Junior Achievement To Teach Capitalism in Soviet High Schools

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Junior Achievement, the nation's largest business-education organization, will enter the Soviet Union this December to teach a subject that until recently was banned from that country's classrooms: profitmaking.

President of the Soviet Union Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin announced this month that Junior Achievement would soon be teaching capitalism and applied economics in 1,000 Soviet high schools.

The program will be unveiled in December at an American-Soviet business conference in Moscow.

"For over 73 years the Soviet people have been taught that profit and private enterprise are bad," said Arkady I. Volsky, a top economic adviser to Mr. Gorbachev, in a press release. "Recently, we have found that it is not only desirable, but necessary, to immerse ourselves in concepts we once rejected."

Junior Achievement, which currently has 1.3 million student'participants in the United States, has already trained 25 Soviet teachers to carry its creed to students with virtually no grounding in the workings of a market economy.

At the Moscow business conference, an additional 25 to 30 English-speaking Soviet teachers will receive Junior Achievement's applied economics training under the auspices of an existing Soviet youth group called Youth: Creators of the 21st Century. Those teachers will then begin training about 500 non-English-speaking educators.

In all, according to James B. Hayes, chairman of Junior Achievement and publisher of Fortune magazine, the initial stage of the group's efforts will reach almost 100,000 Soviet high school and college students.

Junior Achievement officials say they plan to expand to elementary schools in the future.

Soviet officials said Junior Achievement would help address the long-term concerns of a country trying to shift to a market economy with few citizens who understand what that entails.

Founded in 1919, Junior Achievement provides students with classroom instruction using simulated exercises in business creation and management. The Soviet model will use similar simulations and textbooks used by the group in the United States, said Gary Hickman, the organization's vice president for communications.

The Soviet curriculum, however, will focus on basic questions of capital and investment not usually necessary with American audiences raised on capitalism.

Similar capitalism-education programs sponsored by German and French businesses are already operating in the Soviet Union. Once up and running, however, Junior Achievement will be the largest, according to Soviet officials.

Vol. 11, Issue 09, Page 12

Published in Print: October 30, 1991, as Junior Achievement To Teach Capitalism in Soviet High Schools
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