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Marxism (1818-1883): Concept, Aims of Education and
Curriculum
Concept of Marxism:
Marxist ideas about man and matter are generally known as Marxism.
Marxism constitutes a general view about the world and the human society.

Marxism developed as a protest against the idealist conception of man and
the world as represented by Hegel (1770-1831).

Hegel represented Dialectical Idealism. Marx was influenced by Hegelian
dialectics, French socialism and English economics. But Marxism is a
fundamental and total philosophy of life. Marxism is, on the one hand, a social
and political theory and, on the other, it is a scientific plan for complete social
change and revolution.

From Russian Revolution (1918) to Chinese (1949) and, subsequently, in East
Europe and Cuba, Marxism has brought tremendous changes in human
thought and action throughout the globe. However, since the fall of U.S.S.R.
(1989), and waning of communism in China (since the 1980s) Marxism has
lost much of its vitality.

Hegel is an idealist philosopher. According to Hegelian concept all realities are
nothing but manifestations of one single, unchangeable and absolute reality. It
is a spiritual concept of reality. To Hegel, human history of civilization is
nothing but the unfoldment of the ‘Will’ of the Absolute.

But Marxian idea of history is altogether different. Marx attaches importance to
Matter and not Idea or Spirit. Marx aimed to end spirituality. Hegel started
from spirituality and ended in matter; Marx interpreted human history from
reality (matter) to spirituality. Hegel started quite opposite to that idea. Hegel
interpreted history from spirituality to reality.

According to Marx:
“History is the product of material existence” whereas, according to Hegel,
“History is the product of spiritual existence”. The Marxian conception of
history is called Historical Materialism. Both Hegel and Marx have applied
dialectical concept of development.

a new matter or idea comes into existence (synthesis) — unity of opposites and. Hegel started. i. the struggle starts. All elements of this material world are intimately related or connected. Hegelian interpretation is known as Dialectic Spiritualism. Man establishes connection among these elements with the help of idea or imagination. ‘It is impossible to separate matter that thinks. said Engels. That is why it is said ‘Marxism is Hegelianism turned upside down’. These thesis and anti-thesis are nothing but positive and negative aspects of the same matter or idea. Dialectic Materialism simply means that this real world is the only true reality. According to Marx this concrete (real) world is the product of ‘Matter’ through the Dialectic Method. Marx said. The history or the civilization changes or evolves due to this continuous struggle.But in their interpretations of history they stand in two opposite poles. again. Mind is the specific quality of the specifically organized matter. Both of them recognize the existence of contradictions (thesis and antithesis) in the fields of ‘matter’ and ‘spirit’. Physical existence is the only true existence. Marxian interpretation is commonly known as Dialectic Materialism. There can be no existence of mind without body. this concrete world is the product of ‘Abstract Idea’ through the Dialectic Method.e. Beyond this there is no existence of spirit or idea. There is constant struggle between these two opposites. . Marx and Modern Socialism: Marx was the founder of modern ‘Scientific Socialism’ as against Utopian Socialism. Idea comes from matter. According to Hegel. As a result. has been aptly described as the ‘birth-cry of modern socialism’. which appeared in 1848. Where Marx ended. His Communist Manifesto. With me the Idea is nothing else than the material reflected by the human mind and translated into forms of thought’. Material world and ideal world are intimately connected and the latter is the product of the former.. ‘To Hegel the real world is the external phenomenal form of the Idea. Marx for the first time analyzed correctly the forces and impulses which govern human nature and mold its environment. brain’. It was Karl Marx who gave socialism a philosophy and a new direction and a dynamic force.

and it is in their interest to fashion the laws and institutions as to perpetuate their social and political prominence. There had been struggles between freeman and slave. and from it he draws the conclusions that all history is but a record of class struggles. The Das Capital became. Those who control the means of production dominate the society. and prophesies a social revolution leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat. were published by his friend and collaborator. cannot be the product of intellectual ingenuity. the haves and the have-nots. it is the inevitable product of certain forces and tendencies which are irresistible in their operation. It heralded a revolution in the realm of ideas and became the gospel of a new faith. Economic Interpretation of History and Class Struggle: Marx gave an economic interpretation of history. . After his death in 1883 two other volumes. The future is determined by the past. The future state. Friedrich Engels (1820-1895). and has since remained.In it he traces the evolution of history as the inevitable result of the economic changes brought about by the changed method of the material production of wealth. the Bible of the socialists all the world over. however great. History is a record of class struggles. he declares. however gifted. The business of social philosophy is to discover these forces and not to prescribe panaceas. In his view the fundamental impulse of human life is economic and he holds that the course of history has always been determined by economic factors. Thus arises the division of the society into those who control and those who are controlled. Marx points out that the present society has been evolved gradually out of many class struggles in the past. based upon manuscripts left by him. Marx brushed aside all the earlier socialistic theories as vague and unscientific. The first volume of his monumental work Das Capital (The Capital) appeared in 1867. or the device of a reformer. History is simply the record of how one class has gained wealth and political power only to be overthrown and succeeded by another class. It is from this division of society into two antagonistic sections that class struggle arises. because they ignored the operation of certain immutable laws which determine the course of history. between the landed aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. between lord and serf.

the proletarians. They have a world to win. the middle-class capitalists. who are being mercilessly exploited by the capitalists. thus. Hence these two classes are set in mutual hostility with the result that a severe conflict between the two is inevitable. The only logical outcome of this state of things is revolution in which the many will dispossess the few. Marx appeals to workers of all countries. inevitable. and inaugurate the communist state. all wealth is the product of labor. and the surplus above what he actually receives is the source of the capitalist’s income. He holds that laborers of one country have far more in common with the laborers of other countries than they have with the capitalists of their own. To promote this united interest of the laborers Marx . The social revolution which will bring about the fall of capitalism is. The proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains. Hence workmen have the right to the whole produce of labor. Marx is of opinion that capitalism is digging its own grave. Attack upon Capitalism and the theory of Surplus Value: Economic interpretation of history and class struggle are the two main principles of Marxism. In his Communist Manifesto.The Industrial Revolution has destroyed the power and political influence of the old aristocracy and magnified those of the bourgeoisie. Its inevitable tendency is the progressive concentration of wealth in the hands of increasingly fewer men.’ Lastly. International Character of Marxism: Another feature of Marxism is its international character. and labor is the only measure of value. the big capitalists swallowing up the little ones. The result of this tendency would be to expand the number of the proletariat. But it has also created a class of wretched wage-earners. According to it. This would be the last and final struggle leading to a terrible revolution which would establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in a classless society. so that society would come to be composed of only two classes — sharply differentiated by increasing wealth and increasing misery. Working men of all countries unite’. Marx next directed his attack upon capital through the economic theory of surplus value. Marx makes a strong appeal to the people in these ringing words: ‘Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. ‘The workman has to work longer and harder than the wages he receives warrants.

Education is considered as the greatest instrument of social change. (c) Patriotism is not an important Marxist value. Aims of Education in Marxism: Marxist education will lay stress on indoctrination of ideas and practices. . dominate in the Marxist state. emphasis is laid on vocational and technological education. (h) Marxism attaches highest importance to the value of labor. Marxism lays stress on providing education to all sections of the society. In Marxist state. The students must learn the fundamental principles of science. (g) Discipline in public life is another important value in Marxist philosophy. i. (e) Common good occupies an important position in Marxism. The state is to be strengthened through the creation of a classless society. (d) To develop respect for parents. All educands must know clearly the true character of social development.e. Marxist education aims at maximum good to the maximum number. Values in Marxism: A Marxist is dedicated to the welfare of the state and the people. education aims at creating Marxist attitude and values. elderly people and all classes of laborers. History and economics should be taught in proper perspective. The proletariat will. Social advancement is to be ensured through education. Equalization of educational opportunity is the Marxist educational goal. in Marxism. He is guided by certain values which may be briefly stated: (a) To develop a respect for public property. Only intellectual education cannot achieve this goal. (b) To develop a respect for authority. Hence. no doubt. But education will not be limited to a handful of people.took a leading part in organizing ‘The International Working Men’s Association’.. (f) In Marxist state there is no existence of private property. universal education.

No discrimination is to be made among schools. productive and faithful citizenship. Educational Objectives in Marxism: 1. Education of the child depends to a great extent on the education of the mother. Marxism advocates secular education in schools. and further aims at indoctrination in communist and socialist values. Coeducation is an accepted principle in Marxism. (b) Physical Development.In Marxist education ‘labor and work’ are considered as integral parts. Education is to be given to all sections of the society irrespective of caste. Education will be universal and compulsory. Common education is to be provided to both men and women. But labor is the basis and source of all cultural advancement. So Marxist education aims at women’s education too. According to Lenin. Marxist education aims at creating creative. A workman cannot work properly unless he possesses a sound health. 3. That is why. It also aims at cultural and aesthetic development. No discrimination will be made in respect of educational opportunities. 5. Development of the child mind is the ultimate aim. in Marxist education. Establishment of common school system is the cherished goal of Marxism. labor occupies an important place. In Marxist education the philosophic child is given the central position. Marx says: ‘Education means to us three things: (a) Intellectual Development. education is an integral part of culture and culture and education both are shaped by socioeconomic conditions. sex social and economic status. Communist Manifesto declares free. universal. 2. . creed. Hence physical education is considered as an important aim in Marxist education. 4. elementary education for all. (c) Polytechnised Education which will give knowledge relative to the General Sciences and principles of all productive processes’.

But at the secondary level the curriculum should include foreign language. The students should be made conscious about class division.6. Curriculum in Marxism: Marxist curriculum is based on Marxist educational aims. 4. Those subjects are included in the curriculums which tend to develop skill instead of abstract knowledge. Marxist philosophy and doctrines will be taught at all levels of education on compulsory basis. geography. The curriculum includes the socially useful subjects such as science. painting. Marxism lays stress on respect for labor and. music. Private agency is banned in Marxist educational administration. 6. 3. geology. 2. Marxist education is based on the principle of learning by doing. The following are the special features of Marxist Curriculum: 1. In Marxist system of education there will be only one agency — the state. as such. These include physical exercise. objectives and values set forth earlier. 2. mathematics. astronomy etc. Students should work both in the agricultural farms and factories. Methodology of Teaching in Marxism: 1. unequal distribution of wealth. life science. Education should not be confined within the four walls of the school. Creative work and co-curricular activities have been given an important place in Marxist curriculum. games and sports etc. Emphasis is laid on practical aspect of education instead of theoretical aspect. only the mother-tongue should be taught. 5. The natural environment and the community at large will also serve as great books and teachers. 3. work-experience is regarded as an integral part of education. etc. exploitation of the working class by the capitalist class. . The history of communist movement and political economy should also be included in the curriculum. At the primary level.

4. A Marxist teacher must entirely be different in attitude and temperament from a bourgeois teacher. It emphasizes group activity instead of individual activity. . socialistic bent of mind and true patriotism. Marxist education emphasizes learning through personal experience of the child. He must be an active member of the Marxist social order. He must be fully equipped not only with the content of education but also the Marxist methodology of teaching as well as Marxist aims of education. He should not have only mastery on the content of education but also have consciousness about life. Both in thought and action he must be a true Marxist. a best Marxist worker can only be a best Marxist teacher. respect for cultural heritage. He should possess sound health. deep practical sense. Marxist education intends to promote cooperative spirit instead of competitive spirit among students. social environment and communist ideology. Role of Teacher in Marxist Education: The role of the teacher is significant and crucial in Marxist education. According to Lenin. 5. His philosophy of teaching will be the Marxist philosophy.