in 1898. Owing to the intensification of the national liberation movement in Egypt, the secular University of Cairo was founded in 1908. The University of Damascus was established in Syria in 1923 and the University of Tehran in Iran in 1934.
The present position of the universities in the capitalist countries is highly incongruous. The modernization of the universities that has accompanied the development of bourgeois society has not been consistently achieved. The capitalist system of university education retains many archaic features and has not kept pace with the needs of modern times. Many capitalist countries have numerous private universities, particularly the USA and Japan. Federal appropriations for the needs of the universities are not sufficient for their continuing development. Scholarships are small and few in number, there are deficiencies in buildings and modern equipment, and tuition costs are high. At Columbia University and Harvard University in the USA, for example, the annual tuition is approximately $6,000. Only beginning in the 1950’s and 1960’s did the governments of the capitalist countries turn their attention to the universities and increase appropriations for scientific research there. Greater governmental interest in the universities was accompanied by increased interest on the part of capitalist corporations; this resulted from the growth of the scientific and technological revolution and the ensuing needs for trained scientists.
In the USA, federal appropriations for the universities were traditionally very small, but since the 1960’s they have accounted for the majority of the universities’ expenditures on scientific research. In such major areas as the physical sciences, federal appropriations account for more than 90 percent of such expenditures. Federal appropriations are generally allotted to universities that already have well-equipped laboratories and a sufficient number of highly trained scientists, for example, the University of California, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Yale University, New York University, Cornell University, and Princeton University.
In the capitalist countries the monopolies and the government are interfering to an ever greater extent in the training of scientists, and scientific research is increasingly oriented toward meeting military requirements. A significant percentage of all federal appropriations for university research in the USA is allotted to military agencies and agencies closely related to them. In 1972, such agencies (exclusive of those handling government contracts) controlled 25 percent of the federal appropriations for university research.
In general, universities in the capitalist countries are becoming less autonomous, although this trend varies in different countries. For example, in Great Britain the tradition of the university as a self-governing institution has been largely retained. In France, on the other hand, the universities are under rigid government control. As a rule, over the course of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century the bourgeois state has subordinated the universities to its own aims. Persons opposing these aims—those with democratic or even moderately liberal views—are forced to leave the universities, especially during periods of political reaction. Major university posts, particularly in the faculties of the humanities, are never given to left-wing scholars, even to those highly prominent in their fields. There are almost no Marxist university professors.
In the capitalist countries, scholarship in the universities has become reactionary in orientation. Particularly since the 1960’s, the universities have become centers of oppositional movements. This has resulted from the tendency to subordinate the universities to the bourgeois state, a development that has greatly intensified in the context of state monopoly capitalism. Another factor in the formation of the oppositional movements has been the increasing democratization of the student body, owing to the needs of capitalist industry for highly trained personnel. Efforts to democratize the universities, to modernize education, and to increase the allotment of funds for university education are essential elements of the modern democratic and antimonopolistic movement.
The developing countries have expended great effort to overcome their backwardness in the area of higher education. After World War II (1939–45) and with the disintegration of the imperialist colonial system, the first national universities were founded in many countries that had gained independence. They include Gadjah Mada University (Jogjakarta, Indonesia; founded 1949), the University of Indonesia (Jakarta, 1950), the Lebanese University (Beirut, 1953), the University of Garyounis (Benghazi, Libya, 1955), the Muhammad V University (Rabat, Morocco, 1957), the University of Khartoum (1956; formerly the University College of Khartoum, founded 1951), the University of Baghdad (1957), and the University of Tunis (1960; formerly an institute of higher education). In equatorial Africa the first higher educational institutions were the University College of Ghana and the University College at Ibadan (Nigeria), both founded in 1948 as branches of the University of London. After Ghana and Nigeria gained their independence, these institutions became autonomous universities in 1961 and 1962, respectively.
A major problem for the countries freed from colonial dependency is the development of an educated class from among the native population for the purpose of overcoming technological, economic, and cultural backwardness—the heritage of the colonial past. This requires substantial expenditures, many teachers of various disciplines, a broad expansion of the higher educational system (in some countries, the establishment of such a system), and the complete modernization of higher education. In order to fulfill these aims it is necessary to greatly expand the training of specialists in technology and the natural sciences; there is a serious dearth of such specialists in the countries freed from colonial dependency. During the colonial period, instruction at the universities was oriented primarily toward the humanities and had a corresponding ideological basis. It is necessary to revise the programs of study in the humanities in order to focus on the study of the national history and culture, which were neglected during the colonial era. The Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University was founded in the USSR to provide aid to the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the training of specialists.
University education in Russia dates from 1725, when the Academy University attached to the Academy of Sciences was founded. The university was closed down in 1766 “for lack of students.” In 1755, Moscow University was founded on the initiative of M. V. Lomonosov, who also planned the university’s programs of study. Between 1802 and 1805 the universities of Dorpat (now Tartu), Kharkov, and Kazan were founded. The Main School of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had existed as a higher educational institution since the 16th century, became the University of Vil’na. The universities met Russia’s needs for educated civil servants and for physicians and teachers, and between 1804 and 1835 served as educational, scientific, scholarly, and administrative centers for educational districts, providing guidance in methodology for all the educational institutions in the given district. The University of Warsaw was founded in 1816, and the University of St. Petersburg, originally the Main Pedagogical Institute, was established in 1819. In contrast to the Western European universities, the Russian universities did not have faculties of theology, with the exception of the universities of Dorpat and Warsaw.
Most of the children of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry) were educated outside the universities, in exclusive boarding schools and lyceés; the dvorianstvo did not want their children to be trained as physicians or teachers. The government sought to limit the percentage of students from among the raznochintsy (persons of no definite class) and to alter the social composition of the student body in order to increase the number of students from the dvorianstvo. However, the government’s efforts met with no noticeable success, and the number of students from the raznochintsy continued to increase.
The political reaction of the 1820’s affected the universities, and the political education of students in the spirit of official nationalism was intensified. The teaching of philosophy and natural law in the universities was restricted, and interfaculty departments of theology were established. Particularly affected by these developments were the universities of Kazan, St. Petersburg, and Kharkov, where a number of professors were dismissed for their “false and harmful philosophies.” The tsarist government’s policy of russification was intensified in the universities of Russia’s western provinces.
A statute of 1835 abolished university autonomy. Faculties permitted were those of law, medicine, and philosophy; the last had two departments, one of history and philology and one of physics and mathematics. In all faculties the study of theology, church history, and laws in force was mandatory. However, despite the official governmental policies, students became increasingly interested in the sciences and in civic issues. Student circles were established at Moscow University, including the Kritskii circle and the circles of B. G. Belinskii, of A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogarev, and of N. V. Stankevich. Similar circles were active in Kiev, Kharkov, and Dorpat (Tartu).
After the Polish revolt of 1830–31 was suppressed, the tsarist government closed down the universities of Warsaw and Vil’na. In their place the University of Kiev was founded in 1834, with the aim of strengthening Russian influence in the Right-bank Ukraine. Alarmed by the revolutions of 1848–49 in Western Europe, the tsarist government intensified its control over the universities. Professors and students were forbidden to have contact outside of class, and the teaching of logic and psychology was entrusted to professors of theology.
In the 1860’s the percentage of students from the raznochintsy increased in the universities, and the ideas of the revolutionary democrats became influential there. The student disturbances of the late 1850’s and early 1860’s hastened the introduction of university reforms. During the bourgeois reforms of the 1860’s, university autonomy was restored by new charters for the Russian universities in 1863 and for the University of Dorpat in 1865. The universities also became more independent administratively and financially. Scholarly and scientific student circles were founded, and women were admitted to the universities for the first time, although only as auditors. A university charter of 1863 provided for four faculties at each university of history and philology, of physics and mathematics, of law, and of medicine. The University of St. Petersburg had a faculty of Oriental languages but no faculty of medicine. A faculty of theology was established at the University of Dorpat to train ministers for the Lutheran Evangelical Church.
In 1865 the Richelieu Lycée in Odessa was granted a university charter and given the name Novorossiia University. It had faculties of history and philology, of physics and mathematics, and of law; a faculty of medicine was established in 1900. In 1869 the Warsaw Main School, founded in 1862, became a Russian university known as Warsaw University. It was intended for the sons and daughters of Russian administrators and for Polish youth; the authorities did not want Polish students to attend the universities of Kraków or L’vov, which were in Austria-Hungary.
In Russia the counterreforms of the 1880’s began with the new university charter of 1884, which was introduced in spite of protests by the majority of the students and professors. The universities were placed completely under the control of the Ministry of Public Education.
The late 19th century and the early 20th century were marked by revolutionary outbreaks on the part of university students and by unrest among liberal professors. The universities were at the center of the revolutionary events of 1905–07. A general strike of students began at the universities, which were the sites of mass meetings. The revolution accelerated the process of political differentiation among the students, who divided into groups representing various political parties, mainly petit bourgeois parties.
With the defeat of the revolution, the universities lost the concessions they had won, the reactionary university charter of 1884 was restored, and academic freedom was abolished. The following years witnessed a bitter struggle between the tsarist government and the student movement, which was supported by progressive professors. In 1911, L. A. Kasso, the minister of public education, expelled 1,000 students from Moscow University, and 130 professors were dismissed. Other universities underwent similar repression.
In 1914 there were ten universities in Russia, not counting the University of Helsingfors, today the University of Helsinki. They had approximately 37,500 students, of which 36 percent were from the dvorianstvo and the civil-service class, 10.3 percent from the clergy, and 53.7 percent from other social classes. The largest universities were Moscow University (9,892 students) and the University of St. Petersburg (7,442 students). The Russian universities were instrumental in developing the liberation movement, and revolutionists of many different generations were educated in them. In 1891, V. I. Lenin received a diploma from the University of St. Petersburg, after having begun his revolutionary activity as a student at the University of Kazan.
The Russian universities were centers of the development of Russian science and scholarship, and until the late 19th century they had a monopoly on scientific research; the few independent scientific institutions were closely connected with the universities. The Academy of Sciences was largely composed of university professors.
The Russian universities were also centers for the dissemination of education and scientific knowledge among broad strata of the population. Many varied cultural and educational institutions and new higher educational institutions were attached to the universities or cooperated with them. The Advanced Courses for Women were founded in Moscow by Professor V. I. Ger’e of Moscow University, and university professors helped found the Advanced Courses for Women at the University of St. Petersburg, as well as Shaniavskii University, the Independent Higher School of P. F. Lesgaft, the Pedagogical Academy, and many other educational institutions. Despite the reactionary policies of the Russian autocracy toward the universities, progressive traditions developed in them owing to the influence of progressive professors; this contributed to the growth of university education in Russia. The progressive features of the Russian universities were retained and developed by the Soviet universities.
After the Great October Socialist Revolution the universities were reformed to conform with socialist principles. Higher education became free and accessible to working people and their children. The privileges of the former propertied classes were abolished, and all restrictions based on national origin were eliminated. Women received equal rights to higher education. The decree of the People’s Commissariat of Education of Sept. 11, 1919, On the Establishment of Workers’ Schools at Universities, dealt with the task of proletarianizing the higher educational institutions. On Sept. 17, 1920, Lenin signed a decree that gave the workers’ schools equal status with university departments.
Between 1919 and the early 1920’s the curricula of all the university departments were revised. The teaching of the natural sciences was emphasized and new departments of biology, physics and chemistry, and mechanical and electrical engineering were founded. The teaching of the social sciences was fundamentally revised. Departments of social sciences were founded at the universities to train Marxist lawyers, diplomats, historians, and economists. The former faculties of history and philology were merged with these departments, which had three divisions: economics, history, and politics and law. From 1918 to 1920, 15 new Soviet universities were founded, many of them in the national republics, including the universities of Tashkent, Tbilisi, Azerbaijan, Yerevan, Riga, and the General University of Labor in Vilnius.
The developing industrialization of the USSR called for the accelerated training of an extensive technological intelligentsia. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s a number of university departments became specialized higher educational institutions. New universities were founded in the Union republics. The University of Samarkand (before 1960 called the University of Uzbekistan) was founded in 1927, the Kazakh University in 1934, and the University of Petrozavodsk in 1940.
The Western Ukraine was reunified with the Ukrainian SSR in 1939, the Moldavian SSR was founded in 1940, and Soviet power was restored in the Baltic republics in 1940. As a result, the universities of L’vov, Chernovtsy, Latvia, Tartu (formerly Iur’ev), and Vilnius became Soviet universities. In the 1940–41 academic year there were 29 universities in the USSR, with 75,700 students.
The universities of Kishinev and Uzhgorod were founded in 1945, Tadzhik University in 1948, Turkmen University in 1950, and Kirghiz University in 1951. The resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of Apr. 12, 1956, On Measures for Improving Scientific Research in Higher Educational Institutions, linked the universities more closely with the national economy and with the scientific institutions of the Academy of Sciences. On July 18, 1972, the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed the resolution On Measures for the Further Improvement of Higher Education in the USSR, which devoted particular attention to the development of university education. The years between 1956 and 1975 witnessed the founding of 28 new universities, mainly in the USSR’s autonomous republics.
Soviet universities have developed in close connection with the tasks of communist construction and serve as major scientific and scholarly research centers. The scientific advances achieved in the universities constitute the foundation for the training of highly qualified specialists and teachers and for developing progressive principles and methods in pedagogy. In the 1975–76 academic year, Soviet universities trained specialists in 105 disciplines that covered every branch of scientific knowledge. Each university has between four and 16 departments. The most prevalent departments are those of history, philology, law, economics, mechanics and mathematics, chemistry, soil science, biology, physics, geography, and geology. There are departments of medicine at the universities of Vilnius, Tartu, Petrozavodsk, and Yakutsk and at the Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University. The universities of the autonomous republics have departments that fulfill local economic and cultural needs, for example, departments of engineering and technology, agriculture, agricultural engineering, and forestry and timber technology.
In comparison with other higher educational institutions, the universities provide specialized training at an advanced level. The five-year course of study at the universities includes scientific research conducted by the students under the direction of professors and instructors, a factor that also raises the level of instruction. As part of their course work, the students write surveys of published papers or summaries of the results of experimental research. In specialized seminars and in courses providing practical training, the latest scientific advances and research methods are reviewed. The students also read and discuss seminar papers.
In the final stages of university education, students write diploma theses and defend them publicly before state commissions. Students learn to plan and conduct experiments and to analyze the results of experiments. The best student papers are published in collections and journals. University graduates work in research institutions, within the system of higher and secondary education, in cultural institutions, in laboratories and structural design offices in factories, at experimental stations, and in state and party organizations. They contribute to progress in science and technology and are at the forefront of scientific, technological, and cultural progress.
The major universities train scientists, scholars, and teachers in philosophy, mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, history, and political economy for the higher educational institutions in the USSR. In 1975 there were more than 13,000 graduate students in these fields at the universities, or 23 percent of the graduate students in all Soviet higher educational institutions. The universities are centers for the basic and advanced training of teachers in the social sciences, the humanities, and the physical sciences in higher and specialized secondary educational institutions. The universities are also centers for the advanced training of specialists who are employed in various sectors of the national economy, in scientific institutions, and in administrative agencies. As of 1976 there were eight institutes and 25 departments for the advanced training of teachers at Soviet universities. Every year some 42 percent of the USSR’s teachers pursue advanced training at the universities.
The leading universities in the USSR are also major centers for training in educational methodology. Curricula and programs of study are developed at the universities for many of the disciplines taught at higher educational institutions. Many textbooks and teaching aids are prepared at the universities for the theoretical disciplines taught in the USSR’s higher educational institutions. Textbooks and teaching aids are also prepared at the universities for courses in the natural sciences and the humanities taught at the USSR’s universities, pedagogical institutes, and secondary educational institutions.
The USSR has many specialized research institutes and research institutes associated with academies, but the universities remain major centers of science and culture. The universities contribute to scientific and technological progress, particularly in solving major scientific problems and problems associated with new areas of research that have developed owing to the overlapping of existing disciplines. In solving such problems many universities, particularly those that have been long established, are achieving outstanding results that have contributed to scientific progress both in the USSR and abroad.
Groups of scientists and scholars at Soviet universities have established schools in various disciplines that have gained a worldwide reputation. There are major schools of mathematics at the universities of Leningrad, Novosibirsk, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Kazan. Many trends within mathematics and mechanics have become independent disciplines with their own specialized research institutes. Examples include an institute of mathematics and mechanics at the University of Leningrad, an institute of mechanics at Moscow University, and an institute of mathematics at the University of Kazan. There are renowned schools of chemistry at the universities of Kazan, Leningrad, and Kharkov, and noted schools of philology and linguistics at the universities of Yerevan, Leningrad, and Tbilisi. Major research is conducted at Soviet universities in theoretical physics, solid-state physics, and other areas of physics. The universities have achieved substantial progress in biology, particularly in such new fields as molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, and biophysics.
As of Jan. 1, 1976, there were 38 research institutes, 17 computer centers, and 176 specialized laboratories at Soviet universities. These and other research facilities attached to the universities continually seek to relate their research to the needs of individual sectors of the national economy. All the universities in the USSR have their own libraries and many have their own publishing houses that print series of learned transactions and bulletins. The most outstanding Soviet scientists and scholars are associated with the universities. The major Soviet universities cooperate extensively with many universities abroad in further developing higher education and joint scientific research, thus contributing substantially to world peace. Many Soviet scientists and scholars have been awarded honorary doctorates by foreign universities. In 1976, 26 Soviet universities were members of the International Association of Universities, which is administered by UNESCO.
All the universities in the USSR are under the jurisdiction of the ministries of higher and specialized secondary (public) education of the Union republics. Moscow University and the universities of Kazan and Dnepropetrovsk are directly subordinate to the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education of the USSR. Since 1940 the ministry has published the journal Vestnik vysshei shkoly (Journal of Higher Schools), which deals with Soviet higher educational institutions, including the universities. In 1972 the Council of Universities became part of the ministry; among its members are the rectors of all the USSR’s universities.
In the 1976–77 academic year there were 65 universities in the USSR with more than 560,000 students, including 83,000 in evening divisions and 169,000 in correspondence divisions. In 1975 the universities graduated more than 87,000 specialists. There were 52,700 instructors and research associates on the university staffs, including 168 academicians and corresponding members of academies, 3,200 doctors of science and professors, and 20,900 candidates of sciences and dotsenty.
The development of a new system of higher education and the training of a Soviet intelligentsia in many institutions of higher learning, including the universities, were the most important aspects of the cultural revolution in the USSR. The other socialist countries have adopted the methods used in the USSR’s institutions of higher learning. Czechoslovakia, Poland, the German Democratic Republic, and Yugoslavia have universities dating from the Middle Ages. In Bulgaria and Rumania, the first universities were founded in the 19th century, when these countries gained their independence. In the Mongolian People’s Republic and Albania the first universities were established only after the people’s revolutions. The transformation of the universities in the socialist countries according to socialist principles has been a complex process embodying a search for new educational content and methodology.
In the socialist countries, in accordance with the need for creating a new intelligentsia from among the people, workers and peasants were for a time given priority in university admission. Workers’ schools were founded at the universities, the curricula were revised, and new methodological approaches were initiated in the social and natural sciences. New departments were founded and specialized institutes were attached to many of them. Several technical universities were founded; for example, the Dresden Technical University was established in the 1960’s to
|Table 1. Universities in the USSR (as of Jan. 1, 1977)|
|Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship||1960|
replace the Higher Technical College in Dresden. During the development of the socialist educational system, including the system of university education, the antidemocratic restrictions that had existed in most of the socialist countries were abolished, and the masses of the working people gained access to the universities. The restrictions on the admission of women that had existed in some of the socialist countries were eliminated, and universities were founded in outlying national regions.
As in the USSR, the universities in the socialist countries are state educational institutions. They are financed by the government, which provides funds for scholarships and other needs from the consumption fund. The plans and projections for scholarly and scientific research at the universities are an important component of the state plans for the advancement of science and technology in the socialist countries. There is a close interrelationship between university education and the tasks of socialist construction.
A list of universities in the USSR is given in Table 1.
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