Education in Questers

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Education in Questers
300px
Department of Education and Skills
Secretary of State for Education and Skills Oliver Moore
National education budget (2016)
Budget $264.7 billion (9.2% of GDP)($2,253 per capita)($12,880 per student)
General details
Primary languages English and Dansk
System type National
Current system since 1992
Literacy (2000)
Total 99%
Male 99%
Female 99%
Enrollment
Total n/a
Primary 99.9%
Secondary 99.8%
Post secondary 23%
Attainment
Secondary diploma 95%
Post-secondary diploma 25% (of 21 year olds, Bachelors or Technical Graduate or above)

Education in Questers is fully controlled and funded by the state, without any private education available. Private education was made illegal in 1992 and religious education in 1994. The Questarian education system is mandatory between the years of 4 and 18, and consists of four parts: state-funded childcare for babies and toddlers; Infant and Junior Schooling for 4-10 year olds; Senior Schooling for 11-16 year olds, and a further/higher education for 16-22 year olds, which is differentiated by academic and vocational education, culminating in University or Technical College. After certain stages of education, all males who pass a physical test are conscripted for two to three years; the Questarian post-secondary education system includes basic military training, spread out over four years, after which male graduates who do not enter the civil service or intelligence agencies are conscripted as Subalterns. Education is administered entirely by the Department of Education and Skills, and the relevant Goverment cabinet minister, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. The current Secretary of State is currently Oliver Moore.

The Questarian education system's main aims are equality between students and outstanding academic outcomes, with particular focus on fostering academic success in young learners. Real spending on education has risen year on year since 1991, and most students get free meals and free transport to school. Questers, which has regular shortages of tropical fruits, reserves almost all of its imports of oranges and bananas for children. Questarian schools include special needs students, do not stream, and provide extra attention for students who need to catch up. Teachers at every level receive the highest salaries in Alisna relative to average income after tax, and have proportionately higher requirements. Education is a right enshrined in Article 4 of the Questarian constitution.

Tertiary education, which is called Post Secondary Education (PSE) is divided between Technical Colleges and Universities. There are currently 42 Universities and 110 Technical Colleges, which often focus on specific subjects. PSE, like other stages, is completely free, and the state provides generous grants to students. In 2016, 33% of those who passed Senior School went on to PSE; 71% of these graduates went to Technical Colleges and 28% to Universities, with the last 1% going to foreign Universities.

Questarian education, especially primary education, was poorly ranked in the 1980s; most international organisations rated Questers education system below those of developing Wilassian countries like Rochehaut and Guurdalai. Since that time, education rankings have steadily increased, with Questarian education rivaling that of more developed Alisnan nations. In 2011, Questarian students ranked first in the world for mathematics, which is the first time Questers has topped an educational leaderboards. In 2017, Questers was awarded a 0.909 on the Education index, the third-highest in Maredoratica.

History

Questers did not have universal education until 1945, when the government raised mandatory elementary schools until the age of 11, to teach children numeracy and literacy. School became mandatory until the age of 16 in 1951, but it was not made totally free until 1967. The early 1950s saw an extension of technical colleges, and the government provided some subsidies for students to attend up to the age of 16. The Education Act 1975 rationalised state education and made education to the age of 16 mandatory, and provided grammar schools for academics and technical schools for vocational subjects. The Universities Act 1978 made university education free but was abolished and replaced with a student loans system in 1984. The 1991 Questarian Revolution made education a constitutional right, reformed the education system and banned private education, and made all education completely free at all levels.

Since 1991, the Questarian government has pursued a policy of prioritising both Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages and Physical Education for the whole education system. The state provides subsidised-price laptops to students from the age of 9 onwards; competitions are held annually for Programming, Network Security (Hackathlon) and computer hardware problem solving, and in recent years these have even been televised. In Universities and Technical Colleges, comparatively few places are reserved for the Arts and Humanities. Physical education and sports are mandatory for a student's whole educational life, and almost every sport has a national schools championship; Questarian students also compete internationally. In terms of language, a Modern Foreign Language, which is either French or Nordic (a mix of Dansk, Gallan, Sondsteadish and Varnian) is mandatory at all stages of education, including University. The number of students who could speak a second language on graduation has risen from 2.5% in 1990 to 40% in 2017.

Schedule

Early Learners
Age Programme Abbreviation
0–3 People's Creche Creche
3-4 Pre-school PS
Infant School
4-5 Reception R
5-6 Year 1 R+
6-7 Year 2 R++
Junior School
Age Year Form
7-8 Year 3 First Form
8-9 Year 4 First Form
9-10 Year 5 Second Form
10-11 Year 6 Second Form
Senior School
Age Year Form
11-12 Year 7 Third Form
12-13 Year 8 Third Form
13-14 Year 9 Fourth Form
14-15 Year 10 Fifth Form
15-16 Year 11 Fifth Form
Sixth Form
Age Year Form
16-17 Year 12 Sixth Form
17-18 Year 13 Sixth Form

The Questarian school year begins in September, the exact date being decided by the County Schools Board, and ends in June, with a long summer holiday. There are two half-term breaks for one week in October and February, a three week break at the end of April and beginning of May, and a two week break over New Year and Christmas. Universities have more freedom to set term dates, but broadly follow the school system.

Childcare

While the mandatory school age begins in the September in which a child is 4 years old, the state offers childcare and pre-school services from birth, under the People's Creche system and Pre-schools. These programs are optional, but in 2016 more than half of Questarian parents applied for their children to enter the People's Creche. Another quarter sent their children to local communal creches.

Infant and Junior Schooling

Infants and junior school lasts between the age of four to eleven. The first year, {{Wp|Reception (school)|Reception}, is the first year of mandatory schooling, and inducts all children who will become four in the year that it begins. In each year from One to Six, students learn more and more difficult topics, including modern foreign language, which begins in Year One; infants and junior students are divided into three distinct stages: R, First, and Second Forms, where their progress is monitored, although they are not tested. Middle school does not exist in Questers.

Primary school teachers are usually the best paid and most qualified in Questers. Since the mid 1990s, the state has recognised primary education to be the most important stage of education, and as such, primary schools receive disproportionate resources. Although they provide elementary education in literacy, numeracy, and science, the other major goal of primary education is to mould students to become effective learners and to enjoy education.

Senior Schooling

The first two years of Senior School make up the Third Form, in which pupils learn basic knowledge, discover the basic social rules and receive sex education. They prepare academically for the following forms. In Year 9 pupils progress to the Fourth Form, where they advance academically and prepare for the academic rigour of the Fifth Form.

The last two years of Senior School are known as the Fifth Form. In these two years students study general topics designed to stream them into the Sixth Form. There are twelve mandatory subjects, and at the end of the Fifth Form, and the end of Senior School, students must choose six subjects to continue into the Sixth Form. English, Mathematics, and a Modern Foreign Language remain mandatory, so in reality they only choose three subjects to continue to. The twelve subjects are:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Foreign Language (French OR Czech)
  • Modern Foreign Language 2 (Nordic languages OR Czech)
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Information Communication Technology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Sociology & Critical Studies
  • Arts

Physical education is not treated as a subject, and is mandatory for all ages of education, including university. Questers does not have standardised testing at any level in Senior School.

Post Secondary Education

Sixth Form

In the Sixth Form, which is comprised of Year 12 and Year 13, students sit the National Final Examination, which is administered over two exam terms for each year, in the six subjects chosen from the Fifth Form. Final grades are always 50% examination and 50% coursework or investigation. Each term awards 25 points, so that in each subject the student receives a final score out of 100. An A is 80% and a C is 60%. The overall score, out of 600, is often cited as the Final Score. In Year 13, students apply for University or prepare for military service.

The current Education Act 2015 mandates one hour per week minimum physical education and one half hour per week political education for Sixth Form students. The act was amended in 2015 to remove one half per week of political education and replace it with a half hour of citizenship and ethics education, which includes controversial topics such as consent classes and less controversial topics such as ethics courses on the environment.

Technical Schools

Students who do not go to to Sixth Form may continue instead to a Technical School, where they study and work towards gaining a National Technical Qualification (NTQ). Students spend between two and four years at a Technical School, with each year increasing the value of the NTQ, from Level 1 to 3. After graduating, students are guaranteed a one year apprenticeship in their desired trade. There is a more controlled stream, divided into years, for Technical Schools:

Years 1 and 2: Engineering, Management, Physioscience, Personal services, Public services, Catering, Computer technology
Year 3: Specific stream for Year 1/2 course:
Year 4: Final Graduating Project

In Years 1 and 2, students spend four days of the week at school and one day working; in Year 3 this moves up to three days of the week at school and two working, and in the fourth and final year, the week extends to three days at school and three days working. After completion of Technical School, a student can either move straight to the workplace via a guaranteed apprenticeship, or continue to a Technical College. It is possible to move to University after completion of four years in a Technical School.

Higher Education

University of Pembroke main campus.

The subjects belonging to the vocational (technical college) and academic (university) stream of the education system is not static and changes over time; as of 2017, technical colleges were responsible for educating individuals in subjects like management, administration, applied science and most life sciences, computer science, engineering and so on. Universities were responsible for subjects like law, the arts, humanities and social sciences, theoretical science and mathematics, economics, education and others.

Individual medical schools, not related to the stream system, exist for medicine. There are also independent schools, which are typically prestigious, for certain subject such as the Jesselton School of Foreign Relations and the Jesselton School of Applied Mathematics which take students from either streams of education and tend to place graduates in high-ranking positions: 90% of all direct-selection graduates came from independent schools in 2016.

For students who have not been part of the military, both technical colleges and universities provide 30 days per year basic military training to prepare their graduates for positions as warrant officers of field officers. Physical education is also mandatory for students of both streams: the Education Act mandates at least two hours minimum per week.

Technical Colleges

Questers currently has 110 Technical Colleges (or Technical Institutes, or Observatories) which provide higher education and award three types of qualification; Technical graduate (Tgr.), Technical master (Tmr.) and Technical doctor (Tdr.). Technical graduates usually study for four years; a technical masters course is usually two years and a technical doctors course is of indefinite time, until awarded by the College. Most technical colleges are co-educational.

Universities

Questers currently has 42 universities which award Bachelor and Masters degrees, and Doctorates. Universities are not typically co-educational, with strict physical limits inside the university grounds for men and women. Most universities are also boarding, so that students live on-campus during the school term. University students go to a university not in their home town and meet and network with students from around the country.

Conscription

All males above the age of eighteen must serve in the uniformed services: the military forces, fire brigade, or police, unless they receive a special opt-out or if they volunteer for the Navy. Students at Technical Schools enter the services after their second year, or after their third or fourth year depending if they take those years. In some cases, the army (and only the army) allows students to enter the military after Technical College, if the skills they learn there would be beneficial to the military. Conscripts from technical schools become privates, whereas conscripts from Technical College, if allowed, become either warrant officers in technical positions or field officers. Only 1.5% of Technical College graduates entered as officers in 2017.

Students who finish sixth form may opt to enter the services straight away and serve for two years at the lowest rank, and then proceed to university, or enter after graduating from university and serve as an officer for four years. Since service in the officer corps is considered good for networking, in 2015 more than 50% of university graduates became officers; since the system was instituted in 1995 the number of individuals who choose to become an officer after university rather than a conscript before has risen.

A Longmarine Leopard of the all-womens Territorial Air Defence Reserve. TADR pilots are all female graduate conscript officers.

Women are exempt from conscription. However, all women are obliged to spend a certain amount of days in the year during university education as a public service volunteer, or to translate those days to one year after graduation. The options depend upon the university, but nationally the most common are the National Assistance for Schools Program, which puts women volunteers in schools as teaching assistants, and the Territorial Air Defence Reserve, which trains female fighter pilots as reservists. 70% of women in higher civil service management positions were members of the Air Reserve. Reserve Flight Captain Nicola White broke a world record for flight ceiling of an aircraft in the year 2000 when she brought her Longmarine Leopard interceptor jet to 86,000 feet (26,000 metres).

Direct selection

Some government services, research bureaus, and trade unions with shortages of very skilled labourers can choose to directly select a graduate, allowing them to avoid conscription. This was more common in the 1990s, but in the 21st-century, as the number of skilled labourers has increased, the numbers have fallen; since 2010 no more than 4% of students in any year were taken for direct selection: in 2015 the number was 0.9%.

Communist influence

File:Questarian youth together logo.png
Young Questarians together logo.

The Questarian Communist Party influences the education system in two major ways: firstly through the National Teachers Union, which all teachers have to be a member of, and through youth organisations, which are voluntary, although only the Communist Party's youth groups are allowed, and it is impossible to join the Communist Party without first moving through its youth groups. Foreign observers and defectors report that success in life is tied to the membership of the Communist Party and also membership of its youth groups, and criticise the influence that these groups have on children, accusing the state of indoctrination.

Proponents deny the claims of indoctrination, instead focusing on the positive aspects of the Communist youth organisations. The Young Communists and Pioneers, or YCP, is the first youth organisation, allowing children from the age of 6-14. It provides youth clubs, outdoor education and recreational outdoor trips, and afterschool clubs for sports and music where members can learn and practice sports and music for free. The Questarian Cadets is a continuation of the YCP, which students can graduate to at age 14. As well as the activities included in in the Pioneers, the Cadets main purpose is the Social and Cultural Development Program which aims to mould its members into "A responsible, culturally aware and socially noble new Socialist youth." Members are introduced to classical Questarian culture such as theatre, opera and other forms of higher culture typically reserved for the bourgeoisie. Both Cadets and Pioneers provide summer camps for their members.

The Young Questarians Together! organisation builds on the social and cultural development from the Cadets, providing explicit political education, group community service, and assists in preparing the youth for military service. Together! offers members in very high standing the chance to travel overseas as part of a Questarian travel group, either on a formal visit (i.e. to a friendly Communist youth organisation) or as part of a group of backpackers exploring another country. The visits are fully funded by the Communist Party and based on merit and party loyalty. Other than these activities, Together! assists students in gaining places at universities, apprenticeships and internships, and puts them in touch with senior figures who can assist them. Upon graduation from Together!, a person may apply to join the Communist Party.

Organisation Age-group Motto Purpose and activities
Young Communists and Pioneers (YCP) 6-14 Sports, youth activism, outdoor education
Questarian Cadets (Cadets) 14-18 The young can do anything! "Social and cultural development", sports, youth activism, outdoor education
Young Questarians Together! (YKT, Together!) 18-25 Together, a brighter future Political education, community service, military service

Teachers

In 2016, Questers had 5.11 primary school teachers and 7.5 secondary school teachers per 1,000 peopole. Since the 1999 Education Act, which reformed teacher training, the state has directed resources into training better quality teachers, rather than decreasing class sizes. Teachers in Questers are comparatively the best paid in Alisna; both secondary and primary school teachers are within the 80th-85th income percentile. Primary school teachers graduate from university with a Combined Bachelors and Masters in Education (Cbm. Ed); Secondary school teachers must study their chosen subject and then do a Masters in Education (M. Ed). Teachers of all types must leave Young Questarians Together! with at least the Badge of Merit before becoming fully qualified teachers.

Training colleges

Teacher training colleges provide one year training to new teachers, and teachers may regularly apply for courses at training colleges in order to learn new skills and techniques. Passing new courses at Teacher training colleges is a requirement to both pay grade increase and promotion. Training colleges also run courses on how to teach ethics and citizenship and also political courses.

National Teachers Union

The National Teachers Union is the trade union for teachers; it is a closed shop, so membership is mandatory to become a teacher. The National Teachers Union is the eighth-largest union in Questers and sends 35 delegates to the Trades Union Congress. It is traditionally thought of as one of the most militant Communist trades union, especially as movement through the ranks of the Communist youth organisations is required.

See also