Education within the Imperium is poor, a huge number of citizens are totally illiterate and live in a perpetual state of ignorance. Ultimately, while the Imperium tries to educate citizens to at least a basic level it lacks the resources to do so; the Adeptus Administratum does not bother itself with such things and instead, as a result of the evolution of their role as spiritual guides of the Imperial population, most education is handled by the Adeptus Ministorum and the Adepta Sororitas, the representatives of the Imperial Cult. The Imperium favours a degree of ignorance amongst the populace and seeks only to teach them enough to protect their souls and to enable them to work the jobs they are assigned. Only particularly bright lowborn have much of a chance of a better education than this.
The majority of lowborn citizens will never attend a sanctioned ‘Schola’, their education will likely be handed down via their local community in the form of battered educational pict-books and vid-tapes. The Adeptus Ministorum, especially the Missionarius Galactica, are keen to bring education to as many lowborn as they can, especially in the Prosperitas Sector where many Prosperan natives are not educated in the Imperial creed.
All Schola must be sanctioned by the Imperium: operating an unsanctioned schola is a criminal offence of the highest order as ‘falsely educating’ individuals further than prescribed Ministorum curriculae is considered a moral threat to the souls of Imperial Citizens. Schola tend to take the names of the founding member of the Priest or Soror that created them, such as Celestian Angelique’s Schola for the Perpetual Enlightenment or Warden-Bishop Herrick’s Schola for the Poor. The quality of these places vary, most Schola for lowborn citizens tend to be repurposed hab blocks, whereas a Schola where most of its attendees pay coin to the Faith to attend might have its own specially built facilities.
The Curriculae of the Ministorum provide a decent level of education about the Imperial Faith and the accepted History of the Imperium, before focusing on skills that will aid the average citizen in their daily life such as basic mathematics, reading and writing. Students are held to high standards and discipline is considered acceptable; regular, well performing students may receive further education in specialised job roles to prepare them for service to one of the Adeptus Terra, but these vary depending on the needs of the region the Schola is in. Smart students in an industrial sector might be given further education in skilled job roles within the manufactorums, whereas on an agri-world they might be educated in more complex farming machinery.
Citizens on wealthier worlds or living in wealthier regions of their homeworld may enjoy a better range of classes should they show promise but this simply amounts to access to a choice of which branch of the Adeptus Terra that they are prepared for service in. The Imperium views a generalist further education as dangerous and unnecessary for citizens to perform their dutiful service to the God Emperor.
It is rare for Noble Scions to be educated at a Schola, as they have access to private tuition from the Ministorum and the Sisters Famulous of the Adepta Sororitas – their educated prepares them to rule and is no less restrictive then what is taught to lower citizens. Some Noble Scions may go on to be educated for roles within the leadership of various branches of the Adeptus Terra, should it be deemed they will be of better service to their name by serving outside their House.
When talking about one’s school, social etiquette demands a Citizen should refer to it by its name alone; referring to ‘The Schola’ implies that an individual has been educated by the Schola Progenium, and is a social faux pas with the students of those that rarely goes unaddressed.
The Schola Progenium
Of all the myriad places of education run by the Adeptus Ministorum, the Schola Progenium are where the most prestigious students of the Imperium graduate from, or so their graduates, the Progena, will tell you.
Places of education and orphanages, the Schola began life as simply the Imperial Orphanage system, but after their reformation in the Age of Apostasy they were converted into a place where the Imperial elite are educated and raised. To attend one must be an orphan, the intake of the Schola usually ends around ten years old but it has been known to take older when they need to make exceptions.
There are millions of orphans created every day in the Imperium, however, and the Schola does not take them all, a Schola Progenium education is an expense lavished only on the worthy. The Orphans taken into the Schola are the children of martyrs, scions of extinct noble lines and a select few who show unique talent and promise, they are sponsored by the Imperium because the Imperium believes them to be worthy of being sculpted into the Imperial elite.
Because of the young age of its students, the Scholam serves as a place of indoctrination: the children here are raised without loyalty to house, without loyalty to world – their only loyalty instilled in them from the beginning of their education to the end, is in the Throne and the Imperium.
Schola are grim and serious places designed to prevent students from frivolous distraction, though children are still children, and focused upon their education. Discipline for Schola students is harsh and unforgiving; they are held to the highest standards and the best is expected from them. When they fail the punishments meted out are designed to ensure they do not repeat their mistakes.
Despite the harsh regime under which Progena have to live, the level of physical and mental training afforded to them makes them some of the most highly educated and physically readied people in the Imperium.
Each Progena regardless of their final career path will have a functioning knowledge of the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy and the Imperial Creed, Imperial History and Philosophy, as well as fluency in High Gothic. They will also have rudimentary training in close quarters combat and basic ranged weaponry, even a Progena who goes on to serve in the Administratum can be a reasonably even match-up with a trained member of the Imperial Guard.
When a student reaches graduation from the Schola Progenium, they undergo a series of tests and trials known as the Test of Compliance. Through this final period (in some Schola it can take up to a year) the student is tested and assessed as to the best direction for them to take a career in. The tests are merciless, and some students die in the course of the final testing for some of the military positions, but the Imperium demands only the strongest servants from its investment in the Progena.
Of the organisations within the Imperium, some recruit exclusively from the ranks of graduated Progena.
The Officio Prefectus demands a loyalty from its Commissars that could not be found anywhere outside of the Progena, graduates are often eagerly taken into the organisation where their detachment from problematic loyalties makes them idea as discipline and morale Officers for the Imperial Navy and Imperial Guard.
The Militarum Tempestus selects the Scions (or Stormtroopers) for the elite Tempestus Scions regiments exclusively from the most physically fit and talented warriors turned out by the Schola Progenium, favouring them for their unwavering loyalty, and willing to sacrifice all for the Imperium.
Though these are the two organisations that take Progena exclusively, every branch of the Imperium sends representatives to witness the Test of Compliance and hand pick the best students to join their ranks. The Adepta Sororitas enjoys the benefits of its twinned relationship with the Ministorum to select the most able and devout students who identify as female to enter its convents and the Adeptus Arbites value Progena as Arbitrators, but Progena can be found in every area of the Imperium.
A small handful of students, however, disappear and all records of them are erased, beyond the leadership of the Schola Progenium little is known of the fate of these Progena.
Most education ceases once a student graduates, be that from a Schola or the Schola. Higher education is viewed with deep suspicion by the Imperium who approaches it with the same hostility it approaches the concept of public libraries. Generalist higher education such as the Universities of M.2 Earth simply does not exist or need to exist in the eyes of the Imperium, an educated Imperial knows exactly as much as the Imperium wants them to know and it is satisfied with leaving it at that. Curiosity and a desire to study and know more are not considered a virtue, and at worst are a threat to one’s soul.
What do exist are loose ‘finishing schools’, Academies that train individuals for specific branches of the Imperium, such as the Seminary at St Sebastian’s Redoubt, the Militarum Finishing College on Polarnus Station or the myriad Collegia Scriptorum of the Adeptus Administratum. These Academies exists to round out education for the focused purpose of preparing a student for the role that the Imperium as designated for them, to churn out Officers who know how to follow proper procedure and orders, they do not attempt to teach students to think for themselves or to expand knowledge – blessed are the ignorant, or so the Imperium tells them.