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27 November 2022

Interpretation of the `On Reducing the Size of the Student Body in Gymnasiums and Progymnasiums and Changing the Composition Thereof` Report in the Kharkov Educational District

European Journal of Contemporary Education
Interpretation of the `On Reducing the Size of the Student Body in Gymnasiums and Progymnasiums and Changing the Composition Thereof` Report in the Kharkov Educational District

This paper features an analysis of a set of documents produced in the Kharkov Educational District to enable pedagogues to interpret correctly the ‘On Reducing the Size of the Student Body in Gymnasiums and Progymnasiums and Changing the Composition Thereof’ report, more commonly known as “The Kitchen Staff Children Circulaire”. It is shown that the initial version of the document not only did not contain any specific measures to introduce the estate principle into education but also reflected the will of Alexander III, who regarded the introduction of tough estate restrictions for gymnasium students as inopportune and inconvenient. Yet the Trustee of the Kharkov Educational District, N.P. Vorontsov-Vel’yaminov, set a greater store by the mere wishes of the Minister of Public Education, I.D. Delyanov — the hope that administering control over the conditions in which gymnasium students were taught at home would make it possible to gradually free gymnasiums of children from the lower estates. N.P. Vorontsov-Vel’yaminov issued a special document intended to expound, and, in actual fact, to adjust, the ministerial circulaire and directed expressly that enrollment preference be given to gymnasium entrants of noble descent, while no children from the lower estates be admitted unless a special scholarship was available for them. Interestingly, in doing so N.P. Vorontsov-Vel’yaminov claimed that the new ministerial circulaire contained nothing particularly new and based the restrictions not on that document but on an 1870 legislation, which he interpreted in a biased manner. Thus, the estate restrictions introduced under Alexander III in Russian gymnasiums were engendered not so much by the ‘On Reducing the Size of the Student Body in Gymnasiums and Progymnasiums and Changing the Composition Thereof’ report but by the administrative zeal of officials who set a greater store by the personal opinion of the Minister expressed in that report than by the formally recommended measures included therein.

Source: Artyom Yu. Peretyatko, Vladimir A. Svechnikov (2022). Interpretation of the ‘On Reducing the Size of the Student Body in Gymnasiums and Progymnasiums and Changing the Composition Thereof’ Report in the Kharkov Educational District. European Journal of Contemporary Education. 11(1): 286-298

Source web-site: https://ejce.cherkasgu.press/journals_n/1648759253.pdf

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