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Soviet Plan to Overhaul Schools Told : Reforms to Include Smaller Role for Central Bureaucracy

February 17, 1988|Associated Press

MOSCOW — The rigid Soviet bureaucracy must loosen its grip on schools and provide better training in computers and other technology to ensure the survival of the country under Mikhail S. Gorbachev's reforms, a top official said today.

Yegor K. Ligachev, generally regarded as the No. 2 Communist Party official, outlined plans for the overhaul in a two-hour speech to the party's policy-making Central Committee.

Ligachev said the reforms will include increased distribution of computers and decentralization of decision-making in education, which he said is now done by ministries using "bureaucratic methods, in a conservative spirit."

"True socialism . . . has nothing to do with standardizing the forms and methods of work, with uniformity of ideas, behavioral patterns and actions," said Ligachev, a 67-year-old member of the ruling Politburo who is in charge of Kremlin ideology. "More socialism means more diversity."

Leadership Changes

Tass press agency published the text of his speech in Russian.

In addition to directing an overhaul of secondary and higher education, the plenary meeting of the Central Committee may make leadership changes in the Politburo.

Tass did not mention any personnel changes but said the session will continue Thursday. It said Gorbachev opened today's proceedings but it did not provide any details of what he said.

Ligachev said the stakes in the debate on education are high.

'Fate of Socialism Itself'

"The general educational and professional preparation of this generation, the world outlook and moral values it will acquire--on this, to a large extent, depend . . . the future of the country and the fate of socialism itself," he said.

Ligachev said that the limited reforms already adopted have been inadequate and that fundamental changes are needed.

Among the improvements he outlined were requirements that schools provide secondary education to everyone and that students not be pulled out of regular classes too early to receive vocational training.

At the same time, he said, vocational training will be strengthened and "oriented for tomorrow," for the new skills demanded by technology.

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