Education Reform in the Western Provinces

People’s Commissar of Education of the Western Provinces and Front, Orders to District Schools. March 10, 1918

The following orders are selected from a group of six educational documents published at Petrograd, March 10, 1918. The omitted orders, Nos. 3-5, relate to the budget for 1919 and to routine matters. The private libraries mentioned in No. 2 apparently include only private circulating libraries.

No. 1

To all primary and secondary educational institutions of the western provinces propose to the administration of all the above-mentioned educational institutions, from the date of the publication of this order, not to discharge students for non-payment of dues. As to those who have already been discharged before this order was published, they must immediately be reinstated.

I propose to all departments of public education in local Soviets of Workmen’s, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies, to attend strictly to the carrying out of my order. The question of the legal position of students who have not paid their school dues will be explained in the near future.

No special notification will be given to each educational institution, and the present order becomes the law of the land from the date of its publication in the newspaper SOVETSKAIA PRAVDA .

No. 2

Having in mind to afford to the large popular masses access to books, the Commissariat on Public Education will shortly proceed to regulate the library business and its reorganization on new principles. In view of this the Commissar directs that:

I. All libraries found within the boundaries of the western provinces and front, and belonging to municipalities, public institutions, or organizations of various sorts, or to private persons, are taken over for the benefit of public educational institutions in local Soviets of Workmen’s, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies, and, in the city of Smolensk, by the local section of public education of the provincial Commissariat.

II. All institutions, organizations, and private persons possessing libraries in the city of Smolensk must, within five days following the date of the publication of this order in the newspaper Sovetskaia Pravda, present to the Commissariat on Public Education exact information concerning:

  1. the location of the libraries belonging to them;
  2. the number of volumes found in the libraries;
  3. the contents of the libraries (complete catalogues of the books must be presented; and in case such do not exist, then general information concerning the character of the books collected);
  4. the periodical publications subscribed to by the libraries;
  5. the number of subscribers.
  6. the rules adopted for the use of these books;

Note. This order does not affect persons who have libraries consisting of less than 500 volumes, if these libraries are not intended for public readers.

III. In case reading-rooms are found at those libraries, it is necessary to indicate:

  1. the list of periodical publications found in the reading room;
  2. statistical data, if such are at hand, regarding the reading-room visitors.

IV. Institutions, organizations, and private persons possessing libraries outside the boundaries of the city of Smolensk and of the Government of Smolensk must present the information indicated above, within a week from the date of the publication of this order, in the proper section of local Soviets of Workmen’s, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies. The latter, upon receipt of the data, must furnish copies of the same to the Commissar of Public Education of the Western Provinces and Front.

V. Those who fail to comply with this order will be turned over to the military revolutionary tribunal.

No. 6

It is the duty of all owners of moving-picture houses in the city of Smolensk, from the date of the publication of this order in the newspaper Sovetskaia Pravda, to present for approval to the provincial Commissariat on Public Education the programs and librettos of the pictures proposed to be exhibited by them.

It is forbidden to show pictures not approved by the Commissariat.

In those cases in which the Commissariat shall find it necessary the pictures, before being shown to the public, must be shown for examination to persons specially designated by the Commissariat.

Moving-picture enterprises not complying with this order will be at once confiscated.

Source: International Conciliation (1919), pp. 51-53.

Comments are closed.