Polytechnical Education

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Polytechnical Education


in the secondary schools, one of the most important components of communist upbringing, acquainting students theoretically and practically with the basic scientific principles of modern production and with the peculiarities of social and production relations. It also provides effective labor training, develops work habits and skills, orients students vocationally, helps them make a wise choice of a career, and lays a foundation for further professional and vocational training.

The concept of polytechnical education was first advanced by K. Marx and was developed further by V. I. Lenin. Marx and F. Engels considered the union of polytechnical education with productive labor to be the basis of socialist education and the only means of molding fully developed persons.

Under capitalism, polytechnical education remains underdeveloped, since bourgeois society is more interested in training specialists in a single field. Lenin regarded schools providing polytechnical education as a basic means of creating a classless society; he viewed them as an instrument of inculcating a communist spirit and a means of preparing the young generation for building a new life. Lenin’s works express the idea that a polytechnical orientation is one of the guiding principles determining the aims, content, and forms of education in secondary schools. His views on polytechnical education were developed further by N. K. Krupskaia, A. V. Lunacharskii, and M. I. Kalinin. Krup-skaia emphasized that a polytechnical approach should permeate all school subjects and that this demands coordination between these subjects as well as coordination with practical activity and especially with training for work.

Polytechnical education combined with intellectual and physical training was first implemented in the Soviet general-education school. Students become acquainted with the scientific foundations of modern production chiefly while studying the natural sciences. They are shown the many ways in which man can utilize the laws of nature and the properties of materials in practical work and production. Teaching methods are selected that provide maximum intellectual stimulation and that enable the students to investigate the laws of nature in practice. Elementary skills in using simple instruments and equipment are developed, and the students learn actual production techniques.

Subjects in the humanities play a leading role in developing the student’s ability to adapt to the system of production relations and in readying the student for work. The objective laws of development in social relations are revealed, as is the leading role of the working class in creating material and spiritual values. The students study the history of socialist society, the fundamentals of economics, the organization of modern production, and the structure of the national economy; they become acquainted with the tasks of communist construction. The educational methods selected ensure the formation of moral readiness to participate in productive labor.

The scientific principles of production and production relations are also taught at elective sessions, in school technical and experimental clubs, and in extracurricular institutions. The development of skills in handling simple production tools and machinery is the chief purpose and content of the subject Tru-dovoe Obuchenie (Labor Instruction). The students’ readiness for work and love of work as well as their vocational orientation are ensured by the entire system of educational and extracurricular work in the schools. The aims of the system are achieved by means of the subjects’ content, the extent of the teaching load, and teaching methods that ensure a high level of student participation.

Student participation in the social labor activities of adults plays a decisive role in labor upbringing. Such participation acquaints students with the organization and demands of production and enables them to display their moral and physical capabilities. The same aims are sought in the organization of student labor in student factory shops, industrial-training centers, student production brigades, forestry sections, and work and recreation camps.

To a great extent, a polytechnical approach determines the content of education and the selection of teaching and practical training methods in vocational and professional schools of all levels, including higher educational institutions. Such an approach ensures that future specialists will have a broad outlook, high levels of professional skill and general culture, and an increased ability to meet the demands of modern technology and production.

A polytechnical approach is also fundamental in the planning of instructional and educational work in the secondary schools of other socialist countries.


Marx, K. “Instruktsiia delegatam Vremennogo Tsentral’nogo soveta po otdel’nym voprosam.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 16.
Engels, F. “Printsipy kommunizma.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 4.
Lenin, V. I. “Zadachi soiuzov molodezhi.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41.
Lenin, V. I. “Direktivy TsK kommunistam—rabotnikam Narkomprosa.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42.
Lenin, V. I. “O politekhnicheskom obrazovanii: Zametki na tezisy Nadezhdy Konstantinovny.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42.
Lenin, V. I. “Predislovie k knige I. I. Stepanova Elektrifikatsiia RSFSR v sviazi s perekhodnoi fazoi mirovogo khoziaistva. “Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 45.
Krupskaia, N. K. “Narodnoe obrazovanie i demokratiia.” Pedagogicheskie sochineniia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1957.
Krupskaia, N. K. “Trudovoe vospitanie i politicheskoe obrazovanie.” Pedagogicheskie sochineniia, vol. 4. Moscow, 1959.
Lunacharskii, A. V. “Osnovnye printsipy edinoi trudovoi shkoly.” In the collection A. V. Lunacharskii o narodnom obrazovanii. Moscow, 1958.
Blonskii, P. P. Trudovaia shkola, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1919.
Shabalov, S. M. Politekhnicheskoe obuchenie. Moscow, 1956.
Problemy politekhnicheskogo obrazovaniia. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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