Unified labor school

Unified labor school (єдина трудова школа; yedyna trudova shkola). A system of public education established in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1920. It existed as an independent system (with some changes) also known as the Hrynko–Riappo system until 1932–3 (see Hryhorii Hrynko and Yan Riappo). The seven-year unified labor school was divided into two stages: grades one to four for children aged 8 to 12, also called elementary school; and grades five to seven for children aged 12 to 15, sometimes referred to as incomplete secondary education. The system, developed by the Ukrainian People's Commissariat of Education, was at variance with the one in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The difference between the two systems was that the Ukrainian one stressed society’s needs. The unified labor school tried to satisfy the specific demands of Ukraine, such as the dire shortage of skilled workers and specialists, and therefore introduced a polytechnical and vocational component at an early age. The emphasis on social education (understood as the active recruitment of children, the offer of protection to them in the school, and socialization was motivated by the fact that as a result of war, revolution, and famine, almost one million children had been left homeless or in single-parent families. In 1930 the Ukrainian SSR and the RSFSR people's commissars of education signed an agreement which paved the way for the creation of a single system of public education throughout the USSR; it was implemented in 1934.

Bohdan Krawchenko

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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