January 8th, 2013

Elf

Nai's World: Education

This is the first background piece for the December Prompt Request.

The classical education system of the pre-invasion period was aimed at producing scholars well versed in philosophy, history and the literature greats of prose and poetry.  Sorcerers were also often trained in these fields but the extent of that training varied as sorcery was taught on an apprenticeship system with students bound to a master for many years from an early age.  The apprenticeship system was even more strongly entrenched in the trades, which led to a certain friction between scholars and sorcerers over issues of relative status with the two competing for dominant status in the eyes of each other and society as a whole.

Only the Solar Emperor, the reincarnating ruler of the country, was above these disputes as he was both a scholar and a sorcerer.

After the invasion, and practically at gunpoint, the invaders ‘guided’ the reshaping of the education system in their image.  A formal, government- run system of primary and secondary schools was created with education being compulsory for all children from the age of five to the age of sixteen.  Apprenticeships were altered so they could only begin once the minimum school leaving age was reached.

Teaching in all three levels of schooling is conducted face to face.  Primary school begins at age four or five and consists of seven grades which are normally completed at age eleven or twelve.  This is followed by secondary school, compulsory to the age of sixteen, which consists of a maximum of six grades.  A student who completes all six grades then sits a matriculation exam with which results it is then possible to apply for a place in an undergraduate course at a university tertiary school.  The tertiary system is complicated by the addition of technical schools initially supported, but now simply endorsed, by the trade guilds which are designed to supply the more sophisticated needs of the apprentice system.

For historical cultural reasons, the ‘classical scholar’ track of tertiary study is still the most prestigious one can undertake even though entry to top level public service administration positions are no longer dependent on passing and excelling in written examinations on philosophy, history and literature.

Sorcery appears in no curriculum at any level within the country but almost every child in the country studies gi for at least a year when they are six.  It simply does not occur within the school system.