With the UK government thrashing around a hugely unpopular forced privatisation of the country’s entire school system, removing oversight and accountability from parents and local government in favour of opaque academy chains, it’s a good time to look at education.
The quality, methods and control of education in your society can tell us a lot about the society itself, and the way that citizens are taught to act and the knowledge they have. Do citizens have a broad knowledge of the world around them, or are they just trained for a single economic function? Do all people have a similar level of access to education, or does one group get more than another?
Example: Candara goes to school at the Ministerium. Here she is taught, alongside the other peasant children of Delanteria, how to read and write, mathematics, history, and the Doctrine of the Faithful. Delanteria’s children are very fortunate. In the neighbouring city-state of Egris, the children do not learn such things. They cannot read the holy texts, and do not know the history of the Egrisian governors’ failures and heresies. The Egrisians probably believe that their city-state is on par with Delanteria. How misguided they are.
Here we can see a state-controlled religious schooling system. It appears to be specifically designed to indoctrinate children, and spread pro-government propaganda. Candara and the other peasant children are raised to believe absolutely that the Doctrine of the Faithful is the only way of living, that the neighbouring city-state are ignorant uneducated heathens and their government are impotent, heretical fools.
An interesting aspect of Delanteria is that this indoctrinating, propagandising system appears to only apply to the lower orders. It speaks of a rigid class system, whereby the nobles have access to an entirely separate schooling system. What differences might there be in these two different education systems? Might the nobles be taught to be commanding and manipulative, while the lower classes are taught to be subservient and hardworking? What effects might this have on society?
Example: Frydrik’s holoclass was on the blink. This was a problem. Frydrik’s final examinations were coming up, and if his holoclass was going to continue to short out at random, he’d have no chance of passing. That meant no diploma. No way to attend the Lunar College. No way to get the hell off Earth. He couldn’t afford a new holoclass; he had spent every credit of his mother’s bequest on this second-hand piece of junk. He needed to pass, or else he’d be stuck here forever. Stuck in his father’s footsteps scraping grain out of poisoned soil. He needed to pass.
Here we can see a society where education is viewed as a vital prerequisite for careers other than manual labour and subsistence farming. However, it also shows an education system which is already accessible to those who can afford huge costs which most are not able to pay.
What lengths might Frydrik go to in order to complete his education? Might he steal someone else’s holoclass, else agree to break the law in order to get his own repaired? Since education in this society is the most important factor in a person’s life chances, he might do whatever it takes to pass.
How are the people in your society educated? Does everyone get the same education, or different? Does everyone have access to education, or just the lucky few?