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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Special Education

Special schools included those for physically and mentally handicapped children as well as those for intellectually and artistically gifted youth. They also included military schools for secondary-level cadet training.

In 1987 about 500,000 youngsters with mental and/or physical impairments were enrolled in 2,700 schools designed to meet their special needs. Schools for the mentally retarded strived to help children acquire as much of a general or vocational education as their abilities permitted and also encouraged them to become as self-reliant as possible. The blind and those with partial sight could complete the regular secondary program and/or vocational training in schools with a modified curriculum and special physical accommodations. There were also schools for deaf children, deaf-mutes, and the hearing impaired.

Universities operated a small number of advanced academic programs for exceptionally bright children who demonstrated outstanding abilities in the sciences and mathematics. Schools also specialized in a specific foreign language, for example, English or German. About 50 percent of all subjects were taught in the given language. These highly prestigious schools provided complete secondary schooling, and their graduates were guaranteed entrance into institutions of higher learning.

The Ministry of Culture operated a small network of schools for artistically gifted youngsters, which combined regular secondary education with intensive training in music, ballet, or the arts. These special schools were located primarily in Moscow, Leningrad, and other large Soviet cities.

First established during World War II, military boarding schools continued to provide free care and education to war orphans of military personnel and to train future officers of the armed forces. With enrollments of between 150 to 500 students, the eight Suvorov military schools and the Nakhimov Naval School offered a regular, general school curriculum supplemented by a heavy load of mathematics, political and military training, and physical education. Most graduates of these schools entered higher military institutions (see Officers , ch. 18).

Data as of May 1989