In this study the author has chosen to give a rather detailed analysis of an important field of a complex of contemporary educational problems which is generally called »compensating education« in the capitalist countries. A very broad conception of this kind of education is arrived at for many reasons; on the one hand, an important role is played by the ever more consistent rejection of the biological hypotheses of unchangeable capabilities of man and the demonstration of the decisive role played in the development of the individual by his socio-cultural environment, and on the other hand, specific problems of the capitalist society, especially in the U.S.A. and the Federal Republic of Germany, also play their part. Questions of the talent of children coming from the lowest social groups or from nations and races discriminated against, analyses of school attainment and performance by these children and a confrontation of these results with the norm required — all these questions in certain contexts no longer belong to the psycho logical and pedagogical level, but are seen by the capitalist society itself as important social problems calling for immediate solution. Compensating education represents such a solution. Educationists are working out diverse projects of educational measures which make it possible to eliminate undesirable differences in the socio-cultural environment of individual children and ensure a »fair start« in life for each child. Projects of positive stimulation of personality development of »handicapped« children are also often realized on different levels and with different results. The author of this study has made use of the critical attitudes and analyses of numerous Western educationists and shows how compensating education in the capitalist society serves the class interests of the ruling class in spite of the subjective honesty in the views expressed by the advocates of this kind of education. The study of the problems in question is often focussed on secondary moments in the process of the formation of man. In the socialist society, however, an analysis of compensating education projects and experiences, with the necessary critical approach, might be very stimulating.