The Secondary Education Scheme:
During the third decade of the current century, a 10 year school plan for children between 7 and 17 years of age was started. This pattern combined both primary and secondary education and it aimed at centralisation of schools.
But after the Second World War this 10 year plan was divided into three groups. The first four years of this plan were given to the primary stage and the remaining six years to secondary education. The secondary education was further divided into two parts junior high and high schools stages.
Thus, classes I to IV made primary education, V to VII junior high school education and VIII to X high school classes. The junior high school for children between 12 to 14 years of age and high schools group for children between 15 to 17 or 18 years of age were arranged.
In Russia both 7 year and 6 year patterns exist. In the 7 year pattern 4 year primary education and 3 year high school education is arranged in the same building or another place nearby. In the 6 year pattern 3 year junior high school and 3 year high school education are combined. Ordinarily, 7 year pattern schools are more in favour.
Upto 1943 co-education was prevalent. But after 1943 some instances of indiscipline were marked and schools for boys and girls were separately established. Gradually, this change reached the junior high school stage as well.
Only in rural areas and in vocational education both boys and girls were taught together in junior high and high school classes. But now most of the high schools are co-educational. Needless to say that the primary schools are also meant both for boys and girls.
Curriculum, Time-Table and Classes
Curriculum, for Junior High School Classes:
In classes V, VI and VII, general science, mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry), history, geography, art, mechanical drawing, Russian or a local language are taught.
If the school is in the Russian region, Russian is taught from the class III otherwise its teaching begins from class V. Students have to learn physical education and social studies compulsorily. In classes VI and VII the teaching of physics and chemistry also begins.
The High School Curriculum:
In class VIII, IX and X the importance to high academic education is realised. Hence, mathematics and science are specially emphasised. Since 1947 logic is also introduced. Russian literature and technology are also included in the curriculum.
The Time-Table and the Classes:
The last day of the week is generally a holiday. In cities the schools run for 6 days, whereas in rural areas they run for all the 7 days. The academic year is from September 1 to June 30. Each class begins from September 1, but various classes end on various dates in June.
There is a winter vacation from December 30 to January 10 and spring holidays from March 26 to 31. At some places the spring holiday is for full one month, i.e., from March 26, to April 26. This distinction is due to the climate of the region concerned.
In cities, for class V, there are 26 periods per week and for other classes 27. In rural areas, for class V, there are 31 periods per week and for other classes 32. Each period is of 45 minutes duration. The school starts from 8 or 9 in the morning.
The system of subject teacher is practiced. For backward students individual attention is specially paid. Grading is also done according to the age of the students. At the age 11, 14 and 17, there is generally a transfer examination.
Fees and Teaching of Various Subjects:
Upto class VII there is no fees. In the classes IX and X and in vocational and technical schools, some fees are charged. The fee is generally 3% of the total expenditure per student. Orphans, children of invalid parents and soldiers are not charged any fees. Meritorious students are exempted from paying any fees; instead, they are given scholarship.
Religion and Foreign Language Teaching:
Teachers cannot give any religious instruction in the school. Under foreign languages, French, German and English are preferred.
It is intended to acquaint the students with social, economic and political organisation of the country and also of other countries in the world. For this a definite curriculum is prescribed.
Physical education has been compulsory since 1944. In the last three classes of secondary education it becomes like a formal military training. The drill sergeant takes attendance and gives instructions in physical education to a class of fifteen students. Girls have to learn nursing art and the mechanism of telephone and radio operation.
In the examination system are included a test on the entire work of the session and also the conduct, behaviour and regularity of the students. Excepting class VII and X examinations of other classes are conducted in June.
The medium of examination for class VII and X is Russian language. Except mathematics, other subjects are examined orally. There is an examination board consisting of the education officer, principal, subject teacher and two other teachers.
On the basis of the examination results, bright students are awarded silver or gold medals. Exceptionally bright students are admitted to universities without having passed the high school examination.
According to the law of compulsory education in Russia, children upto 15 years of age, i.e., upto classes VII have to be present in schools. No child below fourteen years of age can be employed in any industry. Thus, class VII is the turning point in education.
That is why, only after passing class VII the vocation of the student may be decided. Under this system students having obtained very high marks in class VII are sent for higher education or high technical training, the second class students are sent for ordinary professional or mechanical training and average students are sent to some industrial centres, if they are willing to go.
In vocational selection, students are given due guidance keeping in mind their interests and capacities. Through newspapers, magazines and in public places necessary vocational information’s and guidance are given to students.
In fact, students of class VII, IX and X are prepared for higher education. The representatives from higher education institutes occasionally meet students of classes X and try to attract them towards higher education.
Technical Education Techniques:
In Russia there are about six thousand technicums for training of middle grade specialists for various technical fields. These technicums offer three to five year curriculum for children who have passed class VII and provide training in various industries, agriculture, health services, economic law, teaching and transport, etc.
The Education Ministry prescribes ‘ the curriculum for each of the areas. There are separate centres for training in various areas.
For students of class VII who score average marks, practice schools are run. By taking admission to practice schools, students become good workers in certain areas. These schools are of three types. The first type prepares half-skilled workers after giving six months training for working in mines, small industries and other constructive schemes.
The second type gives two years course for preparing mechanics in transport, machine making factories. The third type provides training in rail, telegraph and telephone fields. In all these arrangements, the desire, interest and aptitude of the student are adequately honoured according to the demands of democracy.
The technicums provide free education. The trainees are given the necessary training. No one can leave without completing the training and even after completing the training; one has to observe certain prescribed rules and discipline. The graduates of the technicums may choose to serve for 4 to 5 years in related areas.