Ivan Franko (1856— 1916), an outstanding Ukrainian writer, learned man and public worker, is one of the greatest representatives o f world democratic culture. His work is still live and fresh and helps in,the fight for peace and fraternity among nations. Therefore the World Peace Council decided that the hundredth anniversary of his birth this year should be celebrated throughout the world.
Ivan Franko was at the head of the revolutionary democratic intelligentsia, who bought against social and national oppression of the Ukrainian people in Galicia. The moulding of his political and social views was influenced by the teachings of Marxism and by progressive Russian, Ukrainian, as well as West-European literature. Even though certain contradictions in his world outlook appeared occasionally, in substance he always remained an adherent of materialistic philosophy, a revolutionary democrat, a humanist and internationalist, a persistent fighter for the ideals of freedom and democracy.
Raising the standard of culture among the people and educating the youth appeared to Franko as being powerful weapons in the. fight for a new life. He was deeply convinced of the great power of education. He sharply criticised the state of popular education in Western Ukraine and exposed the anti-popular policy of the ruling classes in the sphere of education. He regarded economic subjugation and exploitation of the working people as the main source of evil. He criticised the ideological bias of education in Galician schools, spoke up against the reactionary German pedagogics, against the clerical influence on education, he condemned the dead classicism in Secondary Schools and in the courses of the Lvov University. He studied and criticised the methods of teaching, he portrayed uneducated teachers who tormented the children, and on the other hand advanced teachers who armed the youth with useful knowledge. Franko was convinced that under the prevailing social conditions it was impossible to build up a democratic system of popular education; he wrote about the inevitability of social revolution and outlined the most important principles of education and instruction in a socialist society.
The author shows how Franko in his pedagogical works, under the influence of Marxist ideology, reached the highest level in solving many concrete pedagogical problems, even if compared with the most progressive educationalists of the pre-Marxist period.
The pedagogical ideas of this enthusiastic champion of the freedom and happiness of the people are a great cotribution to the treasury of world thinking.