[This issue of Peking Review is from massline.org. Massline.org has kindly given us permission to to place these documents on the MIA. We made only some formatting changes to make them congruent with our style sheets.]
[This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 9, #26, June 24,
1966, pp. 15-17. Thanks are due to the WWW.WENGEWANG.ORG
web site for some of the work done for this posting.]
On June 13 the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council issued a notice announcing the decision to transform the existing entrance examination method of enrolling students in institutes of higher learning and to postpone the 1966 enrollment in these institutes for half a year. This decision is an important measure for carrying out thoroughly the great cultural revolution in the field of education and completely transforming China’s educational system.
Today the vast numbers of revolutionary students, administrative and other staff, and teachers in many universities, colleges, and middle schools in Peking and other places are holding aloft the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought, breaking through all the obstacles and restraints imposed by the bourgeois royalists, and directing a fierce barrage of fire at the black anti-Party and anti-socialist line in the field of education. However, the struggle has only just begun and there are still many stubborn bourgeois strongholds which have not yet been breached. If the entrance examination of enrolling new students went ahead as usual just now, this would undoubtedly bring the great proletarian cultural revolution in the field of education to a stop halfway, cripple the revolutionary enthusiasm of the Left students, and encourage the counter-revolutionary arrogance of the bourgeois Right. This decision of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council is an enormous support to the development of the great proletarian cultural revolution, a tremendous encouragement to the Left students and a heavy blow for the bourgeois Right.
For a long time now the broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, and revolutionary students and teachers have made it clear that they are very angry about the old entrance examination system of enrolling students, and have been urgently demanding that it should be scrapped once for all. The two letters to the Central Committee of the Party and Chairman Mao which are carried in our paper today, one written by students of the fourth class in the senior third grade at Peking No. 1 Girls’ Middle School and the other by students of the fifth class in the senior third grade at Peking No. 4 Middle School, and the many other unpublished letters which have come in from the masses strongly demand the abolition of the old system of admitting students. The two letters are full of inexhaustible sincerity and loyalty to the Party and the people, they are brimming over with revolutionary spirit, they demonstrate the spirit of daring to think, to speak, to act, to break through and to make revolution which imbues the revolutionary youth of the Mao Tse-tung era; they reflect the desire of the great numbers of revolutionary teachers and students and voice the sentiments of the revolutionary masses.
The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council took the decision to abolish the existing entrance examination method of enrolling students in institutes of higher learning in accordance with Chairman Mao’s instructions and the demands of the masses. Beginning this year, a new method of enrollment, a combination of recommendation and selection, in which proletarian politics are put first and the mass line is followed, will go into effect; the best students will be admitted, selected from among those recommended for their outstanding moral, intellectual, and physical qualities. The same method will be used in enrolling students of senior middle schools.
Again and again the Central Committee of the Party and Chairman Mao have pointed out that the old bourgeois educational system, including the enrolling of students by examination, must be thoroughly transformed. This old examination system of enrolling students is most dangerous and harmful to our socialist cause. It places not proletarian but bourgeois politics in command, it places school marks in command. This system is a serious violation of the Party’s class line, shuts out many outstanding children of workers, poor and lower-middle peasants, revolutionary cadres, revolutionary army men, and revolutionary martyrs, and opens the gates wide to the bourgeoisie to cultivate its own successors. This system is a great obstacle to the revolutionizing of young people’s minds and encourages them to become bourgeois specialists by the bourgeois method of “making one’s own way” and achieving individual fame, wealth, and position.
For a long time now, a handful of anti-Party and anti-socialist bourgeois representatives have opposed the educational policy of the Party and Chairman Mao and used the old entrance examination system as a weapon of class struggle against the proletariat, of dictatorship over the children of workers and poor and lower-middle peasants. In the current great cultural revolution, these bourgeois royalists have been attacking the proletarian Left and suppressing and sabotaging the mass movement in the great proletarian cultural revolution, once again using the pretext that they were “interfering with lessons and wasting study time” and threatening that they “would not go up to a higher class or be admitted to a higher school.”
The facts show that the old examination system of enrolment has become a stumbling block in socialist education and the great proletarian cultural revolutionary movement.
It is through schools that the proletariat trains and cultivates its successors for the proletarian cause and through schools, too, the bourgeoisie trains its successors for purposes of a capitalist comeback. There is sharp class struggle here, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, to win over the younger generation. The Party’s Central Committee and Chairman Mao Tse-tung have always placed great weight on proletarian education and on revolutionizing the educational system. Chairman Mao has put forward the policy that education must serve proletarian politics and must be combined with productive labor; he has pointed out that “our educational policy must enable everyone who gets an education, to develop morally, intellectually, and physically and become a cultured, socialist-minded worker.” The series of instructions given by Chairman Mao on proletarian education light the way in China’s socialist and communist cause like a great beacon.
The representatives of the bourgeoisie who have wormed their way into the educational world and are against the Party, against socialism and against Mao Tse-tung’s thought, hate the socialist revolution bitterly and are deeply antagonistic to the cultural emancipation of the worker, peasant and soldier masses. Using the positions they have occupied in the field of education, they have persistently carried out a bourgeois and revisionist educational line and done everything within their power to impede and sabotage the educational line mapped out by the Party’s Central Committee and Chairman Mao. Unless this black anti-Party and anti-socialist line is eliminated, it is impossible to carry out the educational line of Chairman Mao.
The transformation of the present entrance examination system represents a true breakthrough in the struggle to apply Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s educational line consistently and eliminate the bourgeois educational line thoroughly. That will be the beginning of a complete revolution in the whole of the old educational system. It is not only the system of enrollment that requires transforming, all the arrangements for schooling, for testing, for going up or not going up to the higher class, and so on must be transformed, and so must the content of education. Further studies must be made as to how to implement the policy of combining education with productive labor. We must relegate to the morgue all the old teaching material that goes against Mao Tse-tung’s Thought, that seriously departs from the three great revolutionary movements of class struggle, the struggle for production, and scientific experiment or that inculcates an exploiting class world outlook. New teaching material must be compiled under the guidance of Mao Tse-tung’s hought and the principle of putting proletarian politics first. The junior classes in primary schools can study some extracts from Chairman Mao’s works and the senior classes can study more of them and also some of the articles including Serve the People, In Memory of Norman Bethune, and The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains. Middle-school students can study Selected Readings from Mao Tse-tung’s Works and articles related to these readings. College students can study Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. The study of Chairman Mao’s works should be listed as a required course in all schools, whether primary or intermediate or institution of higher learning.
This revolution in the educational system, beginning with the change in the system of enrolment, is a tit-for-tat struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the road of socialism and the road of capitalism. It is a revolution that will destroy the bourgeoisie’s “nursery” and eradicate the poisonous roots of revisionism. As the letter from the revolutionary pupils of the Peking No. 4 Middle School declares: “What we are out to smash is not just an examination system but the cultural shackles imposed on the people for thousands of years, the breeding ground in which intellectual aristocrats and high-salaried strata are nurtured, the stepping stone to modern revisionism. This revolutionary action of ours will deal the bourgeoisie a fatal blow.” The transformation of the educational system in the final analysis affects the question of what sort of successors we shall produce, the question of whether we shall pass on Mao Tse-tung’s thought from generation to generation, the question of whether our Party and country will change colour.
A thoroughgoing revolution in the educational system will destroy the influence of the old exploiting class educational ideas which have dominated for several thousand years, ever since Confucius, and will extirpate one of the important seats of power of the bourgeois “authorities” and scholar-tyrants in the field of ideology. Those anti-Party, anti-socialist representatives of the bourgeoisie, and the monsters of all sorts, will not reconcile themselves to being defeated. They always stubbornly defend their reactionary positions, fight every inch of the way and never willingly retreat a single step. If we don’t hit them, they won’t fall, and after they fall they try to stand up again. Therefore, the transformation of the educational system will certainly be a process of sharp and complex class struggle. We must at all times be ready to meet every challenge presented by the reactionary classes and their representatives, and to deal them resolute and destructive blows.
We must warn those anti-Party and anti-socialist bourgeois “authorities” who are entrenched in the educational world: the food you eat is provided by the working people, the clothes you wear are provided by the working people, and yet under the signboard of “serving the people” you are doing evil against the people and the Revolution. You have taken the offspring of the reactionary classes to your bosoms and in a hundred and one ways have thwarted, spurned, and attacked the children of the working people. You have collaborated with and encouraged the anti-Party and anti-socialist bourgeois “specialists” and “professors” to spread widely bourgeois and revisionist poison. With so much wickedness to your account, with such a debt you owe the people, can we possibly allow you to continue your misdeeds without exposing you, without criticizing you, without fighting you? Don’t imagine that you will remain on your “thrones” just because you have established a group of royalists, don’t dream that you will be able to carry on and get by. Don’t harbor any illusion that after a time you will revert to your former state and resurrect your reactionary class “hereditary treasures.” This is absolutely out of the question. Responding to the fighting call of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman Mao, the masses of the workers, peasants, and soldiers and of the revolutionary cadres and revolutionary intellectuals have made up their minds to expose all you monsters, to uproot you, to rid you of all your “imposing airs” and smash your bourgeois “hereditary treasures” to pieces.
The transformation of the educational system is a complicated and difficult task. So long as we, in firm accordance with Chairman Mao’s instructions, have full confidence in the masses, rely on them, mobilize them fully, and energetically develop the mass movements, we shall certainly be able to destroy the stubborn strongholds of the bourgeoisie and win complete victory for the revolution of the educational system.
Let the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought fly high over our proletarian educational front! Let it fly forever!
(“Renmin Ribao” editorial, June 18, 1966)
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