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Guidelines for School Policy for the German Democratic School (August 24, 1949)

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III. The new organizational forms of the German democratic school

In its structural design, the German democratic comprehensive school is not an instrument of leveling; rather it represents the uniform organization of a multifarious school system that is built up organically and systematically. This system offers every child the possibility of educating himself in a well-rounded and continuous fashion, and of participating in the advancement of society in accordance with his abilities.

[ . . . ]

IV. Role and importance of the teacher in the democratic school as a teacher of the nation

The teacher of the new democratic school stands within the social and cultural life of his nation. He is no longer the servant of a ruling minority, whose interest is directed at preserving the existing social and cultural conditions; instead, he receives his instructions from the progressive forces of the nation and, as a teacher of the people at all levels of the comprehensive school, serves all working strata and all people who are actively working together on behalf of the wellbeing and liberation of our people.

The teacher must combine his pedagogical work with the struggle for the building of a new democratic society. For all teachers and educators, the principle holds that political education and social work in keeping with their vocational and political education is the indispensable prerequisite for their professional qualifications.

The new democratic school calls for the politically conscious and scientifically educated teacher. It is therefore necessary that every teacher, in addition to a good general education, acquire an objective knowledge of Marxism-Leninism and a thorough knowledge of his subjects and of pedagogy. His subject-specific, theoretical training must occur in living connection with school practice and his own social activity.

The German democratic school can only fulfill the objectives of its school policy with teachers who meet the following basic requirements:

1. The teacher at the democratic school must at all times prove himself as a fighter for the unity of Germany and for a just peace, and he must personally support the struggle of the National Front without reservations.

2. Every teacher must be an honest fighter for peace and against all war-mongering.

3. Every teacher must be a true friend of the Soviet Union and must constantly advocate the development of a genuine relationship of friendship with the Soviet Union among his students, the parents of his students, and the public.

Every teacher must be conscious of the objective of democratic society and must realize it through his leading role in teaching and educational work, and therefore be eager to continually pursue professional qualifications.

[ . . . ]

Source: Dokumente der SED [Documents of the SED], vol. 2. East Berlin: 1951, p. 324 ff.; reprinted in Christoph Kleßmann, Die doppelte Staatsgründung. Deutsche Geschichte 1945-1955 [The Founding of Two States. German History 1945-1955]. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986, pp. 525-27.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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