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The general secondary school is the most important - and the biggest - link of the public education system of the USSR. It is based on the Leninist principles of a unified labour polytechnical school and prepares the younger generation for life, inculcates in schoolchildren the habit of and love for socially useful work, broadens their outlook, moulds in them the lofty qualities of a citizen of socialist society, of an active builder of communism, equips young men and women with the knowledge necessary for work in modern production.

The Soviet general secondary school moulds a harmonious individual combining spiritual wealth, moral integrity and physical fitness.

According to the reform of general and vocational schools, the duration of general secondary education is extended to eleven years, with children starting school a year earlier, at the age of six. This has been made possible by the development of the preschool education system which now covers an absolute majority of children, and the experience of their training in kindergartens and in schools.

The primary school (1st - 4th forms) is increased by one year in order to give children better training in the basic skills of reading, writing, mathematics and in elementary labour skills, and at the same time to ease the workload of the pupils and to make it easier for them subsequently to learn the fundamentals of sciences.

The incomplete secondary school (5th - 9th forms) ensures tuition in the fundamentals of sciences over a period of five years. With the completion of the ninth form, the pupils, at the age of fifteen, as a rule have an incomplete secondary education. During that period the task of general labour training of the pupils will be, in the main, accomplished. This, combined with vocational guidance, creates conditions which will make it easier for them to choose their future profession or trade. Thus the nine-year school forms the basis for receiving a general and vocational secondary education through a number of channels.

The general and vocational secondary school system includes the 10th and the 11th forms of the general secondary school, vocational secondary schools and specialized secondary schools. The general and secondary vocational school system provides a general secondary education and labour and professional training to young people.

Pupils of the 8th to 11th forms have an opportunity to take up optional courses in various subjects Of their choice in the fields of physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, social studies and the humanities. Labour training in the 10th and 11th forms should include the learning of mass trades or professions which are in demand in the productive and non-productive spheres.

To improve their skills or to qualify for a higher-skill job, secondary school leavers can enroll in one-year departments of vocational secondary schools, or in specialized, secondary schools for a period of two to three years, or in a higher education establishment. Some of them can work in the national economy in line with the training they have received at the eleven-year secondary school. In compliance with the wishes of the young people, of their parents, and work collectives the question of lowering the age limits for a number of trades is solved.

Thus, in the course of one or two five-year plan periods the universal general secondary education of young people will be supplemented by universal general vocational training. All young people are given a chance to master a trade or profession before they start an active working life of their own. In future this will bring closer together and then integrate the general school and the vocational school, which will signify a further development and implementation of Lenin's conception of a single labour-oriented polytechnical school.


1) Is the general secondary school an important link of the public education system of the USSR?

2) When do the students have an incomplete secondary education?

3) What does the general and vocational secondary school system include?

4) What can secondary school leavers do to improve their skills or to qualify for a higher-skill job?

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