Decent education for all

If we want a society worth living in, education should be high-quality, free, universal, lifelong and publicly provided. Profit-taking has no place in classrooms.

Proletarian writers

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Soviet poster: Glory to Soviet teacher

Proletarian writers

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The following motion was passed unanimously at the party’s eighth congress in September.

This congress recognises that the purpose of education is twofold. To equip adults with the skills and knowledge for them to contribute usefully to society and to enable them as individuals to realise their full scientific and creative potential. Utility and self-fulfilment being two arms of the one body.

The sharing of knowledge and cooperation in production is the basis of human civilisation, which has enabled mankind to rise above mere survival and achieve incredible feats of engineering and artistry. Where education and scientific research has been deployed in the service of humanity it has brought about tremendous advances. The productive capacity of humanity on a global scale now means that we produce more than enough food for the entire current population of the world, some 7.5 billion people.

We have already have eliminated many diseases and we have the potential to eradicate all. We can instantly communicate across the globe and travel to most places on earth in under a day or two. We continue to explore the earth and we have begun to explore space. Yet in large parts of the world, there is not only no education or training provided, but not even clean running water or electricity, as these resources are reserved only for the parasitic landowning and bourgeois elites.

This congress notes that today in Britain, rather than education and vocational training being viewed as a social necessity and individual necessity required for the full flourishing of society as a whole as well as the individuals within it, education and training are treated as a commodity, which is sold to the working class as a product that will provide a higher income to them as individuals, irrespective of its social utility or its ability to enhance the individual life.

Congress believes that all education and training from creche and kindergarten through school, university, vocational college and on to adult lifelong learning and retraining should be provided free, along with full maintenance grants to full-time pupils and students, that sufficient teachers should educated, trained and provided, and that vocational training should be awarded equal respect to academic education, since the plumber is as useful and as necessary as the sanitation engineer.

Recognising the above, congress resolves that the party’s demands regarding education are:

1. The expulsion of all private interests in education, including the abolition of academies and their return to the state school system and the end of private provision of goods and services to educational institutions, with all staff brought in-house with realistic wages and full employment rights.

2. The abolition of private, religious and ethnically-divided schools.

3. The abolition of tuition fees in all institutions at all levels of education.

4. The provision of maintenance grants to cover living expenses of working-class students and their families, from creche and kindergarten through nursery, to school, undergraduate and higher-degree level.

5. Changes in the syllabuses and teaching methods should reflect the scientific, historical and artistic needs and interests of working-class people, including the teaching of materialist philosophy, science and working-class history and politics.