Education in Vyvland
Education in Vyvland is overseen by the Education Ministry and is compulsory from age 4 to age 18.
The educational system and curriculum in Vyvland are nationally controlled, although provinces control the logistics behind school placements and the creation and maintenance of schools. The curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education with recommendations from teachers’ unions, who vote on the introduction of new curricula.
Compulsory education is split into three types of school: ynfsgol (primary school), tyfsgol (secondary school) and werksgol (technical school), while optional tertiary education is divided into yniversitats (universities) and polyteniks (polytechnics).
In their last year at compulsory education, students can leave school-based education and study in an apprenticeship; about a fifth of students do this annually.
The monarchist North had a highly underfunded state school system with many private schools, but this has decreased since reunification, and as such only around 4% of students nationwide are currently enrolled in private schools. In the early 1980s, the Conservaive-Monarchist Northern government introduced a now-defunct voucher system to incentivise private school enrolment, which caused much unrest, and is seen as something of a trigger for the revolution and reunification of 1983. Private schools were illegal in the South, but have been opened, albeit sparingly, since reunification.
Homeschooling, although hotly debated in Vyvlander politics, is currently very tightly controlled and regulated, requiring parents to pass a series of exams, and is only permitted for students who would be severely disruptive to or impeded by placement in a school; however, schools for mentally disabled children do exist. 0.02% of children are homeschooled.
The school year starts on the last Monday in August, or the first Monday in September in some provinces.
* = Second national language also refers to English
Before age 4, education is optional although strongly advised and subsidised by the government. 87 percent of students admitted into primary school have been enrolled in some form of pre-primary education, though this number is rising. Pre-primary educational establishments are generally known as nurseries or juldaasen (child houses) and tend to last from age 2 to 5, although some provinces incorporate the final year into primary school.
The main focus of juldaasen is to establish basic personal and social skills with classmates, and to develop foundational literacy and numeracy skills. It is compulsory to learn one language (usually Vyvlander, also English and Dutch) in juldaas along with maths, while artistic and physical education are also mandatory. Studies show that students who have attended juldaasen perform noticeably better in later education than those of similar backgrounds who did not go to a juldaas.
Primary schools are called ynfsgols and last from age 5 to 11. In the former South, most are divided into neferynfsgol (infant school) from 5 to 8 and oberynfsgol (junior school) from 8 to 11.
During the nefer stage of ynfsgol nationwide, children study a broader range of subjects, with a second national language (Dutch or Vyvlander, but with non-national English the most common choice of the three), history, geography, IT and music added to the curriculum. However, the main difference is the formality of the education; children move into structured lessons and a daily routine. Science is mainly practical and basic, while humanities are covered in basic detail and often interactively or creatively. The second national language is learnt informally through chatting and lessons in the language.
The ober stage sees the addition of religious education and a foreign language (often Geadish, Luziycan, Namorese, or Nevan) added to the curriculum, as well as more formal education in science, history and geography. By this point, education has become strongly academic in focus, although there is still little examination of pupils. The informal teaching of technology and cookery helps to prepare students for practical education at a technical school should they so choose.
Secondary Tyfsgols are also divided into nefer and ober stages, with the first lasting from 11 to 14 and the second lasting from 11 to 15 or 16. Nefertyfsgol sees the first subject-specific teaching, while foreign language learning becomes more rigorous. Science is split into biology, chemistry and physics and becomes more theoretical in nature.
The ober stage of tyfsgol is the first where optional or elective subjects may be picked, although it is still compulsory for students to take classes in their first language, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language. On top of this, students generally pick two to four optional subjects, which are studied for minor exams at 15 or 16. Students may stay on at tyf school for the rest of their education, or may move to vocational schools, which are more profession-orientated. In this case, the exams taken at age 15 are more rigourous.
After taking tyf exams, around a third of students enter vocational schools. At 17, they may enter the workforce in the form of an apprenticeship, or choose to stay in education at vocational school, which often leads to study at a polytechnic.
However, the more common path than vocational education is to stay on at tyf school to prepare for Abejyr and tertiary education. In their three years, the students study a mix of optional and compulsory subjects, in their last eighteen months narrowing down to three to six optional courses. Course content is set by the Vyvlander Examination Authority (VEK) for a range of optional subjects. Otherwise, teaching must include maths, some kind of science or humanity and some kind of language (Vyvlander, Dutch, English or foreign) at a basic level. All these can be studied in more depth for Abitur. Students finish their compulsory education by taking an Abejyr in their chosen subjects. Selection to university is in principle not related to passing or failure of these exams, but in practice the Abejyr sets a benchmark for admittance into many institutions. Education in state tyf and vocational schools is free, with free books and study material guaranteed by law; it is illegal for teachers to sell to their students except in the case of breaking or losing an old resource.
Tertiary education is split into the more vocational technicals and academic universities. Universities and technicals are free for all those who attain a pass in 3 or more Abejyr subjects, with subsidised university education for those who pass 2. Below this, university courses must cost no more than µ5,000 (~$10,000) per year.
Technicals are free for all Vyvlander residents, but low fees are charged for most foreign students. They tend to focus on profession-orientated courses, and are often more flexible.
There are 71 universities in Vyvland. The most prestigious are the Collegium Lorencis in Lorence, which was founded in 873, and the Vreusdi; the two often compete for accolades. Both have a proud historic tradition and are regarded as centres of learning nationally. The largest university is the Sarumian University in Vlud, which had 26,000 students in 2010. Universities have the ultimate choice on which courses they offer, but all courses must be approved by the University Moderation Board. The vast majority of universities operate their own matriculation exams as a key element to select students. Roughly 28% of Vyvlander adults hold a university degree, although this is much higher among the young and in the north.