Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 14 - Education

I've been trying to get back here for days, but other things keep coming up.

As I was exploring this idea a very interesting line of thinking occurred to me.

The Fidchin value knowledge and the sharing of knowledge among the highest of virtues. Accordingly, very early on in their history they established Academies for the collecting, archiving and sharing of information. Each clan had it's own academy and they were clan based rather than subject based. In the poorest clans it was something of an invisible college, but in the larger, more powerful clans it could be a building or several.

Whenever a craftsman or scientist reached the skill or knowledge level of master they were automatically invited to be a member of the academy. They would teach and share their knowledge and skill. They could also retire to the academy and become a professor.

This is where it got interesting, because I wondered about the organization of the Fidchin people if instead of being clan based they were academy based. I thought it would be very interesting if, after a few hundred years the academies became the ruling groups themselves and the clans died away. The academies would have to control things like banking and marriage and law, which seem a bit congruent, but that may be okay since the Fidchin don't care that much about all that.

The Fidchin aren't interested in power or in getting credit for knowledge, but in gaining more and sharing it all around, so the academies tend not to fall into the problems of the school systems of our world.

The academies started out a invisible colleges, grew into something like Plato's Academy, then into something like a national institution for controlling teaching and knowledge with actual teaching branches (much like the French system, and the National Academy of Sciences in the US). Eventually the clans became less important and the academies took over all the roles of government.

Then the Golchin influence started. The Golchin established a king among the Fidchin in 2100EG (500 years before the story began). They also forced hierarchical structure to the Fidchin government. The Fidchin don't really pay much attention to that, but there were Universities established under Golchin influence. The Universities are an attempt to stratify the teaching systems within the lands of the Fidchin. Universities were supposed to outrank High Schools which outranked Elementary Schools.

Currently there are three Universities in the land of the Fidchin, but they aren't any more than the highest level of the teaching branches of the academies in those provinces. They are still answerable to the academies.

In the Golchin lands the stratified schooling system is in place and functioning as the Golchin intended. There are three major universities there. They all have Fidchin professors with boards made up primarily of Golchin.

From early times Fidchin children were all expected to learn to read, write and do arithmetic up to multiplication and division. This would take about 2 to 4 years. They would learn through the academies.

After a time the schooling became more structured and a four year elementary education became mandatory for all Fidchin children, culminating in a test and a determination of where the child would best be placed for apprenticeship. A member of the academy who was a master would supervise the child's professional education from there. This included boys and girls and was based entirely on ability.

This still happens for the most part at the time of the story, but the schooling is longer and even more structured.

The Golchin influence on this process was to make appointment to the universities very prestigious and difficult to obtain. Appointments could be bought through money or political pressure. In Fidchin lands that very rarely occurs and it is more often the ability of the student that controls his/her higher education.

In Golchin lands this it is very true that only the highest born and brightest go to university. Think rich ivy-leaguers.

For the Fidchin, your education is your passport to your future. You become what you make of yourself and it is actually rare that a child will follow in the parents' profession.

For the Golchin education is just another mark of status, and/or a way of becoming better than your neighbor so you can overcome him and eventually outrank him. Children are born to their rank and only through overcoming others can they elevate themselves. School can help you learn better business or better military skills.

The Desert people follow a more traditional mediaeval system of apprenticeship. Children follow in their parents' professions. Rarely might a Desert child be adopted into a Fidchin academy (it would be based mainly on the child's abilities) or maybe be sold/bought into a Golchin household because of their ability or their parents' greed. The most common instances of Desert people attending Fidchin schools is when they are ships' officers. About half of the officers aboard Desert ships (air, sand and water ships) are Fidchin trained. All of the Desert officers of Golchin Royal Fleet ships are Fidchin trained, it's a requirement.

Fjordland people too follow the traditional mediaeval system of apprenticeship. They have too little contact with Wispollil to ever have any of their children attend any of the schools there.

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