Primary School In Pre-Revolutionary Chechnya (2nd Half Of 19th – Early 20th Centuries)

Abstract

The organizational formation of the system of primary and secondary education in Chechnya took place in the 2nd half of the 19th – early 20th century. During the establishment of the Russian administration in the region, secular primary schools were opened to introduce the local population to the Russian language and culture. In addition to secular schools, existing religious schools at different levels continued to function. It should be noted that in the post-reform Russia, primary educational institutions were called specialized or zemstvo schools. There were single-grade schools with a term of study of 3–4 years and schools consisting of two grades with a term of 5–6 years. The primary school in the region was represented by various types, including the Grozny Mountain School; public folk schools financed by the population; village schools for the Cossack population financed from village budgets; folk specialized schools for Chechens; higher primary schools. In terms of the composition of educational subjects and the course of teaching, the Mountain School was similar to primary folk schools. Ministerial folk schools for Chechens began to open in the last decade of the 19th century. The 1860s of the 19th century refers to the appearance of village schools in Chechnya, which were created for the Cossack population. Since the end of the 19th century, higher primary schools appear in Chechnya.

Keywords: Mountain school, public school, village school, Chechnya

Introduction

Education played a significant role in shaping the peculiarities of the spiritual development of the Chechen people. After the Caucasian War, Chechens joined Russia. With the establishment of the Russian administration, school education was established in Chechnya. At the same time, the bourgeois reforms were carried out during this period in Russia, including in the field of primary and secondary education. For obvious reasons the validity of the 1864 Regulations could not be extended to the mountain regions. However, the tsarist administration, guided by the interests of colonial policy, was forced to take some measures aimed at creating at least a small layer of literate people among the mountain population. The limited measures taken in this direction are evidenced by the materials of the household lists of 1886 and the first All-Russian population census of 1897.

The 1886 household lists contain abundant material on the literacy among Chechens. Data from the household lists are given in the work of Gontareva (1965a).

Besides, the study of Gelaeva (2013) presents information on the number of Russian and Arab schools in some Nadterechny villages based on the materials of the 1886household lists. Thus, in Nizhny Naur there were 4 Russian schools, 4 – Arab; in Upper Naur – respectively 5 and 4; in Chulik yurt – 10 and 3; in Ken yurt – 1 and 1; in Nogai-mirza-yurt – 1 and 10; in Beno-yurt – 1 and 1. As seen, there was a rather significant number of Russian and Arab schools in the villages of Nadterechnaya Chechnya.

According to the 1897 All-Russian Population Census, the percentage of Chechens and Ingush who know Russian reading and writing is 0.3 and is the lowest among all peoples of the North Caucasus. A relatively high number of Chechens and Ingush who are able to read and write in other languages – 1.9 (Aristova, 1968). Here we refer to people that know Arabic reading and writing.

Problem Statement

There are some publications in Soviet and modern Russian historiography that study the state of primary and secondary education in pre-revolutionary Russia –Ganelin (1947), Smirnov (1954), Konstantinov and Struminsky (1953), Osokov (1974, 1982), Flit (1991), Shevchenko (2003), Zubkov (2013). A number of works were published on the study of pre-revolutionary regional school education by Khugistova (2015), Sozaev (2009), Kokaeva (2010). The studied problem became the subject of special research only in the works of Gontareva (1965a, 1965b). The problem was reflected in some articles by modern authors (Arsanukaeva, 2013; Khasbulatov, 2006; Matagova, 2015). Today, there is no generalizing work on the history of the formation and development of primary and secondary education in pre-revolutionary Chechnya, which determines the relevance of the study in the conditions of reforms of all parts of the educational system in modern Russia.

Research Questions

The subject of the study is the school education system in Chechnya in the second half of the 19th - early 20th centuries.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to analyze primary education in pre-revolutionary Chechnya, to characterize the features of formation and development of school education, types of schools.

Research Methods

The methodological basis included the principles of objectivity, scientificity and historicism, which involve the study of facts and phenomena in all their diversity, in the specific historical conditions of their emergence and development allowing to highlight both positive and negative aspects of the analyzed historical events.

Findings

Guided in its cultural and educational activities within the interests of colonial policy, after the end of the Caucasian War the Russian administration decided to establish mountain schools in the Caucasus. In total, five mountain schools were opened: Nalchik (1861), Grozny (1863), Maykop (1863), Nazranov and Sukhum (1868). There were only 25 children of highlanders in the Grozny School in the year of its opening. The opened schools contributed little to the universal education of the highlanders. For twenty years, about five thousand students graduated from mountain schools (Tepsuev & Tepsuev, 2008).

There were two types of schools in Chechnya. The first of them was a secular school. This is not the earliest, but one of the leading types of school, which had a noticeable impact on the development of education in Chechnya. The above Grozny Mountain School belongs to this type.

The first type also includes public schools, which were opened in the villages at the initiative of the Chechen population. They were held at the expense of funds collected from the local population. The teacher’s salary was paid from the funds of the residents. Public schools played an important role in developing the education and improving the general literacy of the population.

The second, the oldest type of Chechen education – religious schools in time of appearance were the earliest in the territory of the region. They persisted until the 1930s of the 20th century. The tsarist administration encouraged the activities of religious schools, but they were financed from mosque funds and parents’ funds.

Many Soviet researchers who dealt with the problems of public education in Chechen-Ingushetia question the educational significance of religious schools. However, these schools that existed in Chechnya were the earliest and served the only source of literacy and education until the beginning of the 1860s.

The beginning of secular education in Chechnya was laid by the first type of schools. One of the early schools of the first type, as noted above, was the Grozny Mountain School, which opened in Chechnya by the decision of the authorities in 1863 and included 3 grades, one of which was preparatory (Gontareva, 1965b).

The emergence and state support of the Grozny Mountain School is not accidental. This marked the conscious attitude of the authorities to form a layer of literate indigenous people who could serve the local government, support the government in this direction, conduct cultural and educational work among their people, including working as teachers in schools for Chechens.

Although it was believed that the mountain schools were open to highlanders, up to 2/3 of the places in them were given to the Russian population. The Grozny Mountain School functioned at the expense of state funds. Only boys studied there, and it was intended for the children of wealthy highlanders. For highlanders from remote villages, the school had a boarding house, there was also a library, a hospital, and a pharmacy.

In terms of the composition of educational subjects and the course of teaching, the mountain schools were similar to elementary public schools: religious instruction, moslem law, Russian language, painting, short information on arithmetic, geography, history. Reading was taught using the and the by Ushinsky and the by Baranov, arithmetic – by Evtushevsky (Gontareva, 1965b). As you can see, the training was conducted using textbooks for Russian schools that were not adapted to national features. Education at the Grozny Mountain School, as in all later created schools, was conducted in Russian.

Difficulties in teaching Chechen literacy were caused by the lack of Chechen writing. It should be noted that P.K. Uslar stands at the origins of Chechen script on the basis of the Russian alphabet, who in 1862 wrote a landmark book 30 printed sheets entitled. In this work, he paid attention not only to theoretical and grammatical problems, but for the first time created a Chechen alphabet of 37 letters based on the Russian alphabet (Gadaev, 2008).

In 1862, the Major General P.K. Uslar opened a school in Grozny, where training was conducted in the Chechen language, using a dictionary and an ABC book he created. The school existed for about 7 weeks (Gontareva, 1965).

Returning to the activities of the Grozny Mountain School, it should be noted that in addition to the main compulsory subjects, additional disciplines were studied, including carpentry, singing, gymnastics and Arabic.

The quantitative composition of students of the Grozny School amounted to150 people, but in different years it was different, more often less than a certain standard. For example, in 1885, the number of students at the end of the reporting year was 148 people, of which 35 were highlanders (Gontareva, 1965b). As you can see, the highlanders in 1885 made up only 23.6 % of the total cohort.

The Grozny Mountain School functioned until the revolution of 1917. Gontareva (1965b) calculated that over the 43 years of its existence, only 387 people graduated from the Grozny School, i.e. an average of 9 people per year. Certainly, such indicators of graduates of the Grozny Mountain School could not satisfy the needs of the region in educated people. However, despite the small scale, this school laid the foundation for secular education in Chechnya and contributed to an increase in the number of literate people.

Along with the Grozny Mountain School, a number of other schools were opened by the decision of the authorities: in the Old Yurt (1865), Vedeno (1867), but due to lack of funds, these schools, which did not exist long, were closed.

According to the 1864 Regulation, public schools could be opened by private individuals. Therefore, public schools appear in Chechnya at the expense of the population. The population of Chechnya wrote petitions, applications, requests to open schools. On November 4, 1864 the head of the Terek Region wrote to the director of public schools: I pay attention to the desire of the entire native population of the region to bring their children to schools that has been developing over the past year and a half... Recently, the need to build new schools in the center of the main native societies has already been felt by the population so much that it is ready to participate in the necessary costs, both in the construction of premises and in the permanent maintenance of schools (Khasbulatov, 2006).

Thus, a common type of primary school was a public school, which can be defined as a school of elementary literacy.

The 1860s of the 19th century is marked by the appearance of village schools in Chechnya, which were created for the Cossack population. In the first years of their existence, they were single-grade schools with a three-year term of study. These included Petropavlovskoye, Vozdvizhenskoye, Ischerskoye Assinovskoye, Nesterovskoye, Karabulakskoye, Samashkinskoye, Kargalinsky and other schools. These educational institutions were opened at the expense of the village budgets. Subsequently, from one-grade, many public schools were transformed into schools consisting of two grades.

Ministerial folk schools for Chechens began to open in the last decade of the 19th century. Thus, in 1897, schools were opened in Nizhny Naur and Old Yurt, which, according to Gontareva (1965b), mark the beginning of the history of enlightenment of the Chechen-Ingush people, if to exclude mountain schools. The same schools were opened in Shatoe (1904), Vedeno (1907), Shali, Ustar Gorod, Oisun-Gur (1910), etc. (Khasbulatov, 2006).

However, public schools did not satisfy the needs of the Cossack, especially the mountain population. There was no general coverage of the mountainous population of Chechnya by primary education in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. To improve the situation, the state had to commit itself to the establishment and maintenance of schools.

Higher primary schools appeared in Chechnya Since the end of the 19th century, the first of which was Grozny, which was opened in 1896. At the beginning it was a three-grade school, later, in 1899 it was transformed into a six-grade school and was called Pushkinsky. Before the October Revolution (1917), 6 more higher primary schools were established in Chechnya: Chervlenskoye (1907), Sleptsovskoye (1910), Kalinovskoye (1912) Shelkovskoye (1917), Starogladovskoye (1917), Naurskoye (1917). In July 1917, the female school that existed in Grozny was also transformed into a higher primary school. All were primary schools and had nothing to do with secondary education. Each school had a professional class to teach a certain craft.

Higher primary schools were created “in order to distract the highlanders and lower classes of the Russian population from entering gymnasiums and real schools”.

The persons who graduated from primary schools has the right to be enrolled into higher primary schools, their course of study was 4 years.

The educational system of Chechnya at the beginning of the 20th century was also represented by professional educational institutions: a lower industrial school, a male railway school, a forest school in the settlement of Vozdvizhenskaya and others.

By the academic year 1914–1915, there were 153 general academic schools of all levels in Chechnya and Ingushetia, including primary schools – 145, seven-year schools – 6, secondary schools – 2.

Conclusion

It follows from the above that education Chechnya in the late 19th – early 20th centuries was mainly represented by the primary school. The primary school consisted of two types – secular and religious.

The primary school of the secular type was represented by various educational institutions, including the Grozny Mountain School; public folk schools financed by the population; village schools for the Cossack population; folk schools for Chechens, which began to open in the last decade of the 19th century; higher primary schools.

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Matagova, K. A., & Gairabekov, A. Y. (2021). Primary School In Pre-Revolutionary Chechnya (2nd Half Of 19th – Early 20th Centuries). In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2300-2306). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.306