New Home - People and Culture
New Home's divided education system serves to perpetuate its caste hierarchy.
Children of the Favoured are educated privately, either individually or in small groups. Some may attend University on other worlds, but most attend business school or officer training before taking up managerial positions or careers in the armed forces.
Commoners are subjected to a wide variety of aptitude tests from an early age. They then attend schools where they each follow an intensive course tailored to their own strengths. Most specialise towards a particular discipline at the University level, and complete their education by about the age of 25.
Peons attend a parallel set of comprehensive-style schools, where technical subjects are emphasised along with academic. Most Peons leave school at 18, but many go on the same University education as the Commoners. This is the main path for Peons to rise to the Commoner caste, for this reason Peon children are encouraged to work hard at school. There is keen competition for University places.
Children of the Underclasses are free to attend the same Comprehensive schools as the Peons. Many do so, and thereby rise in station, although very few do well enough to proceed to University. Most Underclass children attend the so-called 'free schools'. These are unstructured vocational institutions, where the children choose their own classes. Most follow an interest in computer programming or the entertainment arts, but some choose academic subjects. The few scientists who emerge from the free schools tend to be amongst the most gifted. The Universities are keen to recruit them- many have made ground breaking discoveries and have gone of to head whole University departments.
All of New Home's various education systems are provided for free by the state. There is no compulsion for parents to educate their children, but the vast majority choose to do so.