RUN OUR SHOOLS WELL AND TRAIN CADRES
July 9, 1954
Now that we are engaged in construction programme, cadres have become a decisive factor. The situation with regard to our cadres is: on the one hand, we do not have enough of them and, on the other, we are not making the best use of those we have. So, we should take full advantage of the cadres we have and at the same time train large numbers of personnel for the various fields of our construction programme. Leaders in many departments of the Government Administration Council are paying close attention to production and capital construction, which is the right thing to do, but they are not paying enough attention to the training of cadres, as can be seen from the little attention they have paid to the schools they run. They barely seem to realize that running schools well and training cadres are the fundamental of our construction programme. At present, some departments have staffs of several hundred thousand and dozens of schools, but instead of trying to run these schools well, they always pin their hopes on people transferred from other departments. They should mainly depend on cadres trained in their own schools. Our secondary technical schools generally are a failure, except a few that are truly well run. We must find a way to solve this problem. Administrative personnel in some departments fell they are highly valued if they are asked to take charge of production and feel they are being demoted if asked to run schools. This is an unhealthy tendency which represents the chief obstacle to successful management of schools and must be overcome.
School discipline must be unforced strictly. Discipline in schools in the Soviet Union is very rigorous. If our students there do not study hard, they are sent back. We should learn from the Soviet schools and set such strict demands on our students. Bad students should be expelled from school, a weapon that schools must wield and that they simply cannot do without. If a few of the ban students are expelled, the rest may learn a lesson and mend their ways. Some bad students may become good after they have been expelled. We have had similar cases in our Party. Some comrades let themselves weighed down by their past contributions and thought no one could do anything about their mistakes. Only after they were expelled from the Party did they become good comrades; some even rejoined the Party later. Of course, this weapon should not be overused. In fact, so long as schools are allowed such a weapon, the majority of students will be careful and few will need to be expelled. The question of school discipline has remained unsettled, remaining at the talking stage for many years. Now it is time we set to and strictly enforce discipline. I suggest that the Ministry of Higher Education and the Culture and Education Commission study the question of discipline in Beijing’s schools. They should select some typical cases, deal with a few of them and then publish an editorial in the newspapers criticizing their behavior so that both schools and students can learn to do better.
As for the material benefits of teachers, at present it would be very difficult to raise the salary of each and every one of them, but we should raise the salaries of truly capable professors, associate professors, senior engineers, senior doctors and senior specialists in other fields of endeavor. Such people cannot be numerous, perhaps numbering only about ten thousand in the country as a whole. In the past few years wages were raised a great deal on a nationwide basis, but there was a tendency towards egalitarianism in this action. For instance, wages of construction workers, earth-moving laborers and other ordinary workers were raised by a great margin, some by 100 to 200 per cent, while wages of capable professionals were raised very little. In future wage differentials should be widened, so that genuinely capable people who have contributed greatly to the country receive much higher pay than others. By the way, must the salary of a university president be higher than that of a wise professor? I do not think so. I remember that Chairman Mao once asked why on one in the country received higher than his own. We have asked people in charge of different trades and professors to make out name lists, so that we can raise salaries accordingly. This has remained on our lips for a long time and has never been carried out. It seems that some Party members are still clinging to the idea of egalitarianism, presenting an obstacle everywhere, so that leaders hating to invite trouble leave the matter unsolved. Here I should like to suggest that the Culture and Education Commission make a list of people under its own administration, selecting one or two hundred truly capable scientists who are not necessarily renowned but who have made outstanding contributions. It can also select one or two hundred university professors. At the same time it should lay down some rules and regulations for the selection, so that those who object many become convinced about the selection. Teachers in primary and secondary schools who work very hard and have made significant contributions should also have higher pay. We should not practice egalitarianism. I should like to ask our revered Comrade Guo162 to order a list of two hundred or so persons be drawn up, to solve these people’s problems first. Premier Zhou talked about the matter at previous meetings, but nothing was done. This time we have to insist on having it finished within a time limit, the way people hand in their examination papers; otherwise the persons concerned cannot be considered keen on the job.
(Excerpt from a speech delivered during a discussion of educational work at the 221st Government Affairs Meeting of the Government Administration Council.)