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ERIC Number: EJ848641
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-1056-7879
Cultural, Political, and Social Influence in the Development of the Lithuanian Educational System
Williams, Stephen E.; Gray, Philip
International Journal of Educational Reform, v13 n1 p46-57 Win 2004
Perhaps one of the most remarkable events of the 20th century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Ground zero was positioned in what are now Russia and all of the new nation-states that formerly constituted the Soviet bloc. Few new nation-states believed the transition from a totalitarian and closed state to an independent, open, and democratic nation would be without hardship. To replace a socialist system with a democratic one is not "a simple transition" but rather "an inversion of the whole system: from a totalitarian, self-referential society to a democratic and open society providing the widest political, economic and social freedom for all individuals." Few of these new nation-states possessed the financial and human resources to single-handedly initiate and complete such a transformation. For many, the history preceding Soviet rule was one of a feudal society, serfdom, and conquered nation or annexed territory. Few could claim the political heritage of a democracy or a republic. None had an economic structure remotely akin to the market-based, capitalistic models of the West. So pervasive was the Soviet program of cultural eradication that reestablishing genuine cultural traditions would be perceived by some as the most formidable and important task. Many of the new nation-states in Eastern and Central Europe decided upon democratic governments, free-market economies, and Western social infrastructures. Radical reform would be required at all levels of society. However, success with reform initiatives without significant support from outside private and public agencies, particularly those in Western Europe and North America, would be very difficult, if not impossible. The reform programs of these nation-states were keenly watched in Western Europe and North America. The new nation-states represented future markets, trading partners, and political allies. They constituted geographical and ideological buffer zones with non-Western styles of government. The political interest of Western Europe and North America is clearly evident in events like the ethnic cleansing and Diaspora in Bosnia and Serbia, and the assault on America of September 11, 2001. This article discusses the nature and degree of reforms as perceived by those involved in the efforts in one specific branch of reform within Lithuania. In Lithuania and other Eastern and Central European nation-states, educational reform has been declared as paramount and prerequisite to the success of any national, political, or economic reform initiative. Any coherent analysis and discussion of necessity must consider educational reform and the relationship to the national reform plan.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Europe; Lithuania