Education in Caphiria
Education in Caphiria is provided in public and private environments. The imperial education system took its present form at the start of the 19th century, at the culmination of Emperor Magnus' federal reforms. In its original manifestation, it was a reflection of classical pedagogy, employed for over 1300 years, and of Platonic thought. Along the latter lines, the Senate and Imperator recognized that the education of the young largely determined the state of adults; For the Imperium to possess healthy, sane and productive citizens, the concept of arete (excellence) needed to be cultivated early.
The Ministry of Education sets overall educational standards, though private schools are generally free to determine their own curriculum and staffing policies, with mandatory accreditation and regulation from the Ministry. This allows for more "creative" and "third wave" educational systems to have the chance to develop on top of the already established educational standards. By law, education is compulsory over the age of 3 and ends at 16. The public education system in Caphiria is highly complex and segmented, operated jointly by provincial and local governments. The educational stages are: Children's School (discatorium), Core Education (regulatorium), University (universalis), and Academy (Academiae).
Education in Caphiria is split into two: compulsory and non-compulsory education. Compulsory education consists of discatorium (children's school) and Core Education (regulatorium). Non-compulsory education takes the form of secondary education (agnatumaticus) and the higher education of academies (academiae) or universities (universales).
From age 3 to age 9, children are enrolled in the discatorium (children's school). It is here that students are introduced to the first Caphirian educational philosophy, the Acelector-Magnis program. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum. At its core is an assumption that children form their own personality during early years of development and are endowed with "a hundred languages", through which they can express their ideas.
The second and final phase of compulsory education is Core Education (regulatorium), covering age 10 to 16. In early core school, students will learn Caphirian history, basic geography, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, logic, basic chemistry, mechanics, electrostatics, music, ethics, cellular biology, basic micro and macro economics, epistemology and Latin reading, writing and literary analysis.
Once a student completes their final exam (Matura) around age 16, they are technically finished with compulsory education and are given two options with how to progress with their education: they may elect to enroll in advanced courses in calculus, international economics, Caphirian and international politics, anatomy, modern physics, industrial chemistry, biochemistry, metaphysics, manual work or other languages, or they may choose to continue into voluntary secondary education (agnatumaticus). Both are optional and add an additional two or four years respectively to the compulsory educational experience.
Secondary education is divided into three specialized tractum, or pathways: the tractus pacello is a mostly theoretical education, with a specialization in a specific field of studies (humanities, science, languages, or art); the tractus arbonam offers both a wide theoretical education and a specialization in a specific field of studies (e.g.: economy, humanities, administration, law, technology, tourism), often integrated with a three/six months internship in a company, association or university during the last semester. The third pathway is the tractus potentia, which offers a form of secondary education oriented towards practical subjects (engineering, agriculture, gastronomy, technical assistance, handicrafts), and enables the students to start searching for a job as soon as they have completed their studies. This pathway is popular for those who want to continue onto higher education but want to graduate a year earlier than normal.
Higher education is done in academies (academiae) or universities (universales), whether one wants to receive an Academic Degree and become a Doctor (PhD) or not respectively. While attending core school is compulsory for all citizens, higher education can be avoided in order to take an apprenticeship in manual work. At this level, courses are distinguished into the classical branches of philosophy. Graduating as a doctor in ones field is not only prestigious but beneficial for one's career as well. Modern lawyers, senators, medical doctors, scientists, generals and economists are almost unanimously doctores. There's no distinct school system for medicine or law as these already have academies like other subjects.
The discatorium (children's school) is Caphiria's compulsory nursery school. The educational curriculum is the same for all pupils and based off of the Acelector-Magnis philosophy, although one can attend a private or state-funded school, the subjects studied are the same (with the exception of special schools for the blind or the hearing-impaired).
The Acelector-Magnis philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:
Children must have some control over the direction of their learning; Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, and observing; Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that they must be allowed to explore; Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves. The Acelector-Magnis way of teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the center of its philosophy. In this approach, there is a belief that children have rights and should be given opportunities to develop their potential. Children are considered to be “knowledge bearers”, so they are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas about everything they could meet or do during the day. “Influenced by this belief, the child is beheld as beautiful, powerful, competent, creative, curious, and full of potential and ambitious desires." The child is viewed as being an active constructor of knowledge. Rather than being seen as the target of instruction, children are seen as having the active role of an apprentice. This role also extends to that of a researcher.
Much of the instruction at discatori takes place in the form of projects where they have opportunities to explore, observe, hypothesize, question, and discuss to clarify their understanding. Children are also viewed as social beings and a focus is made on the child in relation to other children, the family, the teachers, and the community rather than on each child in isolation. They are taught that respect for everyone else is important because everyone is a “subjective agency ” while existing as part of a group.
Caphirian children can expect no longer than six hours in school per day, much of which is spent in supervised playtime outside or in a youth gym. Exercise is encouraged with competitive games and a variety of play structures. Fighting between kids is tolerated since serious injury is almost impossible and the parents are responsible for the actions of their children so the school is immune from litigation for anything done by other children. During meals, nature and history videos are displayed to familiarize students with such things. The central subjects of children's school are grammar, geometry, and ethics.
Every child is enrolled in a class with other children born within the same one or two months. This is done in in accordance to the Acelector-Magnis philosophy. A rigid curriculum is imposed on instructors so that any discatorium follows a national format. There are no private discatorium; all discatoria are public although anyone is permitted private tutors.
After their final session, children take a final ungraded exam (Matura) to graduate from the discatorium without pomp to a new method of instruction. The Acelector-Magnis philosophy has created a solid psychological and physiological basis for further education. The lax style of learning fades into compulsory classes and more academic material is introduced.
At age 10, students enter regulatorium (core education). Here students are given a basic education in Latin, English, mathematics, natural sciences, history, geography, social studies, and physical education. Some schools also have Cartadanian or Istroyan, musical arts and visual arts.
The first year of core education is spent on physical and musical education. The curriculum is a simple progression from games to athletic training, such as long-distance running and wrestling, and musical training. An educated and well-balanced Caphirian 11-year old is able to run 2 km, lift 10 kg and play one instrument and by their final year should be able to run 5 km, lift 50 kg and play at least two instruments well. Athletic and musical training persist through the final core years, remaining an integral part of the education system until the age of 16, after which children have become citizens and may pursue health however they see fit. Opportunities to play music are ample in the final year of core school since those students can freely mentor younger students.
Science is a large educational component the core school, with exposure to how the natural world functions beginning as early as 10 with mechanical toys and demonstrations. These demonstrations and games become more personal with each passing year, with students learning about measuring units and then actual scientific knowledge. This knowledge builds into the foundation of the mathematics of motion (kinematics). Chemistry and biology are introduced in similar fashions, though later on than physics. By the time they graduate, students get how living things can be taxonomically categorized, have an intuition for the pH scale, grasp that everything is constantly chemically interacting with other things and know the animal body is a complex machine. Details are not given in the compulsory classes.
Midway through their core education, students: are well acquainted with arithmetic, understand basic geometry with some applications, have an intuition for the motion of objects in gravity (e.g. pendulums, rolling, bouncing, sliding), have rudimentary Latin writing skills for expressing ideas, can empathize with their fellow man, have a notion of duty to others, understand that other people are to be treated as ends not means, and are starting to familiarize themselves with variables. Caphirians recognize that these are skills that will be necessary for any functioning member of society - syntax, for expressing thoughts; mathematics, for managing money; and ethics, for cooperating with other citizens.
The lessons at the end of the core education are somewhat more liberal than the preceding years. Mathematics shifts focus to algebra but students are not taught how to solve algebraic problems. The basic theory of solving for a numerical value of a variable is taught at first then students are given one or more problems to solve individually each lesson. The system is designed to foster independent problem solving skills and avoid rote memorization. Moral lessons similarly shift to answering ethical problems. Students are presented with ethical dilemmas where they must evaluate what they should do. Like the algebraic problems, solutions are not given by teachers.
A wide variety of scientific information is available to most students in school libraries and by inquiring to science teachers to hear more. The understanding among lawmakers was that students do not learn well by compulsion and must be allowed to inquire out of interest. Having advanced knowledge, like that of calculus or organic chemistry, available but not forced onto students is seen by society as the best way to instruct the young. It is not until university, after the age of 17, that students learn the complexities of the sciences.
Entry into a universalis (university) often follows the core level of education - for students who do not want to enter an apprenticeship or are unable to join the academies. Here students can be instructed in courses that are within the classical branches of Caphirian philosophy. The result of 4-5 years in the university system - whose courses are homogeneous across the country - is a Universal Degree. A single degree declares all the fields of knowledge in which the receiver is fluent because of university education.
High intellectualism in the Imperium is monopolized by the Academy (Academiae). Leading the Academies of the Imperium are the Five Academies: First, the Academia Imperia Scientiae represents the scientific community; second, the Academia Augustana represents the legislators, lawyers and ethicists; third, the Academia Teslae represents the mathematicians and logicians; fourth, the Academia Lingua represents the linguists; and fifth, the Academia Galena represents practitioners of medicine. Since they are immersed in the work of educating people, the Academies have the power to decide national educational policy in their capacity as the Ministry of Upper Education. Praeministrum Eruditia (Most Educated One) is the highest intellectual position in the entire empire, the most respectable post to which academics can aspire outside pure politics.
The reward for an academic education is becoming certified as a Doctor (PhD) of a particular field. A doctorate is a requirement for careers in medicine, law, politics, teaching, research and commanding military office. These are the jobs that Caphirians believe need expertise to be properly performed.