Libmonster ID: RU-17188
Author(s) of the publication: Yevgeniya SYSOEVA

by Yevgeniya SYSOEVA, Cand. Sc. (History), Lomonosov Moscow State University

In the 18th century Russia faced formation of a New Time culture, which fundamentally differed from medieval culture. The human individual was gradually liberating from the oppression of ascetism and destruction becoming a subject of history. The value of creative activities and the role of education and science increased essentially in social progress. The views of the great scientist and encyclopedist, member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1745 Mikhail Lomonosov, whose 300th birth anniversary we mark this year, were forming just under such conditions.

The idea of a decisive importance of sciences and education for the country's development dominated in the minds of educated countrymen at that time. The desire to democratize the education system and, above all, eliminate social class restrictions became one of the trends in their practical activity. Lomonosov tried to put this idea into life by establishing a Moscow University (1755) and intending to afford an opportunity for education to representatives of all social classes. According to him, "the student is more valued, when he knows much, and it does not matter who his parents are." However, in the conditions of monarchy such idea could not be realized, even in the form of enlightened absolutism, as only noblemen and raznochintsi (not highborn intellectuals) could get higher education not serfs.

While working out the Regulations for a grammar school at Moscow University in 1755, Lomonosov added to it the following provision: serfs can be enrolled, if a landlord "wishes anyone of his people to be taught iberal sciences at the grammar school or university, if he sees a special interest in him... and renounces his right and power, which he had over him before". But there existed a kind of a trial period for such people, "if he turns to be unfit (unapt to learn.--Auth.), he should be returned to his landlord." In 1758, when he worked on a similar document for a grammar school attached to the Academy of Sciences in Petersburg, he supplemented that provision by including children of tradespeople, civil and palace peasants.

Lomonosov's ideas on democratization of education received a further development in the university draft statutes, most liberal at that time but, alas, not put into life and drawn up in 1787 by the well-known Russian statesman writer Osip Kozodavlev. It read: "the path to education is open to everybody... and non-free people also should have a right... to study at the university like other students."

When drawing up the said Regulations for Moscow grammar schools (formally, there were two such schools, one for noblemen and another for intellectuals not of gentle birth), Lomonosov tried to understand all details.

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For example, schoolchildren supported by the state (paid from the state treasury) were to live by five in a room, with the same food allowance for everyone, namely, three-course dinners and two for supper; "in meat days--cabbage soup or soup, meat, porridge, buckwheat pancakes with butter; in fast days--fish soup, beetroot and hot-pot, sturgeon and porridge with vegetable oil". Only children of rich noblemen taught at their own expense were placed by one or two in a room and had food according to their means.

Meanwhile, by the end of the 18th century, differences between schoolchildren from various social classes gradually disappeared (except for their separate living). As noted by one of the graduates of the grammar school at Moscow University, later on its historian and physicist by profession, corresponding member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1803, Pyotr Strakhov, initially lessons took place in two rooms, for noblemen and raznochintsi, but with an increased number of the latter they were held in a common classroom, though at first they sat at different tables. But step by step this rule also disappeared, and more assiduous schoolchildren sat at the front desks, while backward ones occupied "Kamchatka" (backbenches).

Initially they got meals separately though in a common dining-room. For example, noblemen were served poppy oil, pies baked from semolina, the best flour, white table-clothes, porcelain plates and crystal glasses. Hemp oil, regular wheat flour, tin or wooden crockery were offered to raznochintsi. But by the end of the 18th century, table appointments and food rations became uniform and very close to those of nobility. The school uniform had also undergone similar changes. The raznochintsi wore crimson clothes, while children from privileged classes wore dark-green clothes (as students), which became common for all schoolchildren from 1797.

However, such leveling dissatisfied nobility. Some of them considered keeping a home teacher burdensome

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for their budget and were eager to teach their sons at the university grammar school, but without contacts with raznochintsi. Therefore, in 1779, the Noble Boarding School under Moscow University was opened for children of nobility to educate a new elite of Russian society.

The democratization of education implied involvement of public at large into the sphere of education. All interested could attend lectures and use the library of Moscow University twice a week from the very beginning of its functioning. Already in the 18th century it became a center for preparation and publication of educational literature for primary and secondary schools and also for home education, such as different ABC of languages of the peoples inhabiting Russia, German, French and Italian language grammars. In all, by the end of the century there were published over 60 textbooks in arithmetic, geometry, history and geography.

A graduate of Moscow University, great enlightener, writer, journalist and publisher Nikolai Novikov worked out a publishing program of educational, scientific, religious and ethical literature. For a decade (1779-1789) more than 800 books were published at a printing house headed by him, which acquainted Russian readers with the works of Western European and Russian writers and scientists.

Creation of scientific societies was another important direction of educational activities. In early 19th century the following societies were active: the Society of Russian History and Antiquities, the Society of Nature Examiners, Society of Physical Medicine at Moscow University; the Society of National Literature Lovers at Kazan University; the Society of Sciences with the departments of natural sciences and the humanities at Kharkov University. They included not only university lecturers, but also outside scientists and men of letters, not infrequently students, grammar school teachers, and just lovers of sciences. The activities of such associations greatly contributed to the development of culture in the country.

According to Lomonosov, one of the initiators of public lectures and readings "on intelligible matters not requiring deep knowledge of sciences for understanding and attracting attention", such measures were important for advancement of learning. On June 24, 1746, Sankt-Peter-burgskiye vedomosti* published an advertisement about his first lectures "in experimental physics". Such innovation was adopted soon by universities, first of all by Moscow University. Already in 1803, all interested could attend lectures of its professors Fyodor Politkovsky (natural history), Christian von Schlözer (history of Western European states) and Pyotr Strakhov (physics). From 1804 such practice was adopted by Kharkov and later on Petersburg universities.

In Moscow of the 1840s, disputes of Slavophils and Westernists were very popular as well as speeches of Timofei Granovsky, a supporter of Western ism. In 1843-1851 he delivered three courses of public lectures, disclosing his idea of necessity to put science in the service of public interests and stressing always community of historical development of Russia and Western European countries. Moreover, in those times his address to the problem of serfdom using the example of Western

Sankt-Peterburgskiye vedomosti is a daily newspaper of St. Petersburg, founded on the initiative of Peter the Great and published regularly from 1703.--Ed.

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European countries and declarations against persecution of free-thinking and monarchic tyranny not only educated the audience, but also made it think.

The tradition of public lectures continues up to now. But they were of particular importance in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, when higher women's courses, people's universities and different educational societies began to open in the conditions of intensified striving of masses for education. Thousands of people got access to knowledge in those days. According to the mathematician Leonid Sabaneev, Moscow University (and not only it!), "disseminated science for all..."

As a logical continuation of realization of Lomonosov's ideas, there were transformations of early 19th century

стр. 56

connected indissolubly with the liberal views of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825) and his immediate associates, such as President of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1803-1810 Nikolai Novosiltsev, curator of Vilna University (Lithuania) Adam Chartoryisky, the prominent military and public figure Pavel Stroganov, the first Russian minister of internal affairs (from 1802) and honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1818 Viktor Kochubei. As highly educated men, they sincerely strived to implant on the Russian soil (of course, taking into consideration the specific character of our reality) the notions taken from French philosophy, such as "enlightenment", "national welfare", "human and civil rights".

First of all, there was set up in 1802 Ministry of Public Education together with the College Committee to deal with the problems of education on a national basis and responsible for implementation of reforms. This committee included Mikhail Muravyov, an expert in antiquity, writer, curator of the Moscow Educational District, honorary member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1857; Lomonosov's follower, astronomer, Vice-President of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1800-1803, curator of the Kazan Educational District Stepan Rumovsky; the natural scientist, geographer, ethnographer, member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1796 Nikolai Ozeretskovsky; the mathematician, Academician from 1783 Nikolai Fuss and others. The country was divided into six educational districts with universities as their centers. Thus, in 1804 the universities of Kazan and Kharkov and in 1819 Petersburg University were added to a list of the existing universities in Derpt, Vilna and Moscow.

According to the Regulations of 1804, everybody gained the right to enter the university, which made it the most democratic educational institution (general education schools were originally intended for certain social classes, namely, parochial schools for children of peasants and city craftsmen, district schools for lower middle class, merchants and functionaries, and formally classless provincial grammar schools--for nobility). During the 19th century and early 20th century more than a half of students and more than a third of professors were children of raznochintsi (clergy, merchants and lower middle class) and peasants. As to the historian and member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1841 Mikhail Pogodin, who graduated from the philological department of the Moscow University and was its lecturer for 50 years, he was of serf origin. All students were in an equal position, which already Lomonosov considered a compulsory condition. Upon completion of the course of studies, those who did not belong to the noble class got the 14th rank according to the Table of Ranks*, which granted the right to de facto nobility.

However, implementation of the educational programs in full measure was restrained by fluctuations of the tsarist government policy from liberalism to reaction. Thus, in the 1820s-1850s, the internal policy of the country was based on strengthening of the class principle, in particular, reduction of program volumes at educational institutions designed for peasants and a tendency to create a school system with stages of education isolated from each other. The rural dwellers themselves did not understand yet advantages of education, even basic education. For example, in order to fill classrooms with children in a state village, it was often necessary to call police for help. The urban middle classes and nobility saw no need to get thorough knowledge, and usually tried to "send their sons to civil service" as soon as possible. As to education of serfs, most landowners saw no need in it at all.

The situation changed in the second half of the 19th century, when the economic development of the country created an objective need in educated people. A part of

* Table of Ranks is a law on the civil service procedure in the Russian Empire (ranks according to seniority, order of promotion). It was approved in 1722 by Emperor Peter the Great.--Ed.

стр. 57

landowners and industrialists realized advantages of use of literate workers. The number of schools increased in villages, while in cities there appeared sunday schools for workers. After the abolition of serfdom in 1861, a cohort of followers of the enlightenment traditions was formed. The founder of scientific pedagogics in Russia Konstantin Ushinsky, the surgeon, anatomist and natural scientist Nikolai Pirogov (Corresponding Member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1846)*, the botanist, pedagogue and mathematician Sergei Rachinsky (Corresponding Member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1891); one of our best known writers and thinkers Leo Tolstoi (honorary academician from 1900) and others worked hard for the creation of a school of a new type, drawing it nearer to people, which substantially enhanced perception by the peasantry of necessity of education.

Meanwhile, the state policy in the field of education at that time was meant to provide lower social classes only with elementary education. Therefore, even early in the 20th century liquidation of class restrictions in this sphere remained a fundamental requirement of general public put forward already in the 18th century. At the same time, the increased eagerness to learn among people set new tasks, namely, extension of the course of primary education from three to four or five years; creation of a general education school, where all stages would make up a single whole, in compliance with Lomonosov's ideas.

The great scientist did much in support of practical education. He suggested the principle "from simple to complex": "In lower classes the teacher should not overburden children with difficult rules, but should refer more to practice; in middle classes he should give easier rules and complex rules in senior classes." He was against formalism and mechanical cramming but was for conscious understanding of a teaching material by schoolchildren, insisted on refusal of education based on the then customary German language, and demanded studying the Russian language during the whole course of studies.

In 1758, Lomonosov's follower professor of the Moscow University Nikolai Popovsky was the first to start lecturing on philosophy in the Russian language, while Latin dominated earlier. In 1755-1765, Anton Barsov (Academician from 1783), Dmitry Anichkov, Semyon Desnitsky, Ivan Tretyakov, Semyon Zabelin, Pyotr Veniaminov and Matvei Afonin lectured in Russian on philology, legal sciences, mathematics, botany, mineralogy and medicine. By the way, the problem of teaching in the native language (but, as a matter of fact, the development of national cultures) remained topical in the multinational Russia even 100 years later.

The individual approach to schoolchildren was an important principle of teaching put forward by Lomonosov. It is not accidental that the following rule was observed at the grammar schools under the Moscow University: "to patiently reveal human talents hidden by nature, form and perfect them in those schoolchildren, in whom they are not revealed yet and would remain lost without teaching...", to study natural abilities and, depending on them, to use any particular method of teaching and education, while to request quick achievements "from the undeveloped and slow-maturing mind is to force the nature in vain, but to refuse the college education to a feeble-minded boy means ...to offend mankind".

In early 19th century these rules were supplemented with teaching methods worked out by Roman Timkovsky,

See: A. Grigoryev, N. Grigoryan, "The Miraculous Doctor", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2010.--Ed.

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director of the Pedagogical Institute at Moscow University. It included explanation of a new teaching material in a classroom with its consequent study by schoolchildren with the aid of a textbook. The university professors, who inspected district educational institutions until 1835, tried to put such methods into practice. But, unfortunately, starting from 1835, when control over schools was passed to the Ministry of Public Education, many progressive principles of education were neglected and replaced again by formalism and the mechanical cramming requirement.

Only in the 1860s-1880s Lomonosov's traditions based on the individual approach to children were restored to life. Talented teachers revived the practice of explanation of all incomprehensible matters, developed a principle of explanatory reading, expanding the elementary teaching program with information falling outside its limits, strived to arouse interest in education and foster bookwork skills already at a primary school, which afforded an opportunity of self-education in future. But in the 19th and early 20th centuries, attempts of progressive teachers to oppose creativity to ministerial instructions were not only disapproved by the administration but were even punished.

Already in the 18th-early 19th centuries the teacher's legal status and the value of his labor became a subject of reasoning. Lomonosov made a special provision in the Regulations of the academic grammar schools that the school administration "is unauthorized to rebuke teachers and, in particular, to scold them in the presence of schoolchildren so that the latter would not lose proper respect to them". In fact, the starvation wages and a submissive position in relation to immediate authorities and, all the more, to city or rural authorities, of course, down-graded the teacher's prestige in the eyes of local society. Only at the beginning of the 20th century, the authorities realized the necessity to improve their social status and create conditions for their professional perfection.

Humanization of education--rejection of violence, personal constraint and physical punishments, characteristic of education for many centuries, and treatment of a student as a personality, deserving respect, was one of the provisions in the pedagogical views of the age of Enlightenment. The university Regulations prepared by Lomonosov prohibited physical punishment of students and schoolchildren and for the first time offered incentives in Russia. In this regard, it gave priority to moral influence, i.e. verbal praise or blame, transfer to a "shameful" or "supreme" place (putting on "peasant's clothes"), etc.

The educational institutions set up in the early 19th century tried to apply similar rules. But this required teachers with adequate views and convictions, much time was required for their training, but in reality all this was unavailable. The turning point in this field took place only in the 1860s with a new generation of teachers, who created the atmosphere of respect for an individual in county schools, which ruled out measures of compulsion and physical punishment. It was the beginning of a really popular type of educational institution, which promoted drawing of peasants to education.


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