Subtitle Gender, Policy, and Practice in Postwar Soviet Education
Publisher Northern Illinois University Press
EAN/ISBN 978-0875804347
Release Date 2010-11-01
Author(s) E. Thomas Ewing
Summary Starting in 1943, millions of children were separated into boys’ and girls’ schools in cities across the Soviet Union. This policy sought to reinforce gender roles in a wartime context, so that boys were prepared to be soldiers and girls to be mothers, and it marked a deliberate effort to strengthen discipline and order by separating boys and girls into different classrooms. The policy was a failure. The practices of separate schools allowed for the further deterioration of discipline in boys’ schools while provoking pupils, teachers, and school directors to warn against lowered academic expectations in girls’ schools. The restoration of coeducation in 1954 demonstrated the power of public opinion, even in a dictatorship, to influence school policies. Ewing makes a unique contribution to the field by examining a large-scale experiment across the full cycle of deliberating, advocating, implementing, experiencing, criticizing, and finally repudiating separate schools. Analyzing the experiences of pupils in classrooms, the policy objectives of communist leaders, and the growing opposition to separate schools among teachers and parents, Ewing provides new insights into the last decade of Stalin’s dictatorship. Based on extensive archival research, this important work demonstrates the real limitations and likely distortions that result from a policy of separate schools for boys and girls. Ewing’s study shows how a school system that had previously embraced coeducation was transformed by the imposition of separate schooling. Separate Schools will appeal to both historians of Russia and those interested in comparative education and educational history, as well as specialists in gender studies.