Education for All

Lidská práva v ČSSR (1987)/ Human rights in Czechoslovakia (1987)


  • Describe each “scene” in the documentary. What spaces, school subjects, and university fields are presented in the clip?
  • According to this period film, what does education policy in Czechoslovakia look like? What is the role of education in society?
  • In your opinion, do the claims made in the film correspond to the reality of the Eastern Bloc countries? Why or why not?
  • Try to find other materials on Socialism Realised about the education system. What impressions do you get from these?


This clip is from a film that was meant to prove that Czechoslovakia upholds human rights as set out in the Helsinki Accords. In regards to the right to education, knowing the period context allows to uncover a large degree of manipulation in the film. The narration mostly ignores the difference between the declared legislation (“children of all our citizens have the right to be accepted to all levels of schooling without discrimination”) and the political reality, in which acceptance to secondary school and especially university was conditional on political loyalty and the parents’ activities, meaning that in practice there was no equal right to education. Education is one of the realms where the people are socialised, so the school space is susceptible to ideological indoctrination (not only in totalitarian regimes). Another characteristic of the film and the official ideology is the emphasis on the social function of education, where education is not the private matter of an individual, but rather a public matter, where people were educated in order to prepare for their social role.