One of the most important directives put out by Chairman Mao during the "Cultural Revolution" was that the old educational system should be remodelled.
One of the most important directives put out by Chairman Mao during the "Cultural Revolution" was that the old educational system should be remodelled. The old system favoured those with more opportunity to study; it also divorced study from manual labour. Mao Tse-Tung advocated a system which provided more opportunities for the workers and, at the same time, produced a combination of manual labour and intellectual activity.
Education officials in the People's Republic of China admit that the system is far from perfect. But following a pronouncement in 1968, factories all over the country have founded colleges which attempt to produce a new class of educated worker.
VISNEWS cameraman Russell Spurr visited the Shanghai Machine Tool Plant on Monday (19 April) and filmed this report of the system in action.
SYNOPSIS: At the Shanghai Machine Tool Plant in the People's Republic of China, nearly six thousand workers are employed to produce metal gear parts. The factory is one of the largest in Shanghai. It is also an example of a Chinese "workers' college" aimed at producing educated workers.
Fifty-two of the workers attend a college in the factory, dividing their time between the classroom and the factory floor. One of the most important directives of Chairman Mao during the "Cultural Revolution" was that the old educational system should be remodelled. He advocated a new system aimed at producing better opportunities for the workers, and at the same time combining manual labour with intellectual activity. Top priority here is given to the study of Mao Tse-Tung's thoughts, Chinese history and Marxism - Leninism.
Most of the students are teenagers but there is a springling of older workers being groomed for top production jobs. Officials emphasise that the instructors are no longer leading engineers and professors, but skilled fellow workers. They teach mathematics, dymanics, physical and engineering drawing to the worker - students.
Chinese officials have admitted that the system is still far from perfect, but they claim that the idea is a vast improvement on the old educational system which favoured only those with the opportunity to study.
The Shanghai Machine Tool Plant was the pioneer of the worker's college idea and was a direct result of the educational pronouncement of 1968. So far, the system has proved feasible and the Chinese aim to introduce the idea into more factories.