Labor reserve schools

Labor reserve schools [школи трудових резервів; shkoly trudovykh rezerviv]. Vocational training schools (see Professional and vocational education) below the level of tekhnikum which were subordinated to a highly centralized institution, the State Labor Reserves of the USSR. The State Labor Reserves was established as an all-Union institution by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on 2 October 1940 and had the task of increasing the number of semiskilled workers for agriculture and industry. Labor reserve schools were filled by means of drafts of young men and women between the ages of 14 and 17. Every collective farm was obliged to send 2 youths per 100 adult members to these schools each year. In urban communities all secondary-school pupils of the appropriate age whose marks were below ‘good’ were subject to the draft. Training in labor reserve schools lasted from one-half to two years, depending on the type of school. Initially, three types of labor reserve schools were established, trade schools, railway schools, and factory-industrial schools. The student draftees were assigned to schools and state-funded student residences scattered throughout the USSR (mainly in the Urals and Siberia). They received a narrow trade education of poor quality. There were 1,500 labor reserve schools established in 1940, with 800,000 drafted youths; 316 schools (with 130,000 draftees) were in Ukraine. During 1945–68, 15,380,000 pupils completed programs at labor reserve schools in the USSR; 27 percent of them were from Ukraine. Upon graduation students were obliged to work in places assigned by the Ministry of Labor Reserves in Moscow. The compulsory aspects of labor reserve schools lasted until 1950. In March 1955 the draft was abolished, and after July 1959 the 624 schools in existence were transformed into urban and rural vocational-technical schools.

Lubomyr Szuch

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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