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A major development in Soviet higher education is the increase in "production practice,” in line with Soviet educational reforms initiated in 1958. This is a form of on-the-job training which is incorporated into the higher education curriculums, and in teacher, medical, and technical training.
The pattern of supervision of Soviet higher education is in conformity with the Soviet concept that education must be "linked with life.” It tends to develop higher schools that are responsive to short-range state economic and cultural plans, and to various shifts in the needs as defined by operating economic agencies of the State.
Soviet higher education has no equivalent to liberal arts education. Even the 39 Soviet universities, which enroll only about 10 to 15 percent of the total student body in higher schools, are concerned with the production of specialists. The current Soviet 7-year plan, for example, calls for almost doubling the number of engineering graduates during the 1959–65 period as compared with the preceding 7-year period.
The "plant-higher technical school” is also a new development in Soviet higher education. These schools, first established in 1960, are located within and are a part of major Soviet industrial plants. Their courses, combining regular studies with factory and specialized training, extend from 6 months to a year beyond the regular higher schools.
Part-time education, including evening and correspondence study, is the principal type of higher education in the U.S.S.R. Over 40 percent of Soviet higher students are in special correspondence programs, which have been the major source of increased enrollments in Soviet higher education for the past decade.