104 years ago, June 19, 1920, the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR, headed by V.I. Lenin, adopted a decree establishing the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for the Elimination of Illiteracy (VChK Likbez).

In pre-revolutionary Russia, the overwhelming majority of the population was illiterate – the general population census of 1897 recorded only 21% of the literate population. After the Great October Socialist Revolution, public education became one of the main government priorities. On December 26, 1919, a decree was issued to eliminate illiteracy among the population from 8 to 50 years of age. On June 19, 1920, to implement this decree, the Soviet government established the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for the Elimination of Literacy (VChKLB) under the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR. People’s Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky was in charge of the affairs of this commission.

The All-Russian Commission and extraordinary commissions under the district and provincial departments of public education organized educational centers and schools, trained teaching staff for them, published programs, methodological letters, and primers. In 1923, the voluntary society “Down with Illiteracy” was created, which contributed to the work of the Commission.

The 1939 census showed that literacy among the population aged 8 years and over had reached 81%. The concept of “educational education”, in essence, has already receded into the realm of history, a great miracle happened, illiteracy was ended in the shortest possible time. Over the course of 20 years, during the educational program (1920 – 1940), over 60 million people were taught to read and write in the USSR.