The five-fold increase in Jewish education in Soviet Russia is brought to light in a book just published here under the title, “Two Cultures.”
Before the Revolution there were 429 Jewish schools in the whole of Russia, with a total of some 30,000 pupils. In addition there were some 2,000 elementary religious schools with 40,000 pupils. The language used in a large majority of these schools was Russian, though there were some Hebrew schools. Only a very small number indeed used Yiddish.
Today there are 1,469 Jewish educational institutions, with a total of 160,000 pupils. Of these, 266 are primary, 887 elementary and 316 secondary schools. As compared with Czarist Russia, the number of pupils in Jewish schools has increased five-fold. During the same period the number of pupils in the non-Jewish schools has increased threefold.
In the sphere of higher education there has also been a very large increase of Jewish students. There are nine Jewish technical high schools with 1,900 students, and 50 Jewish industrial and agricultural colleges with a total of 10,000 students. There are also ten universities and colleges with special Jewish departments with a total of 1,600 students. In addition there are 57,439 Jewish students in the general State universities, colleges and technical high schools.
Formerly most Jewish students were studying either medicine or law; today they turn to the technical faculties. Only 2,417 are now studying medicine as against 11,565 that are taking a technical training. The number of Jewish students taking special courses such as agriculture and transport is surprisingly high. There are 1,555 taking the former, and 1,855 the latter. There are, in addition, 1,631 Jewish students in the faculty of economics.
“Two Cultures” also gives some very interesting figures on the number of Jewish newspapers and books published in Soviet Russia, from which it appears that there are 29 Jewish papers and periodicals with a total circulation of 230,000. The largest of these is the Moscow “Emes”, with a circulation of 30,000, then come the Charkow “Star” (20,000) and the Minsk “October” (15,000). There is also a children’s newspaper with a circulation of 30,000.