This study evaluates effectiveness of Catherine the Great's education policy with regard to the number of literate inhabitants and students. As a contrast to the advanced countries, the author declares that the Russian Empire was markedly behind them in the number of educated inhabitants in the 18th century. He also explains why the school reform in Russia failed and compares it with the Austrian circumstances and success. He mentions the backwardness of the Russian social structure, failure to implement compulsory education for all classes of population, inability to provide sufficient financial means and non-existence of capable officers and central administrative body. He also mentions the prevailing lack of interest of the Russian elite in education that developed into an aversion to the reform. The author declares that Catherine the Great refused to come out of the French projects and turned her attention particularly to the Austrian education, which achieved certain success; in addition, the Austrians used some Prussian ideas, which the tsarina found inspiring as early as the sixties. He emphasizes that Catherine the Great was aware of the enormous backwardness of Russian education; however, she could not concentrate on implementation of the education system in the 1760s and 1770s due to the war conflicts. He regards the education reform under Catherine's reign not very successful; nevertheless, he mentions that the number of educated officers and experts slightly grew, which led to the consolidation of the state insisting on serfdom and aristocracy. However, the education was completely separated from the clergy and family competence and became a matter of the state. Catherine the Great's reform supported creation of non-aristocratic intelligentsia and undoubtedly intensified diffusion of enlightened ideals.
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