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the education of a person during his formative years
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the purposeful, systematic shaping of a personality in preparation for active participation in public, productive, and cultural life. In this sense upbringing takes place as a process of organized, joint activity of the family and school, preschool and extracurricular institutions, children’s and youth organizations, and society as a whole.

Upbringing is closely linked with instruction; many of its most important tasks are accomplished through instruction. At the same time, the entire tenor of the life of a society and the development of science and technology, literature, art, and the mass media (the press, radio, and television) also have an effect on a person’s upbringing. At a certain point in the spiritual development of a personality there arises a need for self-improvement, and this to a large degree depends on self-upbringing.

The main types of upbringing are family (or domestic) and social (public and organized). The latter, during the history of society’s development, has acquired ever-increasing importance in the shaping of the personality.

Upbringing is a universal and indispensable part of social life. In order to preserve and develop itself, society must produce and reproduce material and spiritual values. To do this, it is necessary that later generations, in assimilating and using the experience of their predecessors, enrich and im-prove this experience, as well as make their own contribution to material and spiritual culture. The connection and continuity between the older and younger generations are ensured by upbringing, which also plays a leading role in the individual moral, intellectual, and physical development of human beings. As a phenomenon inherent in all socioeconomic formations, upbringing has certain common attributes—the handing down of accumulated experience, the mastery of branches of knowledge, the maintenance of health, the development of physical strength, and the formation of a Weltanschauung. But in terms of its own aims, content, organization, and methods, upbringing undergoes essential changes depending on the historical development of social relations. Unmasking the bourgeois ideologists who had denied this dependence, K. Marx and F. Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto: “But is your upbringing really not determined by society? Is it really not determined by the social relations within which you educate, by the direct or indirect intervention of society by means of the school, and so on? The communists have not fabricated the effects of society on education; they have merely changed the character of education by wrenching it out from under the influence of the ruling class” (Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 4, p. 443).

In primitive society, upbringing still did not have the character of a specific activity; it was limited to the simple mastery by the younger generation of the elders’ practical experience. Upbringing took place, for the most part, during work, as well as during various rituals and games. It was directed primarily at the physical development of the younger generations and at equipping them with work skills and habits. The experience of upbringing was then generalized into rules of life, which were passed down orally from generation to generation. Since there were no social classes in primitive society, all children received approximately the same upbringing. (The division of labor between men and women caused certain differences in the upbringing of boys and girls.)

With the emergence of classes, upbringing became class-oriented; the exploiter class used it to reinforce its dominant position. The aristocrats and rich “freemen” of ancient Greece and Rome received training that was many-sided for that time, as well as study at various educational institutions. The upbringing of slaves and their children was limited to training for heavy physical labor. Thus, upbringing intensified and reinforced the division between physical and mental labor that had arisen historically in a class society.

Under feudalism upbringing had a clearly expressed class-oriented character. The training of children from each social class had its own aims, content, and forms. Thus, the children of secular feudal lords received a primarily chivalric upbringing. The children of peasants were reared in their families under conditions of a life of daily labor. During the early Middle Ages the children of craftsmen also received their training for life in their own families; later, with the development of crafts and trade, workshop schools for the children of craftsmen and guild schools for the children of tradesmen appeared.

Religious upbringing occupied an important place in all schools. F. Engels has pointed out that during the Middle Ages “the priests held a monopoly on intellectual education and education itself thus took on a primarily theological character” (ibid., vol. 7, p. 360). Religion was declared to be the only source of truth, and science was regarded as the “maidservant of religion.” The church influenced up-bringing through services, sermons, precepts, and confession.

In bourgeois society the school based on social estates was replaced by one founded on a class basis. Bourgeois education, permeated by the spirit of private property and by an avaricious, moneygrubbing psychology and morality, aggravated class contradictions. The children of the propertied classes, who were being prepared to take positions of leader-ship in economics, politics, science, and culture, received corresponding training in privileged educational institutions. In the schools for the common people, according to V. I. Lenin, the children of workers and peasants “were not so much educated as drilled in the interests of that bourgeoisie.

They were trained in such a way as to be useful servants of the bourgeoisie, able to create profit for it without disturbing its peace and leisure” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 303).

In capitalist countries today there is a deepening differentiation of upbringing among various social groups. The pre-dominant system in both state and private educational institutions is class-oriented and leads, as a rule, to the separate instruction and rearing of children from the propertied and nonpropertied strata of the population in different types of schools. On the basis of selection (“measurement of the intelligence” by so-called tests), upper-class children, who have the opportunity to receive better preparation in their families, are sent to the privileged secondary schools, which provide access to higher education. But access to higher education is more difficult for children of less well-off families, K. Marx and F. Engels, after sharply criticizing bourgeois upbringing, set forth the principles of a new proletarian upbringing which subsequently became the program demanded by socialists and communists in public education.

During the first few years of the construction of socialism in the USSR, V. I. Lenin said: “Only by radically remolding the teaching, organization, and training of youth shall we be able to ensure that the efforts of the younger generation will result in the creation of a society that will be unlike the old society—that is, in the creation of a communist society” (ibid. t p. 301). In his speech at the Third Congress of the Russian Young Communist League Lenin set forth the principal tasks in raising the persons of the new socialist society: the formation of a scientific Weltanschauung based on the mastery and critical assimilation of the entire wealth of knowledge accumulated by mankind; the bringing up of young people in labor, for “only by working side by side with workers and peasants can one become a genuine communist” (ibid. t p. 317); and upbringing in communist morality, the basis of which is the struggle for the victory of communism.

The fundamental principles of bringing up children and young people in a socialist society are the connection of up-bringing with life and the practical work of building communism; upbringing in labor and in groups; the development of initiative and independent activity through tactful pedagogical guidance; the consistency, continuity, and systematic quality of upbringing; and consideration of the age traits of the students and an individualized approach to them. Various methods that correspond to these principles have been utilized. Methods of persuasion and exercises in the organizing of varied activities for the students have a particularly large place in the process of upbringing. Encouragement and punishment are other pedagogical methods.

Problems in the theory and methods of communist upbringing are most fully and logically revealed in the works of N. K. Krupskaia, M. I. Kalinin, A. V. Lunacharskii, S. T. Shatskii, A. S. Makarenko, and other Soviet pedagogical specialists and Party figures.

An extensive network of state educational institutions, in which upbringing is conducted in a planned and systematic manner, according to well-defined programs, and by persons who have received specialized pedagogical training, has been created in the socialist countries. An important role in the training of very young children belongs to preschool institutions. Among training and educational establishments the most important place is occupied by the school. The solution of educational problems is facilitated by scholarship and communist ideology in teaching the fundamentals of learning; the effectiveness of various devices and methods of instruction that develop the students’ independence, initiative, and learning capacities; the correct organization of lessons; mutual help in studies; an efficient schedule of studies; and finally the influence of the teacher’s personality.

In addition to school, the education of children and adoles-cents is carried out at extracurricular institutions. A great deal of work in upbringing is accomplished in boarding schools, children’s homes, technical vocational schools, and specialized secondary educational institutions. Young Pioneer and Komsomol organizations take an active part in bringing up children and young people. An important role in forming the Weltanschauung and moral qualities of young people is played by institutions of higher learning.

Adults can also be subject to educational influences. The upbringing of adults takes place during their productive and social life and as a result of educational work conducted by Party, state, and social organizations and cultural and educational institutions (libraries, clubs, palaces and houses of culture, museums, lecture halls, and so on).

At the present stage in the construction of communism in the USSR, what is most important in ideological work is the “upbringing of all working people in the spirit of a high level of ideology and devotion to communism, a communist attitude toward labor and the public economy, a complete overcoming of vestiges of bourgeois views and morals, and a universal, harmonious development of the personality; and the creation of a truly rich spiritual culture” (Program of the CPSU, 1969, p. 117).

The shaping of a new man—the builder of a communist society—is the main goal of communist upbringing, which assumes the development of a scientific-materialistic Weltanschauung, the transformation of the norms of communist morality into personal convictions and rules of everyday behavior, international upbringing in the spirit of friendship among peoples, the universal development of the spiritual and physical capabilities of people, and the cultivation in them of high aesthetic standards. The overall development of the personality, combining spiritual wealth, moral purity, and physical perfection, has become a reality because of the equal opportunities offered to each member of a socialist society for creative labor and education to develop individual capabilities and talents in all fields of production, science, and culture.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. O vospitanii iobrazovanii: [Sb.]. Moscow, 1957.
Lenin, V. I. O vospitanii i obrazovanii: [Sb.]. Moscow, 1968.
Lenin i problemy narodnogo obrazovaniia. Moscow, 1961.
Programma KPSS. Moscow, 1961. Part 2, sec. 5, points 1 and 2.
Krupskaia, N. K. Izbr. pedagogic he skie proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1957.
Kalinin, M. I. O vospitanii i obuchenii: Izbr. stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1957.
Makarenko, A. S. Soch, v 7 tomakh, vol. 5. Moscow, 1958.
Shatskii, S. T. Izbr. pedagogic he skie sochineniia. Moscow, 1958.
Osnovy kommunisticheskogo vospitaniia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1962.


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