Eight-Year School

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Eight-Year School


incomplete secondary general-education polytechnical school in the USSR oriented toward labor.

The eight-year school was established in accordance with the law “On the Strengthening of the Links Between School and Life and on the Further Development of the System of Public Education in the USSR” (1958) to replace the seven-year school, which had existed since 1921. The goal of this new school was to raise the level of the general education and communist upbringing of the students. The eight-year school provides universal compulsory education. In the USSR during the academic year 1969-70, out of 197,000 general-education schools (with 49.4 million students, including more than 41.8 million in grades 1-8), 54,400 (with approximately 13 million students) were independent eight-year day schools.

Prior to Sept. 1, 1970, the curriculum of the eight-year school consisted of two parts. A course of primary instruction was provided in grades 1-4 (during 1971-72 the primary school was completely converted to a three-year course of instruction). In grades 5-8, students received instruction in elementary courses in Russian, native, and foreign languages, literature, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history of the USSR, world history, geography, mechanical drawing, fine arts, music and singing, physical education, and manual training. The relatively complete group of subjects, skills, and habits which the eight-year school provided was necessitated by the fact that part of its graduates did not continue their general education.

In the transition to universal secondary education, instruction in the eight-year school has, to a certain degree, lost its self-contained character and has changed structurally, be-coming a component part of the education provided by the ten-year secondary general-education school. Accordingly, elementary courses in literature, physics, and chemistry are completed by the seventh grade; beginning in the eighth grade systematic courses are taught in these subjects. The mathematics curriculum includes arithmetic and the foundations of algebra and geometry in grades 4-5, algebra and geometry in grades 6-8, and algebra, the foundations of analysis, and geometry in grades 9-10. The Russian language curriculum includes phonetics and some morphology in grades 4—5 and morphology and syntax in grades 6-8. The geography, biology, and history curricula are set up in a linear sequence. In geography, for example, the subject matter is distributed as follows: elementary physical geography in the fifth grade, geography of the continents in the sixth grade, physical geography of the USSR in the seventh grade, and economic geography of the USSR in the eighth grade. Economic geography of foreign countries is studied in the ninth grade. Courses in foreign languages, the fine arts, music and singing, manual training, and physical education are also taught in the eight-year school. With the aim of deepening the study of various subjects as well as broadening the interests and capabilities of the students, elective courses are introduced in the seventh and eighth grades. The maximum number of hours of lessons in required courses, including manual training, physical education, and art, has been established at 24 hours a week for grades 1-4 and 30 hours a week for grades 5-8. In schools in the non-Russian areas of the RSFSR and in schools of the other Union republics, an increase in the course load of two to three hours a week is permitted for each grade. Those who graduate from eight-year schools continue their education in the senior grades of the secondary schools or else in secondary special and vocational-technical educational institutions.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.