Education in Karolia

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Compulsory education in Karolia lasts from ages 6-18 and is provided by the state at junior and middle schools, high school and college. Some private schools also exist but have to provide scholarships for a certain percentage of students. Between ages 3-6 children can attend half-day kindergarten which is funded by the state. The recognised standard of education is ranked at one of the highest in the world, despite the country having the fewest exams, short school day and a high percentage of the timetable devoted to creative subjects. Education is highly regarded in Karolia and the majority of students will complete a university or vocational degree. (Note: this article intentionally uses the term student rather than pupil as the Karolia word for the former implies the more dignified Classical ideal of the relationship between scholar and educator which is the aim of the system, as opposed to the latter which implies somebody needing to learn to make up for their ignorance).

Schools

The school term varies by state, but generally runs from late August to mid-December with three weeks of new year’s holiday and a mid-term break of two weeks, from January to April with three weeks of spring holiday and a mid-term break of two weeks and from May-July with a mid-term break of one week. The final two weeks of the summer term are usually devoted to sports and artistic productions. Summer holidays are around four to five weeks.

The schooling system is designed to provide a holistic education with broad assessments and few formal examinations. No quantified comparison between schools is permitted, and schools are able to set their own curricula provided it meets federal standards and includes all compulsory subjects. The school day runs from 10am-5pm to ease transport needs and to better match the sleep cycles of teenagers. Between 5-8pm most schools offer an evening meal and after school activities such as sports and music clubs, debating societies and free study facilities. Practically no Karolian schools have any kind of uniform, although basic dress codes may be found and students often wear clothing displaying some form of loyalty to the school, particularly surrounding sports teams. School buildings from the 1980s onwards are designed to minimise segregation of students in different year groups and to create a friendly and productive environment. At the same time, great investment has been made in the last 20 years in technology and it is common for students to be given individual laptops or tablets and have access to modern computing facilities and specialised equipment for drama, music and sciences. Programming is starting to be introduced to the curriculum.

Around 25% of the school timetable is given to ‘free creative’ time in which students study artistic and creative subjects. Additionally, students aged 11-18 work towards a series of free choice projects alongside exams as their assessments. As music is so highly regarded in Karolian life, most students learn an instrument and there are competitions between school ensembles. Schools aim to give equal weighting to traditional, art and popular musics.

Regular personal development seminars are held throughout the years of education to encourage the physical and mental well-being of students and to discuss issues and teach life skills. These are run by an individual from outside the school and not a class teacher in order to create a more relaxed atmosphere in which to raise topics such as sex education, politics and studying and personal issues. Additionally, visits to natural areas to appreciate the environment and learn about the landscape are a part of the extra-curricular activities, as are visits to museums, artistic performances and camping trips.

State exams only occur in years 9, 10 and 12 and are generally held in the spring term.

Many schools either provide free bus transport for students and/or cycle hire facilities. Driving lessons and cycling proficiency as well as rowing and sailing may also be included in the curriculum as extras.

Kindergarten (ages 3-6)

Parents are encouraged to send their children to attend kindergarten, which mainly focus on creative play and interpersonal development with some basic education in numeracy and literacy as well as cultural activities (drama, music). In practice the entry rate is nearly 100% of children due to the high percentage of working parents in the country.

Esimeneskool and Keskeminaskool (First school and Middle school)

Students between the ages of 6-14 typically attend schools containing age groups 6-10 and 10-14. They will study Karolian language and literature (with the addition of Romans, Kyori and Teps in some areas), Karolian or Romans drama, common foreign languages, mathematics, music, sport, sciences, art, geography, history, culture, cookery and technology. There are no exams until the final year of this grade. Schools in which there is a mixture of these stages are known as Vaikekool.

Ulikool (Higher School)

At age 14-16 students study between eight and twelve elective subjects (which must include Karolian/Romans, Mathematics, Sciences and a foreign language) and at this stage subjects such as religion, rhetoric and critical thinking, dance and drama, most foreign languages, politics, economics, engineering, law, business and media production become available in addition to those previously studied. Some Ulikoolid are old and prestigious institutions, and private ones may be selective via entrance examination, although the student fees are paid by the state to ensure all those of the required ability may enter.

Kollejia (College)

At ages 16-18 four or five subjects are taken, all of which are elective. A very wide range of subjects are on offer and colleges are free to devise their own courses provided they meet state requirements. These are assessed by a mixture of exams and coursework. There are specialist colleges for arts, music and technical subjects. Often a larger Ulikool will incorporate a Kollejia.


Higher education

University education, including postgraduate, vocational and arts college degrees, is free of charge, and students are paid a living grant, although students may not take a course at the same or lower level as one they have completed within five years.

Universities

The main universities in Karolia are those of Känton, Fontjäna, Kyor, Säntjana and Vasireii. Of these, Känton is the oldest whilst all but Säntjana and Kyor date from medieval times. Students study either a single subject or joint honours in various weightings, taking three years for a bachelor's degree, two for a Master's, and up to five for a doctorate. All main institutions offer a wide range of subjects, but in general, Känton is considered the main centre for History, Literature, Philosophy and Languages; Fontjäna for Music, Drama, other arts and biology; Säntjana for Medicine, Chemistry and Physics; Kyor for Mathematics and Engineering and Vasireii for Law. Karolia welcomes around 180,000 overseas students into its institutions every year, whilst a similar number of Karolian students spend one or more years overseas themselves through links with international universities.

Arts colleges

Several arts and music colleges operate in the country, often with close links to larger universities nearby. The Säntjana Academy, Säntjana College of Art, Vasireii Conservatory and Fontjäna School of Film and Theatre are the most notable alongside Kyor Arts School which specialises in the folk culture of the region.

Vocational University

Technical University and other institutions offering non-traditional subjects in more practical areas (chiefly management and business studies, but also sports and others) can be found in many towns and cities. These often have partnerships with traditional universities. Some traditional universities will offer vocational courses in addition to the academic studies found in older universities.

List of Higher Education institutes in Karolia

  • University of Säntjana
  • University of Fontjäna
  • Känton University
  • Kyor University
  • Vasireii University
  • Vasireii Technical Academy
  • Paliiso University
  • Gorjee University
  • Gorjee Technical College
  • University of Osmila
  • University of Lapise
  • JKU Torjasmaa University
  • KAS University Jorva
  • Karolian College of Music
  • Säntjana Academy of Music
  • Säntjana College of Art
  • Vasireii Conservatory
  • Vasireii School of Arts
  • Fontjäna Music Academy
  • Fontjäna School and Film and Theatre
  • Kyor Arts School
  • Kyor State Academy of Music
  • Karolian Academy of Science and Medicine
  • Känton Music Academy

Traditions and customs

Public Service Day

Public Service Day (11th November) is a public holiday and is traditionally marked in institutions the school day before. Students often give presents to teachers and staff. Sometimes an event is held to raise money for a charity working for the good of public servants.

Leaving customs

Students often create yearbooks containing pictures and messages from their classmates. Sometimes these are organised by the school and an official publication is available to buy, but students often organise their own.

Eating a particular variety of mari dish on the last day is supposed to bring good fortune to the student.

High school and college students traditionally had food or water fights on the last day. These have largely been prohibited on school premises but often still occur either in official places or illicitly in nearby parks and fields.

Apparel

A maalaatanuta jacket
Whilst almost no schools have an official uniform, displays of loyalty to an institution are common amongst students' clothing. Many schools offer items with the crest or lettering on, and there are also a good deal of home-made creations too. The most elaborate and characteristic of these is the maalaatanuta, which can be based on almost anything but is usually a jacket with a thick enough surface to paint on. Students will often spend a considerable amount of time devising and creating a design which is then traditionally hand-painted, mostly on the back but also other areas. The designs are varied but are usually colourful and most often feature some or all of:
  • the students' nickname
  • the school or college
  • sports-style numbers indicating the year of joining or leaving, often with imagery inside them
  • a student's siikesilla design
  • portraits
  • natural or floral arrays, or animals

Of course, some students are more artistically talented than others, so they may either find an off-the shelf customisable design, or pay an art student to create one for them. Maalaatanuta are often as highly prized as siikesillas.