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The report explains the conditions that gave rise to the pedagogical courses as follows:
Pedagogical courses at the Kharkoff Agricultural School were established in the year 1896 for the purpose of giving instruction in special subjects and natural history to teachers of primary agricultural schools.
The rapid growth of these primary schools caused a demand for instructors having sufficient preparation to teach agricultural subjects in them. As there was no institution for the preparation of such teachers, the ministry of agriculture and imperial domains found it advisable to establish temporary courses of short duration for the purpose of preparing graduates of the secondary agricultural schools for the work of teachers. With this object in view, in 1894, the minister issued a circular to all the agricultural schools, proposing, in a tentative way, to establish pedagogical courses in connection with some of the secondary agricultural schools.
The pedagogic council of the Kharkoff Agricultural School, having considered the proposed plan from the technical as well as from the economical point of view, presented its opinion to the department of agriculture in October of the same year.
In January, 1895, the plan of organization of pedagogical courses had already been worked out and, together with other circumstances pertaining to the local conditions of the Kharkoff School, it was subjected to full deliberation. The director of the school was requested to present to the department of agriculture a statement regarding the foundations on which the courses would be based, as well as estimates of the initial and subsequent annual expenses that would be necessary for the establishment and maintenance of such courses. Directed by the instructions of the ministry and by the conclusions of the pedagogic council and having himself gathered much information pertaining to the subject, the director presented to the department in June, 1895, his project and estimates covering fully not only the organization of pedagogical courses, but also of a primary agricultural school in connection with the courses.
On December 20, 1895, the ministry accepted the project and issued a set of regulations for the proposed courses.
They were defined as “ Courses for the preparation of teachers for lower agricultural schools,” and were placed under the control of the ministry of agriculture and imperial domains. The duration of the courses was to be one year, the number of students was limited to 10, and the preparatory education required was covered by higher or secondary agricultural schools, including the additional year of practical employment on private farms. Persons who had had three years of actual teaching in one of the special subjects in primary agricultural schools were also accepted, without regard to their previous education.
The students were obliged to sign a pledge to serve at least three years as teachers after the completion of the courses, or to return the amount that the Government had spent for their education. The courses were managed by the director of the Kharkoff Agricultural School, aided by the pedagogic council, composed of the teachers of the courses and presided over by the director.
In accordance with these regulations the students are examined by a commission of teachers under the presidency of the director. The practical examination consists of two trial lessons, one on a subject selected by the student and another on a subject selected by the commission. Some of the students who have passed the examination may be assigned by the ministry to the best elementary agricultural schools for additional practical training.
The following subjects compose the curriculum of the pedagogical courses: (1) General pedagogy, didactics, and methods of teaching agricultural subjects and natural history in application to farming; (2) agriculture and animal industry in a wider scope; and (3) practical occupations. These practical occupations consist of: (a) Tutoring individual students of an agricultural school or any other special school selected for this purpose; (6) participation in practical occupations in agriculture and its branches; (c) experimental lessons 'on natural science and agriculture under the supervision of the teachers; (d) discussions following the lessons, participated in by all the students present, under the direction of the teacher; and (e) making collections of illustrative material. The students also make excursions to private farms and perform tasks in agricultural economies.
The courses were established in January, 1896, and were continued up to 1900 on a temporary basis. Their usefulness having been, demonstrated by actual experience and indorsed by numerous educational institutions, associations, and congresses, the ministry of agriculture and imperial domains decided to make them permanent. The minister submitted to the council of state (cabinet of ministers) his project for placing the curricula on a permanent basis. The council of state, by a resolution passed on November 27, 1900, adopted the proposal and provided for the maintenance of the courses already in existence at the Kharkoff Agricultural School to the amount of 5,800 rubles annually.
In the year 1912 an important reform was instituted in the pedagogical courses. Review courses in zoology, botany, mineralogy, chemistry, and physics were introduced; farm economy was included in the number of regular subjects; and the scope of the practical occupations was extended. For the purpose of giving the students better and more complete practical training there was also established, in connection with the courses, a primary agricultural school, in which all teaching and direction of practical tasks was to be done by the students.
The system of stipends was modified so that, instead of merely cash, the students received room and board and a smaller amount of money than formerly.
Owing to these important changes, the expenses of the courses were almost doubled, and accordingly the annual grant of the ministry was raised, starting with the year 1912, to 11,600 rubles.
BESSARABIAN SCHOOL OF VITICULTURE AND WINE
The Bessarabian School of Viticulture and Wine Making, though classed as a secondary agricultural school, has a distinct organization and a special purpose, and therefore is well worth a separate study. It has for its aim, as the name suggests, the preparation of specialists and managers for vineyards, wine factories, and wine cellars.
The school is located in Kishinev, in the Province of Bessarabia. It was established in 1894 and reorganized in 1911 in conformity with the act of 1904 on agricultural education. In January, 1910, the total number of its students was 46.
The course of instruction covers five years, the first year being devoted to general subjects and the remaining four to special subjects pertaining to fruit farming and viticulture. The following sub.. jects are taught: Religion; physics and meteorology; natural history; geodesy and drawing; chemistry; science of soils; knowledge of machines and implements used in horticulture, viticulture, and wine : making; fruit farming; viticulture; wine making and manufacture of by-products; wine-cellar keeping; organization of vine and fruit farming; bookkeeping; and law.
The preparation required of new students corresponds to the course of “two-class” county schools or other schools of similar scope, including the primary agricultural schools. The high age limit for applicants for the first grade is 20 years for those subject to military duty, but for those exempt from military service there is no age limit. The minimum age limit is 16 years. Graduation takes place in the month of August, and new students are enrolled at the same time.
The tuition fee is fixed at 20 rubles annually. Boarding students pay 200 rubles annually. Fifteen scholarships are offered by the school, of which 10 are provided by the Government and 5 have been founded by the zemstvo.
The graduates of the Bessarabian School receive certificates upon completion of studies. To obtain the degree of viticulturist they are required to pass through three years of practice in vineyards or in wine-producing plants, and at the end of this term they must submit a certificate and a report of their occupations. Those receiving the degree of viticulturist acquire also the rights of personal honorary citizenship. Practice for a period of 10 years conveys the rights of hereditary honorary citizenship.
The holders of the degree of viticulturist may occupy Government positions as teachers of viticulture and wine making in primary schools of this kind, as practical instructors in viticulture, as wine experts, cellar managers, etc.
1 From the “ Collection of data on agricultural education," 16th issue.
The school is provided with laboratories, a museum, a wine cellar, vineyards, a fruit orchard, an experimental farm, and two libraries. Its territory covers 73 acres, divided into plots, as follows: Buildings, 13 acres; park, 8 acres; vineyard, 37 acres; fruit orchard, 8 acres; truck garden, 1.3 acres; tree school, 0.7 acre; and waste land, 5 acres. The value of the school property was estimated in 1911 at 327,122 rubles, including the land, which was valued at 13,002 rubles.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGHER AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION.
Graduates of secondary agricultural schools may continue their education in higher agricultural schools, where they are accepted without examination. Whenever, owing to an unusual influx of candidates, there is an entrance examination, the graduates of agricultural schools are given preference over the graduates of other secondary schools.
Graduates of the Viticultural School are given an opportunity to continue studies in their special branch by entering the higher viticultural courses in Yalta, Crimea.
The agricultural education act of 1904 gives the agricultural students certain privileges relating to military service. They are permitted to continue their studies after they have passed the age of conscription, which is 21 years, until the completion of the school program, but not after 24 years of age.
RECENT OPINIONS REGARDING AGRICULTURAL SCHOOLS.
Complaint has been made in Russia that the agricultural school has failed to accomplish its original purpose—to educate the peasant class in progressive methods of farming. It has been charged that the schools are filled mostly with the children of nonagricultural classes, and that, instead of applying the knowledge acquired in improving native farming, these students, or at least a majority of them, later engage in other pursuits in no way connected with agriculture.. Hence some doubt has been aroused regarding the advisability of burdening the State and local communities any longer with heavy expenditures for agricultural education for children who would receive as much benefit from general schools and at less expense.
Similar complaints were heard in other European countries, as well as in the United States, during the experimental stage of this movement. They reached an acute stage in Russia in 1908, when certain statesmen and educators went so far as to advise that the schools be closed unless some way of improving conditions was found. As a consequence of this agitation D. M. Bodisko was delegated by the ministry of agriculture and imperial domains to investigate the ag
ricultural schools. After his tour of investigation he submitted a report, in which he said : 1
It is evident that there are deficiencies in the management of agricultural schools. The common people the peasants-do not go to school, consequently the institutions of learning are filled by half-educated persons, who swarm in to take advantage of free tuition and to receive diplomas.
Formerly these students filled, to some extent, positions on large estates. But at the present time, when the large estates are on the verge of extinction, the graduates of agricultural schools try to engage in other occupations that have nothing in common with agriculture.
Even the primary agricultural schools were, in the opinion of Mr. Bodisko, far from successful in peasant education. The most important obstacle with which these schools had to cope was the custom of the peasants to use their children for farm work in the summer. Naturally, this prevented their attendance at school during the most useful period.
Notwithstanding these conditions, this expert investigator declared:
The State can not do without good agricultural schools and without practical teaching of agriculture. Such schools will, for a long time, be insufficient to meet the needs of the peasant class and the quotas of students will be composed of various nonagricultural classes. While it is true that these students will never work their own farms, still, in one way or another, they will disseminate agricultural science among the people.
More recent discussions and reports show that doubts of the actual value of agricultural schools were more in the nature of transient disappointment than of serious dissatisfaction. The view of Mr. Bodisko that these schools, notwithstanding their defects, will for a long time to come “ disseminate agricultural science among the people in one way or another" has been shared by the Russian authorities in charge of the work. This is indicated by the fact that the number of agricultural schools increased from 213 at the time of the investigation to 281 in 1912.
[All publications enumerated below are in the Russian language. Their titles are given in English translation for the convenience of the reader. The titles marked with an asterisk (*) are of books included in the Library of Congress collection. Those without any mark are in the Library of the Bureau of Education.)
Agricultural School of Kazan. Report, 1900. Kazan, 1901. 139 p. 8°. Agricultural School of Moscow. Report for the school year 1908-9. Moscow,
1910. 35 p. 8°. (Accompanied by statistical tables, 51 p.) An extract from the report upon the condition and activities of educational
institutions of Gorki. 1907. Gorki, n. d. 145 p. 8°.
1 Collection of data on agricultural education, 11th issue,