The Missing Link The Transition from Education to Labour in the Soviet Union Revisited
Title: The Missing Link The Transition from Education to Labour in the Soviet Union Revisited
Author: REITER, Herwig
Series/Number: EUI SPS; 2006/07
The post-communist assessment of communist youth transitions to work is at risk of exaggerating the assumption of previously existing predefined and predictable channels into work. In order to allow a somewhat refined picture of the Soviet case the paper reviews the main ways, in which the Soviet system tried to take hold of young people as a human resource. They were subject to labour planning and job placement as well as education for labour. The meeting point of these two mechanisms, i.e. the intersection of labour planning and educational transitions, left considerable space for informal job matching. After introducing and discussing early roots and main institutions of Soviet labour planning, the Soviet version of educating for labour including its institutional backbone, the three-track system of education and its main destinations, is reviewed. Finally, the mechanisms and shortcomings of posteducational youth placement in the USSR are discussed. The evidence indicates that, on the one hand, educational determinism is untenable - first, due to the relative status of education within the whole complex of transition arrangements, and second due to the fact that outcome assumptions and expectations attached to the idealised internal and external 'role' of certain tracks were thwarted by its incompatibility with the economy's actual manpower needs. On the other hand, institutional determinism is untenable because the reality of matching processes obviously involved a considerable degree of agency on the part of individuals. The concluding remarks plea for a reassessment of youth transitions also in market contexts.
Subject: USSR; Soviet Union; education; school; labour; work; unemployment; transition; youth; young people
Type of Access: openAccess