THE EXTENT, the style and the content of education are essential elements in building socialism. Access to education is an important factor in breaking down class privilege. General literacy and the foundations of scientific knowledge build up productive efficiency, and the relations of pupils with their teachers mould their relations with society.
In the People's Republic of China over 27 years, an enormous effort has gone into providing institutions for formal education, from nursery schools to universities and research institutes as well as into stimulating self-education at all levels, and there have been continuous debates and experiments (still proceeding) concerned with all aspects of education.
Some experiments in the type of education needed for socialism were made in the old liberated areas, but when the whole of China had to be organized after 1969, the old teachers had to be used and new ones hastily trained. There was a great contrast, which continues till today, between the Yenan style and traditional foimalitv.
Jack Belden. who visited liberated areas during the rivil war, reported a conversation with a director of education:
Education is not a way of life in itself: it is only an instrument. Since anyone can use this instrument, it has a class nature. In Chiang