Resolution of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)

On curricula and regime in primary and secondary schools.

Author: Central Committee of the CPSU(b);
Written: 25 August 1932;
Source: ;
Translated: by Anton P.

The Central Committee of the CPSU (b) establishes that in the field of primary and secondary schools in the RSFSR over the past year there have been significant changes in connection with the introduction of universal compulsory education; the transition to the systematic assimilation of sciences on the basis of certain curricula, programs and schedules. However, the fundamental shortcoming of the school has not yet been completely eliminated, which is that “teaching at school does not provide a sufficient amount of general education knowledge and unsatisfactorily solves the problem of preparing quite literate people for technical schools and for higher education who are well versed in the basics of science (physics, chemistry, mathematics, native language, geography, etc.).” (Resolution of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks dated September 5, 1931).

The most important reasons for this are the shortcomings of the curricula (especially for the 2nd concentration of the school – 5th, 6th and 7th grades), unsatisfactory methods of school work and weak methodological guidance from the People’s Commissariat for Education and their local bodies, weak discipline at school, and sometimes the absence of any discipline and order.

It should also be noted that there is no coherence between the various parts of the school system, as a result of which the primary and secondary schools do not meet the tasks of training personnel for admission to technical schools, technical colleges and universities either in terms of the graduated contingents or in terms of knowledge level.

The Central Committee of the CPSU (b) decides:

I. On educational curricula

Noting that after the decision of the Central Committee of September 5, 1931, the curricula of the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR for primary and secondary schools, especially the curricula of the 1st stage, have significantly improved, have become higher in the volume of knowledge and more systematic in the arrangement of educational material, compared with the curricula of previous years, the Central Committee believes that they still suffer from significant shortcomings and should be, – in terms of the curricula of the 5th, 6th and 7th grade – revised.

The main disadvantages of the curricula are:

a) Overloading of curricula with educational material, leading to the fact that a number of disciplines have to be taught hastily at school, and the knowledge and skills of children are not firmly acquired and consolidated (in mathematics – the stereometry department in the 7th grade, in literature – the inclusion of works in the curriculum inaccessible to students, etc.).

b) Insufficiency and even lack of coordination between individual curricula, especially between the curriculum in mathematics and drawing, as well as between the curricula in mathematics, physics and chemistry and the program for labor, etc. (geometric knowledge required by the drawing curriculum of the 5th grade are given only in the 6th grade, the study of physics in the 5th, 6th and 7th grades is not provided with the amount of mathematical knowledge, etc.).

c) The presence of fundamental errors in a number of curricula and the simplified-vulgarizing approach of some curriculum compilers to their task (lack of a concept of acceleration, a concept of force and Newton’s laws in a physics course, blurring the concept of a cell in a biology course, lack of map orientation in a geography course), individual political mistakes in the course of social studies).

d) Insufficiency of a historical approach to curricula in social subjects, expressed in the fact that they provide an extremely weak idea of the historical past of peoples and countries, of the development of human society, etc.

A significant drawback is that history curricula have not yet been developed.

In accordance with this, the Central Committee proposes:

1 . The People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR to revise the curricula for primary and secondary schools by January 1, 1933 in such a way as to ensure the actual, lasting and systematic assimilation by children of the basics of science, knowledge of facts and skills of correct speech, writing, mathematical exercises, etc.

2. When revising curricula, be guided by the following:

a) to carry out an internal redistribution of the educational material of curricula in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology for grades of the 2nd concentration, bringing the volume and nature of the educational material of these curricula in full accordance with the age characteristics of children in each of these grades. At the same time, it is necessary to make a partial reduction in the curricula of the 2nd concentration in mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry in order to unconditionally ensure a firm and lasting assimilation and consolidation of the foundations of each science.

b) Eliminate the existing facts of insufficient coordination between the curricula of the 2nd concentration in mathematics, physics and chemistry, as well as between the curricula in history, social studies, literature and languages.

c) Take into account the need to use the material of socialist construction in educational activities (exercises in the Russian language, mathematics, social science, etc., laboratory work in physics, chemistry and natural science), ensuring a careful selection of the material available to children.

d) Significantly strengthen the elements of historicism in the curricula of social studies, language and literature, geography, illustrating the main sections and topics of these disciplines with the necessary factual material, historical excursions and comparisons.

e) Provide for an increase in the number of hours for mathematics, building a mathematics course in primary and secondary schools in such a way as to ensure the transition to the next stages of vocational education.

f) In physics curricula – introduce the missing elements of statics, the concept of force, of Newton’s laws; in biology – the concept of a cell and the cellular structure of an organism; in chemistry – a more systematic structure of the program is needed, calculated on the solid assimilation of elementary chemical concepts; in geography – the program should provide knowledge of the map, especially the map of the USSR, the basic concepts of physical geography and the basic elements of the physical, natural and economic geography of the USSR as a whole, and each of the republics, territories and regions separately; geography curricula must include adequate knowledge of the geography of the capitalist countries.

g) Acknowledge that it is essential that secondary schools provide knowledge of one foreign language to every school graduate.

h) Noting, despite some improvement, the still unsatisfactory state of the curricula and teaching of the native language and social science, the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks invites the People’s Commissariat of Education of the RSFSR to pay special attention to the development of curricula in these subjects and to improve their teaching.

The mother tongue program should ensure the acquisition of a truly systematic and accurately outlined circle of knowledge, as well as strong skills of correct reading, writing and speaking, introducing independent written work, grammar analysis, etc., into the practice of students’ educational work, both in the classroom and at home,

i) It is necessary to introduce into the curricula in social studies, literature, languages, geography and history the most important knowledge concerning the national cultures of the peoples of the USSR, their literature, art, historical development, as well as elements of the USSR local history (natural features, industry, agriculture, socio-economic development, etc.).

j) Attaching great importance to the organization of labor training in a polytechnic school, recognize the need to revise labor curricula in order to ensure a real combination of training with productive labor and the study “in theory and practice of the main branches of production” (Program of the All-Union Communist Party-Bolsheviks), guided by Lenin’s instructions that the polytechnical principle “does not require teaching everything, but requires teaching the basics of modern industry in general” (Lenin, speech at the III session of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the 7th convocation on September 26-27, 1920, according to the report of the People’s Commissariat for Education).

Proceeding from this, it is necessary to ensure, as Lenin pointed out, the following “fundamentals of polytechnic education”: “basic concepts of electricity,” “the use of electricity in the mechanical industry,” “also in the chemical industry,” “also on the plan for the electrification of the RSFSR,” a visit 1-3 times of a power plant, a factory, a state farm,” “to know such and such fundamentals of agronomy, etc. (to develop a minimum of knowledge in detail).”

In connection with this, students in secondary school should be provided with the mastery of the basic tools and the acquisition of skills in processing wood, metal, etc.

II. On the organization of educational work and the strengthening of the school regime

To note that with regard to the organization of studies at school, after the Central Committee resolution of September 5, 1931, a greater order was established (fixed timetables, clearer organization of educational work and the course of studies).

However, despite the instruction of the Central Committee in this resolution that no method can be recognized as the main and universal method of study, in the practice of schools it has become widespread as the main, so-called, “laboratory-brigade method” (in a number of schools it became universal), which was accompanied by the organization of permanent and obligatory teams, which led to perversions in the form of impersonality in educational work, to a decrease in the role of the teacher and the neglect in many cases of the individual study of each student.

The Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) proposes to the People’s Commissariat of Education of the Union republics to eliminate these perversions of the laboratory-brigade method, and to organize the educational process at school on the following basis:

a) The main form of organization of educational work in primary and secondary schools should be a lesson with a given group of students with a strictly defined schedule of classes and a solid composition of students. This form should include, under the guidance of a teacher, group, team and individual work of each student using a variety of teaching methods. At the same time, collective forms of educational work should be developed in every possible way, without the practice of organizing permanent and obligatory teams.

b) The teacher is obliged to systematically, consistently present the discipline he is teaching, in every possible way teaching children to work on a textbook and a book, to various kinds of independent written work, to work in an office, in a laboratory, a training workshop and widely applying, along with these basic methods, various kind of demonstration of experiments and devices, excursions (to a factory, to a museum, in a field, in a forest, etc.); at the same time, the teacher should help children in every possible way in case of difficulties in their studies. It is necessary to systematically teach children to work independently, widely practicing various tasks, to the extent of mastering a certain course of knowledge (solving problems and exercises, making models, working in laboratories, collecting herbariums, using school grounds for educational purposes, etc.).

The Central Committee obliges the People’s Commissariat of Education and their bodies to unconditionally ensure the leading role of the teaching staff in the entire educational work of the school.

c) The basis for the accounting of school work should be based on the current individual systematic accounting of students’ knowledge. The teacher must carefully study each student in the process of educational work. On the basis of this study, the teacher is obliged at the end of each quarter to draw up a characteristic of the progress of each student in this subject. Any complex schemes and forms of accounting and reporting should be prohibited.

Consider it necessary to establish year-end screening tests for all students.

d) Propose to the People’s Commissariat of Education to urgently develop methods for individual disciplines, as well as for various types of teaching and educational work (for example, in the laboratory, at work, at the school site) in relation to the age characteristics of students.

e) In a number of cases, the school administration and teachers do not pay attention to violations of order in the school and do not show initiative to strengthen the conscious discipline of students. In view of this, to impose on the duties of the heads of schools and teachers to carry on persistent educational work, fighting against the misconduct of students disrupting the order in the school, involving public organizations, parents, Komsomol and pioneer organizations in this matter, and the faulty students, hooliganism and insulting the teaching staff, violating the orders school administrators and teachers who break the school regime, spoil or plunder the property of the school – to be expelled from school without the right to enroll in school for a period of one to three years.

f) Suggest that the People’s Commissariat of Education develop a series of measures for systematic pedagogical propaganda, starting immediately to compile and publish popular pedagogical literature for parents.

g) In order to increase the effectiveness of pedagogical work at school and taking into account the greatest importance for this supply of the school with such necessary teaching aids as teaching aids, teaching equipment for classrooms and teaching and production equipment of workshops and other types of teaching aids, to develop in 2 months deadline for the plan for the deployment of production and the supply of primary and secondary schools with teaching aids (maps, globes, visual tables, etc.), educational equipment for natural science and physics and mathematics classrooms, as well as a plan for the standard equipment of work rooms and school workshops with appropriate machines, tools and materials in order to provide an appropriate training base for the organization of a polytechnic school.

The plan for expanding production and improving the supply of schools with these aids should be developed in such a way as to achieve a significant increase in the material educational base of all school work already in the 1932-1933 academic year.

III. On the teaching staff

1. Noting a significant increase in teacher activity and an increase in his responsibility for work in recent years, the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) emphasizes the ever-increasing role of the teacher in teaching children the basics of science, fostering conscious discipline and a communist attitude towards learning and work in them.

The Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) obliges the People’s Commissars of the Union Republics, Soviet and party bodies to provide the teacher in every possible way in his work with the necessary conditions for the successful fulfilment of his responsible and honorable duties in teaching and educating the young generation of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. Systematic work to improve the ideological and political level, general education and pedagogical skill of the teacher, unconditional and exact implementation of the directives of the Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR on equating a teacher in the supply of food and manufactured goods to an industrial worker, timely payment of wages, taking care of the teacher’s apartment, family and leisure, a sensitive attitude to his daily needs – all this should characterize the actual fulfilment by the Soviet and party organs of the party directives on Lenin’s attitude towards the teacher.

2. The People’s Commissariat for Education to establish the exact procedure for the transfer and appointment of teachers and such a placement of personnel in the field, which would ensure the correct use of experienced teachers at work and systematic assistance from the latter to young teachers.

Suggest to local authorities not to interrupt teachers for public work during school hours and preparation for them (preparation for lessons, self-education, participation in courses and methodological meetings, etc.), categorically prohibiting the use of a teacher to carry out various technical assignments for the work of the village council etc.

Special decree.

1. Instruct the Central Control Commission of the RFKI of the USSR to check the fulfilment of the economic commissariats, cooperative and supplying organizations of the resolution of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks dated September 5, 1931 on the supply of teachers with food and manufactured goods.

2. The Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR shall provide for the construction of special residential buildings for teachers’ apartments for all newly built and expanding enterprises. Since 1933, to select several buildings on the southern coast of the Crimea and the Caucasus and to organize rest homes and sanatoriums for teachers in them.

The People’s Commissariat for Health will ensure that teachers are issued vouchers to rest homes and sanatoriums, on a par with workers.

3. To consider it necessary to admit teachers’ children to technical schools, universities and technical colleges on an equal basis with workers.

4. The OGIZ publishing house organize until January 1, 1933 the selection and distribution to teachers at an affordable price of sets of books that are most necessary for teachers in certain fields of knowledge and pedagogical issues.

The People’s Commissariat for Education, together with book-selling organizations, will publish preferential terms for the purchase and receipt of books by teachers within a month.

5. The People’s Commissariat of Education to take measures to ensure that in the shortest possible time the whole matter of pedagogical education, correspondence and short-term training of teachers, paying special attention to the mastery of teaching methods and tools of pedagogical work (skilful use of manuals, devices, maps, visual tables for teaching , cinema, radio, etc.).

To expand in every possible way the practice of encouraging and rewarding teachers for the best examples of work, as well as taking into account and using the achievements of leading schools and teachers in management.

IV. On high school grades

In order to implement the party’s program – “On the conduct of free and compulsory general and polytechnic (introducing in theory and practice with all the main branches of production) education for all children of both sexes under 17” (Program of the CPSU (b)), as well as for the purpose of to raise the level of general education and polytechnic training of secondary school students as soon as possible, expand the trained contingents for higher education and eliminate the age discrepancy between secondary and higher education, to begin, starting from the 1932/33 academic year, to reorganize the seven-year polytechnic school into a ten-year one.

Proceeding from this, to propose the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR within a month to approve a specific plan and size of organization in the coming academic year over the seven-year period of 8 grades, as the first step towards a ten-year school.