Extramural education

Extramural education. Cultural and educational work among adults and young people that is carried on outside the school system by private, civic, or government organizations. In the second half of the 19th century, in central and eastern Ukraine this type of work was limited to adult education, particularly for the peasantry and workers, and was conducted by individuals or by civic groups at Sunday schools and later at the zemstvo schools, at public libraries and reading rooms, and through public readings, literacy societies, Ukrainian clubs, and Prosvita societies (in 1906–12 and during Ukrainian independence in 1917–20). In Western Ukraine extramural education was conducted by civic organizations: Halytsko-Ruska Matytsia, Prosvita, the Kachkovsky Society, Skala, and others in Galicia; Ruska Besida in Bukovyna; the Society of Saint Basil the Great, the Dukhnovych Society, and Prosvita in Transcarpathia; Prosvita in Volhynia; and Ridna Khata in the Kholm region and Podlachia. Women's organizations, student groups, and youth organizations also were active in this field. In spite of administrative restrictions on the expansion of extramural education in central and eastern Ukraine, which were under Russian rule, Ukrainian civic organizations and educators who worked in this field were able to exert some influence on the content and method of instruction.

In central and eastern Ukraine, after a brief period of development during Ukrainian struggle for independence (1917–20) (resulting in the opening of 3,142 libraries, 4,322 local Prosvita societies and people's homes, and 5,620 reading rooms and village centers by June 1921), the Soviet authorities introduced a government and Party-controlled system of extramural education. The program was prepared by the Communist Party and was restricted almost completely to political education. Even the elimination of illiteracy campaign, which was begun in 1921 under the motto ‘Away with illiteracy,’ was carried out with the purpose of re-educating the masses. Communist methods of agitation and propaganda were used in extramural education to achieve Communist goals. After the abolition of the Prosvita societies and people's homes, extramural education was conducted at clubs and palaces and houses of culture in the cities; at clubs, village centers, and reading houses in the rural areas; in recreation halls and at reading rooms known as red corners at industrial enterprises and on collective farms and state farms. In 1979 there were 26,049 club-type institutions in the Ukrainian SSR, of which 20,655 were under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, 2,010 belonged to collective farms, and 3,384 to union organizations. The cinema, theater, and especially radio and television, as well as museums and public libraries (26,097 in 1982), were also important instruments of extramural education. In 1947 the Society for the Dissemination of Political and Scientific Knowledge, which in 1963 was renamed the Znannia Society of the Ukrainian SSR, became the principal institution of extramural education. It was a voluntary organization and was subject to the directives of the Communist Party. In 1979 the association employed 684,700 lecturer-propagandists.

Various institutions under the direction of the Communist Youth League of Ukraine provided a Communist upbringing and supervised recreation for children and adolescents—Pioneer palaces and houses, clubs, stations of young technicians, stations of young naturalists, excursion bases, summer camps, and so on. Extracurricular activities for children and youth were conducted at young people's libraries, young spectator's theaters, sports schools, and so on. Some adult institutions also had special sections for children and adolescents.

Outside Ukraine extramural education for Ukrainians was provided in Poland by the Ukrainian Social and Cultural Society, in the Prešov region of Slovakia by the Cultural Association of Ukrainian Workers, and in Yugoslavia by the Prosvita society until 1940 and later by other cultural and educational associations. In other countries with organized Ukrainian communities, extramural education is provided by Prosvita societies, women's associations, and youth and other cultural and educational organizations.

Ivan Bakalo

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]




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