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The education of handicapped1 children in the USSR is part of the state educational system. A few months after the Great October Socialist Revolution, the state took upon itself the care of handicapped children.

On December 10, 1919, in a decree signed by V. I. Lenin, the Council of People's Commissars determined the functions of the various People's Commissariats in regard to the education and medical care of physically and mentally handicapped children. In accordance with2 this decision, retarded3 children were to be cared for and educated in the so-called auxiliary schools4, while blind, deaf and physically handicapped children were to attend corresponding special schools of the People's Commissariat of Education.

In time, a unified system for bringing up and educating handicapped children was created. This network of special establishments has been under constant improvement.

At present blind children and those with severely impaired eyesight receive a complete secondary education in the course of 12 years of study. Deaf and 2nd division hard of hearing5 pupils are given the same period to acquire the curriculum of the eight-year secondary education, while 1st division hard of hearing children accomplish the programme of the ordinary ten-year secondary school in 12 years.

There are special evening secondary schools for working adults who are blind, partially sighted, or deaf or hard of hearing. Auxiliary schools (for mentally retarded children) with an eight-year term of study provide an elementary education and the children vocational training.

There are also special secondary schools for children with disturbances of motor function6 and a special school for children who are multiply handicapped.

Preschool establishments for the deaf and hard of hearing, the blind, the mentally retarded and children with speech defects have been developing successfully in the past decades.

Prior to entering school all children who have reached six years of age must have a thorough medical examination by a team of specialists at their district children's polyclinics. This examination is compulsory for every child entering school. Children who have serious defects of vision, hearing or speech and who will find studying in a normal school too difficult are referred to a special school.

(From A Guide to English Schools by Turrell Burgess)


1) What steps in regard to the education of handicapped children did the state take after the Great October Socialist Revolution?

2) What kinds of schools were established for this purpose?

3) What system of special education is developed at present?

4) Is medical examination compulsory for every child entering school?


1. handicapped - зд. страдающие недостатками (физическими или умственными)

2. in accordance with - в соответствии с

3. retarded (children) - умственно отсталые (дети)

4. auxiliary school - вспомогательная школа

5. 2nd division hard of hearing - 2-я степень глухоты

6. motor function - двигательная функция

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