Education for Decline: Soviet Vocational and Technical Schooling from Khrushchev to Gorbachev
Perestroika – economic and political reform – is what the world associated with Mikhail Gorbachev when he led the USSR. There were, however, some political scientists in the West who saw Gorbachevism as a time of conservatism, not of radical change.
Dennis Soltys confirms the latter view in this study of educational policy and institutions in the former Soviet Union. Focusing on vocational and technical schooling, Soltys reveals very strong continuity from Khrushchev to Brezhnev to Gorbachev. In 1991, schools still functioned on the principles of vocational education and applied science inherited from the Khrushchev era, instead of embracing a more forward-looking model based on technical education and basic science. Soltys examines the role of ideas, institutions, and societal actors in the development of education policy, with emphasis on the period from 1981 to 1991. He demonstrates how poor conceptual design and institutional fragmentation damaged Soviet education at all levels.
Education for Decline offers more than a lesson in educational and public policy making. It provides an important baseline for understanding state- and society-building in Soviet successor countries. Commercial entrepreneurs, diplomats, and development agencies should give this book serious consideration.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 240 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
‘Anyone who needs to gauge the character of the labor force in the new Russia (and to understand how the Soviet regime prepared its young people for the world of work) can do no better than to read Education for Decline. It is clear from Soltys’s account that the Soviet legacy will continue to influence Russian economic development for the foreseeable future.’
ANTONY JONES, Chair of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University
‘An illuminating study of one of the many dimensions on which the doomed Soviet system failed to discern, and provide for a changing future…Education for Decline illustrates how the “planned economy” and its institutions fell far short of their pretensions in the development and deployment of human resources.’
WALTER D. CONNOR, Professor of Political Science, Sociology and International Relations, Boston University
DENNIS SOLTYS was an associate of the centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Toronto and a visiting scholar at the Ukrainian Academy of State Administration, Kyiv. He is currently a Professor of Public and Municipal Administration at Kimep University, Khazakhstan.
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