This is my personal thoughts, opinions and musings place. I will also rant about things, especially politically-correct things that irritate me. And sci-fi. Did I mention sci-fi? There'll be lots of sci-fi stuff here. And movies, too. Mmmmm... Movies

Friday, June 24, 2005

USSR: The life and times of a diploma and ulcer aspirant

One of the interesting aspects of in the was how intense it was. Nobody ever worried about the children's or their . Nobody got a high mark merely because they deserved it or tried really hard, you had to earn it. You were expected to keep a notepad in pen, not pencil, and there was no . Mistakes weren't allowed, and they would check your notepads to ensure you didn't cross anything out with your pen. If your hand-writing wasn't up to par, as my often wasn't, they made you rewrite your notepad, in addition to all your other .

There were also no multiple-guess quizes, no open-book tests and several exams were actually one-on-one with the teacher and principal and done orally. These are math tests I'm talking about here. In my school, was considered a more important language than , and so we learned English and for two years before we even got to Russian. We learnt proper grammar and spelling, enabling me to communicate relatively effectively when we moved to . Of course, there was still much to learn about Enligh, but at least the base was there.

During recess we were supposed to go outside and play, but not too much, though we never actually knew what was too much and what wasn't. Things were expected of us, and of our parents, that we dared not fail to produce. The stress was often too much for many of the kids, and I had problems with it, too. With my 3 years of schooling in the USSR I was deemed equivalent to 7 years in Canada and so started immediately in Grade 8.

Now, what has all this education produced? Absolutely nothing. Without personal initiative and the cultural support thereof, all these years of schooling are basically wasted. And without an infrastructure to support even what was being accomplished, the education basically went into figuring out the least dangerous way of making additional money at the government stockpile's expense. That's a lead-in to an upcoming post on apartment renovations USSR style. Sure, you could work for the military, but not everybody wanted or was able to do so.

So, the USSR was basically a culture that pressured everyone to study as hard as they possibly could, but wouldn't allow them to truly take advantage of it. This is was one of their greatest weaknesses.

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