one of the forms of training specialists with higher and middle qualifications and skilled workers and for educating young people and adults in secondary general-education school without interrupting their work. The term “evening education” is a convention; classes in evening schools and other educational institutions are held in the daytime and the evening, depending on the work conditions (shifts) of the students. A sizable portion of the educational material in the system of evening education is intended for independent work by students.
Evening education arose in prerevolutionary Russia in the 19th century, when Sunday, Sunday-evening, and evening schools for adults appeared, offering elementary education. After the Great October Socialist Revolution, various forms both of general and of vocational evening education (elementary, secondary, and higher) were widely developed. Liquidation of illiteracy and near-illiteracy among the adult population was also being carried out in the evening education system.
The 1920’s saw the founding of evening schools of various types (reading-and-writing schools, schools for peasant youth), general-education and vocational-technical courses, and workers’ and peasants’ universities—all of which enabled working people to obtain an education or vocation, or to upgrade their qualifications without interrupting their production. Also established were workers’ departments for general secondary education and for preparation to enter higher educational institutions.
General evening education. The present-day system of general secondary evening education began to evolve during the Great Patriotic War, when, in accordance with the resolutions of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR “On the Schooling of Teenagers Working at Enterprises” (June 1943) and “On the Organization of Evening Schools for Rural Young People” (June 1944), a network of schools for young workers and schools for rural young people were created. In 1958 they were termed evening (shift) secondary general-education schools. These schools, as a rule, covered the ninth through 11th grades. Appropriate grades of the eight-year school were formed for pupils who did not receive a complete secondary education. Some types of evening schools (foremen’s schools at enterprises, foremen’s classes at evening city schools, training combines in the countryside) upgrade the vocational qualifications of students and teach new vocations as well as providing a general education. In places where the number of pupils is insufficient for forming an evening school, individual classes are created at general-education schools and operate under the system of evening education.
The academic year in city evening (shift) schools is 36 class weeks of 19-22 hours a week; in rural schools, 28 weeks of 25-27 hours a week. Classes are held three or four times a week. Because of the various periods of agricultural work in different climatic zones, the starting dates of the academic year and summer vacations in rural schools can vary, by decision of the council of ministers of the autonomous republic and of the executive committees of krai and oblast soviets, as long as the established mandatory norm of class time is fulfilled.
In the 1969/70 academic year in the USSR there were more than 10,000 evening (shift) schools (including 8,500 city schools), with some 4 million pupils (2.8 million in the ninth through 11th grades) and 367,000 teachers. Problems of general evening education are worked out in the Research Institute of General Adult Education of the Academy of Pedagogy of the USSR; organizational, methodological, and other questions of evening education are dealt with by the magazine Vecherniaia sredniaia shkola (Evening Secondary School).
Vocational-technical evening education. In the system of vocational-technical education the planned training of skilled workers under the evening system of schooling became widespread in the early 1960’s, when, under a resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR “On Evening (Shift) Vocational-Technical Schools and Evening (Shift) Divisions at Vocational-Technical Day Schools” (January 1962), such schools and divisions were created in many industrial and agricultural centers of the country. Evening (shift) vocational-technical schools (or divisions) admit workers, office employees, and collective farmers on the authorization of enterprises, kolkhozes, construction projects, and transport and other organizations. The schools (and divisions) train skilled workers in more than 370 specialties (mechanics, turners, milling-machine operators, electricians, tractor drivers, truck drivers, bricklayers, and others). Evening vocational-technical education, just like daytime vocational-technical education, includes production training and cycles of specialized technical and general-education disciplines.
The length of schooling in evening city vocational-technical schools is one to three years, and in rural schools, one to two years (depending on the complexity of the specialty being studied and on the skill required, as well as on the general-educational and vocational training of the pupil). Upon completion of schooling, pupils take graduating qualification examinations.
In 1970 there were more than 90 evening (shift) vocational-technical schools (about 37,000 pupils); in addition, more than 90,000 people were schooled in evening (shift) divisions. During 1962-69 more than 800,000 skilled workers were trained in the system of vocational-technical evening education. In 1970 evening (shift) vocational-technical schools (and divisions) admitted more than 171,000 people.
Higher and specialized secondary evening education. During the years of Soviet power a state system of higher and specialized secondary evening education has been created. As early as the 1920’s and 1930’s evening departments and divisions were opened at higher (primarily liberal arts) and specialized secondary educational institutions, and autonomous evening institutions of higher learning and technicums were organized (in 1940 there were eight such institutions and 47 technicums in operation). Vocational evening education received especially broad development in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In the 1969-70 academic year in the USSR there were four autonomous evening institutes (Komsomol’sk-on-Amur Polytechnical, Noril’sk Industrial, Rybinsk Technological, and Moscow Metallurgical); three plant-and-higher technical educational institutions (in which the evening and daytime systems of schooling are used); 396 evening departments (and divisions) at higher educational institutions, including 48 at universities; 209 departments in higher technical educational institutions of industry, construction, and transport; 60 at pedagogical institutes; 32 in higher institutions of the arts; and 23 at economic institutes. The system of evening education has also been adopted in general technical departments that conduct general scientific and general engineering training.
In the 1969-70 academic year there were 235 autonomous evening specialized secondary educational institutions and 1,321 evening divisions at permanent technicums and schools (including 1,010 divisions of industry, construction, transport, communications, and agriculture); 43 economic, financial, statistical, and commercial institutions and divisions; 143 in public health and physical fitness; and 125 in education, art, and cinematography.
Application to evening higher and specialized secondary educational institutions may be made through competitive examinations by all working people regardless of age; application to a higher educational institution may be made by those having a secondary education; and application to technicums, technical schools, and so forth may be made by those who have completed the eighth grade or secondary school. Top priority in admission is given to individuals whose type of work corresponds to the specialty chosen in the educational institution. Some benefits are granted to participants in the Great Patriotic War and to persons who are in the reserves of the armed forces.
Higher and specialized secondary evening education is given in a reduced (compared with the day system) catalogue of specialties. The length of schooling is half a year to one year longer than in the day system. Classes are usually held four times a week, four hours each time. The programs and textbooks are the same as for daytime educational institutions. The academic plan is constructed with the intention of providing, above all, the necessary volume of study of scientific-theoretical (general-scientific and general-technical) disciplines. Specialized disciplines are studied with consideration of the fact that the students are working in production in the specialty chosen in the educational institution and that their positions and responsibilities in production vary with their progress in the academic program.
All of the basic forms of the academic process that are used in the day schooling system are preserved—lectures (in specialized secondary educational institutions, as a rule, lessons), laboratory and seminar sessions, practical training, and prediploma production practice. Students whose type of work in production corresponds to the specialty chosen in the higher educational institution can be exempt from prediploma production practice; in specialized secondary educational institutions, where the practical training of future specialists is particularly important, graduates must have had at least one year’s experience working in the chosen specialty (or one close to it). Students carry out course projects and course papers; twice a year examination sessions are held. Schooling is completed with the fulfillment and defense of the diploma projects (or diploma papers) or the passing of state examinations (graduates of universities take state examinations and defend diploma papers).
In the 1969-70 academic year under the evening system of schooling, 668,000 people received a higher education and 687,000 received a specialized secondary education. In 1969 evening departments (and divisions) of higher educational institutions admitted 127,400 people and graduated 78,000, while specialized secondary institutions admitted 168,600 and graduated 148,600.
The state has established benefits for those who are successful in their studies in evening schools and specialized educational institutions (departments and divisions) including additional leaves with pay for the period of laboratory-examination sessions, for the preparation and defense of diploma projects (or papers), and to take state examinations (or graduation examinations in schools); and a shorter workday, or a workweek shortened by one day, with 50 percent pay maintained.
All types of evening educational institutions cover the same material and, upon completion, give students the same rights as the corresponding permanent higher educational institutions, technicums, specialized secondary schools, and general-education schools. Graduates of evening educational institutions receive an education document—a certificate or a diploma—of a single all-Union type. Various courses operate under the evening education system (preparation for entrance examinations for higher and specialized secondary institutions, foreign languages, typing, automobile work, and so on), as do public universities and universities of Marxism-Leninism; this system is also used in institutes for advanced training of various types of specialists.
The system of general evening education also exists in other socialist countries (Bulgaria, Poland, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia, for example), as well as in many developing and some capitalist states. In a number of socialist countries (Bulgaria, German Democratic Republic [GDR], and Poland), just as in the USSR, evening training has been organized within the system of higher education. In 1969 a system of evening and correspondence education was introduced in the GDR for engineers with a specialized secondary education who are working in production, in order to give them a chance to receive a higher education in their specialty.
In capitalist countries specialized evening education also exists; its scholastic level, as a rule, is considered lower than that received in the day system. For example, in higher educational institutions of the USA, evening education is regarded as one of the forms for upgrading the qualifications of specialists and often does not afford the right to be admitted to examinations and to write an essay for a bachelor’s degree (as is customary in all daytime divisions). Only in several higher educational institutions, and not in all specialties, are persons who have completed evening divisions allowed to take examinations and to write dissertations. Usually persons who have completed evening divisions are schooled for an additional year in person and then receive the right to matriculate for a bachelor’s degree. In the higher educational institutions of Great Britain, along with the system of evening education there is also a system of schooling called the “sandwich” program, in which semesters of theoretical classes in the higher educational institution and production work in the chosen specialty are alternated through-out the period of schooling.