The Soviet system of education, as presented in a report released Sunday by the U. S. Office of Education, looks good on paper, but it has many defects in practice, a Hungarian student asserted here yesterday.
The Hungarian, who must remain anonymous to protect his relatives still in Hungary, is a graduate of the University of Budapest. He is now studying in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
"I am afraid the report in the New York Times gives the impression that the Soviet system is better than yours," he said. "You must have personal experience, as I have, to see that it is not true."
He agreed that the Soviet system has advantages. But he has seen the important defects in education in Hungary, where a copy of the Soviet system was imposed. The Communist system, the student asserted, had lower standards than the schools that existed in the satellite countries before they turned Communist.
Lack of freedom is a major defect in Communist education, he asserted. Teachers cannot teach what they believe, but must adhere to the ever-changing party line. Every year texts are changed to conform to the new party line. The result, the Hungarian said, is that the student is only confused.
The study of science suffers, he said, because teachers are forbidden to read any Western scientific journals.
Longer Hours in Russia
The report asserted that the Soviet student works longer hours and has a longer school year than his American counterpart. But, the Hungarian felt, they are not better scientists at the end. He held that the American student has an equal basic understanding of his subject.
"School teachers and professors are the elite of Soviet society," according to the report. But the Hungarian did not agree. "The great professors in the universities, yes," he said, "but not the ordinary high school teacher." He said that in Hungary, for example, a teacher's salary is even lower than a worker's.
A serious defect in the Communist countries, the student said, is the selection of university students according to social class. Approximately 60 per cent are taken from the working classes, and about 30 per cent are peasants. This makes it extremely difficult for members of the "intelligentsia," or of other social groups to get into the remaining 10 per cent. The country, he said, is arbitrarily robbed of its talent.