Abstract: The paper focuses on the scientific degrees awarded by the University of Economics, Prague (UEP), in 1950s Czechoslovakia. Unique primary sources, such as minutes from UEP Scientific Board meetings and witness statements, were used in an interdisciplinary economic-historical analysis of the UEP scientific research position after the implementation of the Soviet model doctrine, through the dogmatic teaching of Marxism-Leninism in 1953. The results show that the UEP failed to increase the number of scientists and teachers, particularly associate professors and professors. Changes in the law, which saw the introduction of the CSc. (candidatus scientiarum) and DrSc. (doctor scientiarum) degrees and a “deputy” version of the associate professor degree, allowed a number of combinations for scientific career progression with the possibility to waive or skip some of the traditional requirements thereof, such as a dissertation thesis or previous scientific experience. Contrary to our expectations, political economics was not given preference at the expense of other fields of study among the new associate professors. Due to the new cadre policies, only highly politically reliable teachers were appointed. This frustrated many and prevented them from working for the universities. The lack of flexibility at the Ministry of Education, the rigid bureaucratic policies of the State Committee for Scientific Degrees, continuous changes in laws and regulations along with the total control of the Communist Party, led to a lack of experienced scientists. It also created a class of deprived teachers who had no time to immerse themselves in intense research activities due to inadequate preparation in both knowledge and methodology. In addition, a teacher’s salary was unsatisfactory and young graduates were not motivated to remain in the academic field. The results also suggest that the appointment of professors without appropriate education, pedagogical and scientific activities wasn’t an easy task. This proves that the Communist leadership was, to some extent, reluctant to completely ignore the need for a scientific background.
Authors: František Stellner, Marek Vokoun
Keywords: Academic degrees, University of Economics in Prague, Czechoslovakia after 1948, Communist Party, Marxist-Leninism, economics, candidacy