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the independent acquisition of systematic knowledge in some area of science, engineering, culture, or political life. Self-education implies not only independence of study but also the personal interest of the learner in the material being studied. At the same time, self-education is a means of self-training, since it promotes the development of such moral qualities as purposefulness, persistence in working toward goals, self-discipline, and industriousness. In the broad sense, self-education includes all forms of the acquisition of knowledge where the learner works independently on the material being studied. The principal form of self-education is the study of scientific literature, popular science literature, educational texts, fiction, and the press. Self-education can also make use of various auxiliary means. For example, the student can attend lectures, public speeches, or concerts, listen to sound recordings, consult specialists, see plays or films, view television broadcasts, visit museums, exhibitions, or galleries, and engage in various types of practical activity, including tests, experimentation, and simulation.

Self-education became widespread during the era of capitalism primarily among the working people, who had limited opportunities for cultural growth. Those who engaged in self-education wanted to acquire skills or to raise their educational level for the sake of practical application and the improvement of their living conditions. They, of course, were also motivated by personal inclinations toward one or another area of self-education.

In prerevolutionary Russia, self-education was an important means for workers and peasants to acquire knowledge, since social and national oppression and the existing system of public education permitted the majority of the people to acquire knowledge only at an elementary school level. In the 1860’s the working people’s desire for education—a desire in many respects stimulated by technological progress—received support from the progressive intelligentsia. Many leading figures in science, literature, and art and several public organizations aided the self-education of the working people through the establishment of people’s libraries, people’s reading rooms, and people’s houses. The educational and literary journal Samoobrazovanie (Self-education) was published in St. Petersburg in 1863 and 1864. In 1893 a commission for the organization of home study was established in Moscow under the educational division of the Society for the Dissemination of Technical Knowledge. The commission worked out special programs for many subjects studied in the universities, published the series Library for Self-education, and provided tutorial teaching through the mail. Beginning in 1894, simplified self-education programs were published for a broad range of learners by the Division for the Advancement of Self-education in St. Petersburg. An important role in self-education was played by various public courses and by universities for the people, such as the Shaniavskii University. Self-education, however, could not take on a broad scope at this time because of the social system prevailing in Russia.

A special place was occupied by the political self-education of leading workers. In the late 19th century, such self-education took place in study groups, a relatively higher form than individual study. These groups studied the principles of Marxism and current political economic problems. The groups were generally led by trained revolutionary propagandists, primarily Social Democrats. In many cases, political self-education was carried out through workers’ lessons in Sunday schools. From the time of Lenin’s creation of the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, the groups were a constant source of replenishment for the ranks of the RSDLP; they supplied proletarians with a high level of political consciousness and general knowledge.

After the October Revolution of 1917, self-education became one of the important means of carrying out the cultural révolution, and it received comprehensive support from the Communist Party, the state, and mass public organizations, such as trade unions, the Komsomol, voluntary societies, and unions of creative artists. Self-education took on two fundamentally new features characteristic of socialist society: (1) public and personal interests coincide with respect to the methods and aims of self-education. As a result, self-education is connected with life, with the socioeconomic, political, and cultural problems confronting society. (2) Self-education is oriented toward the all-around development of the personality, the discovery of a person’s capabilities, and the realization of his intellectual interests. These features result in the existence of two types of self-education: self-education that has direct social utility and self-education concerned specifically with personal interests, where the social utility is indirect. In practice, the two types are inseparable. The system of self-education is changing and being improved, in accordance with economic, scientific, and cultural progress, the rising level of education, and the necessity for the continuous replenishment of knowledge. As a result of the acute shortage of teaching personnel in the 1920’s and 1930’s, workers’ schools (rabfaki) and home university study became very popular.

In developed socialist society, self-education is directed primarily toward the independent deepening and broadening of the knowledge acquired in educational institutions, where the students master the skills of independent study essential to self-education. The leading forms in the system of self-education are the various forms of political self-education and organized voluntary study in, for example, the people’s universities, various special courses, scientific study groups, and societies. Important contributions toward raising the level of organization and systematization of self-education are being made by the Znanie (Knowledge) society, by various lecture bureaus (particularly those of the Komsomol), by the public library system, by numerous popular scientific, and special publications for self-education, and by radio and television.


Lenin, V. I. O vospitanii i obrazovanii: Stat’i i rechi. Moscow, 1968.
Krupskaia, N. K. O samoobrazovanii: Sbornik. Moscow, 1960.
Rubakin, N. D. Kak zanimat’sia samoobrazovaniem. Moscow, 1962.
Kovynev, N. Rabota s knigoi. Moscow, 1961.


References in periodicals archive ?
Quite positive are the trends that are emerging in terms of self-education and self-control--respectively 86% and 82% approval for 2014 and 94% and 100% for the following year, which indicates a high degree of personal motivation.
Finally, as a metaphor for illumination and enlightenment, it is an apt symbol of the distinctive culture of self-education fostered by the miners' union.
Summary: While one in four UAE residents is at risk of heart disease, experts say that self-education can help prevent cardiovascular problems.
Training studies, bibliographies for further reading, charts and more make this a key reference suitable for a classroom course text as well as self-education.
After arriving for duty at Naval Brig Chesapeake, staff members are given the opportunity to enroll in a variety of self-education programs using the Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) program.
Their proposal was to create a website to essentially be a social media portal for self-education, on which they would tutor students in Africa.
The author tells how the gangly, barefoot, shaggy-haired Abe Lincoln evolves through mostly a love of books and self-education to become a first-class debater and, eventually, President of the United States.
This method was devised by the philosopher and sociologist Otto Neurath--a logical positivist but also (like Arntz, who lived in Moscow for a time) a Marxist--"to represent social facts pictorially" as a way of assisting in the self-education of the proletariat, and it was executed by Arntz, who created some four thousand pictographs to be used to present quantitative data on social processes: demographic, economic, and political.
The board approved the establishment of the self-education centre in SQU within the framework of realizing the university message for expanding the information circles, providing the effective education environment for the students in order to equip them with the education skills for improving the self-education skills and promoting the foundational programme for the development of the scientific learning, encouraging and promoting the creative skills of the students, as well as, paying attention to the talented and excelled students.
The clinic is designed to improve the quality of life of controlled and uncontrolled diabetic patients through self-education and proactive screening and monitoring, said Dr Boma.
Hence his term buccaneer-scholar for anyone who doesn't fit within the parameters of the normal learning environment but is still dedicated to self-education by whatever means come to hand.
science literacy may reflect such self-education by adults, aided by the Internet.