V. I. Lenin

Speech At The Second Conference Of
Heads Of Adult Education Divisions Of Gubernia Education Departments

January 24, 1919

Delivered: 20 January, 1918
First Published: Adult Education No. 2-3, February-March 1919; Published according to the journal Adult Education
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 28, pages 437-438
Translated: Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive May, 2002

Comrades, you are all here as representatives of local adult education departments of gubernia Soviets. I have not got a lot to say since, unfortunately, I am not very closely acquainted with your work. Greetings to your congress of adult educationalists-you certainly have some important tasks to fulfil!

There are many schoolteachers in our schools trained in the old ways and this makes things difficult to change over from the capitalist to the socialist system. Although it may seem strange, many learned people are putting up stubborn resistance to us. Those who are used to looking on the old apparatus as their own private domain, merely look after themselves and serve the propertied class.

Adult education is better off than children's school education.

We recently discussed the question in the Council of People's Commissars of setting up a commission for amalgamating several scattered educational organisations. Adult education isimportant for transforming the whole of our life. New ways have to be sought.

It must be admitted that some new and inexperienced representatives of the Soviet government frequently use the old methods and give the government a bad name.

I think you adult educationalists have a hard job on your hands. In our Party work we have set our own ways of far-reaching influence on the masses, but they must be linked up with educational methods, and particularly with school and, above all, adult education. This is not always done.

In your adult education work you get assistance from the working people in the sense that they thirst for knowledge and this makes it easier for you to get across to them. This is the last place you can gallop ahead, especially with masses at a very low level of education. You must try to work more closely with Party organisations, as propaganda organs, and get the masses into the adult education campaign. If the popular initiative meets the necessary response from you, you can expect the best results. Allow me to wish you the best of luck.