The author considers »basic subject; matter« to be a new pedagogical category, which differs from the concept »subject matter« and is typical for a Socialist School. The problem of basic subject matter appeared, mainly, as a result of the immense development of science. This is common to both capitalist and socialist countries, but in the socialist countries the problem is made more acute by the fact that the socialist society wants to give all its membres without distinction the best possible, all-round education, and this society alone is also capable, by virtue of its structure and its educational system, of implementing this task.
The selection of basic subject matter is guided mainly by the principle of scientific approach and the principle of appropriateness, with scientific approach being the starting point for the selection, but appropriateness being the final criterion, for the possibilities of the individual human brain compared with the wealth of scientific knowledge accumulated by the collective efforts of all mankind are, in the long run, decisive. Consequently also the task of pedagogical science becomes more and more significant.
Unlike the complaint about »overburdening the pupils«, which characterizes both our former bourgeois school and the present-day school in capitalist countries, the problem of »basic subject matter« is a positive, constructive step forward.
The concept »basic subject matter« is broader than the concept »rudiments of sciences«, for it also includes the rudiments of art, technique, and Communist morale.
The concept »basic subject matter« is closer to the concept »teaching aim« than the mere concept »subject matter«, for in our school, which is characterized by the endeavour to prevent pupils from failing, the basic subject matter has the character of a plan which must be fulfilled as a whole by all pupils, even if the quality achieved is not the same with all pupils.
Furthermore, it comes closer to the category of skills and habits, for it concerns all the constituent parts of education, i. e. rational, physical, moral, aesthetic and polytechnical education. Therefore, the selection of basic subject matter concerns all subjects, and especially also the new polytechnical subjects. The author does not consi4er it possible that the selection of basic subject matter should concern only content subjects and that basic subject matter should include only verbal, textbook material, because our school requires besides knowledge also skills and habits. These requirements cannot remain without influence on the character of the subject matter in our school. »Basic subject matter« cannot contain skills directly, but‘ in the author’s opinion it must contain such forms of subject matter as to lead to the formation of skills. Fon this reason »basic subject matter« cannot be contained in textbooks only, but also in a broader selection of teaching aids, instruments and apparatus designed for the pupil.
For all these reasons the author comes to the conclusion that »basic subject matter« is a term which did not arise from a mechanical addition of the epithet »basic« to the term »subject matter«, but it is the name for a new pedagogical reality.