Education in Odessa
Practical education in Odessa is highly prized. Odessans enjoy free access to state-funded schooling through university level. Attendance through twelve years of schooling (age 16) is obligatory. As the result, Odessa boasts a 96.7% literacy rate. The Education Officium oversees Odessa's education system.
Odessans enroll in school at age 5 and must complete primary and secondary education, normally by age 16. The state funds and operates schools for this purpose. Private schools also exist and must adhere to the curriculum requirements of the state; most charge a tuition. Schools are in session from mid-September to mid-May.
Non-citizen residents are not exempt from the education requirement but must attend a private school to satisfy the mandate.
There are two levels of primary education. School hours are 09:00 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 15:30 weekdays except the afternoon session is omitted during September and June.
Beginning at age 5, children attend Preparatory School for three years. Here they learn to interact with other children and to take on responsibilities for the common good, such as helping to serve meals and keep the schoolroom clean. The children are also exposed to fundamental concepts to prepare them for later learning.
Junior School, lasting four years, focuses on achieving basic literacy (reading and writing) an arithmetic skills. Students also develop foundations in science, geography, history, and other social sciences. Most children enter Junior School at age 8.
Sports are a significant component of the primary education program. The physical activity develops fitness, coordination, and confidence. At the same time, team sports foster cooperation, leadership, and a practical understanding of the national motto: "The whole is more than its parts."
Also consisting of two levels, secondary education begins at age 12 for most children. Except during September and June when the afternoon session is omitted, school hours are 08:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00.
Middle School, with a duration of three years, is focused strongly on science, mathematics, geography, astronomy, chemistry, and sports. In addition, during the two year Upper School, students also participate in a weekly work day. During the work day, students work alongside regular employees at a local factory, power plant or other public works facility, or farm. Typically, students enter Upper School at age 15.
Upon completion of Upper School, students sit for the Schooling Proficiency Exam (SPE). Achieving a satisfactory score on the SPE results in the student being awarded a Matriculation Certificate. Commonly called "the Matric," the certificate is required to obtain employment or to attend university or a polytechnic institute.
Following compulsory education and fulfillment of the two-year military obligation for males, many choose to attend higher education at university or, more commonly, a polytechnic (vocational) institute or technicum. Exceptional students may continue their learning by attending post-graduate studies. While attaining a master's degree is relatively common, there is little interest in doctoral candidacy except in the fields of medicine, physics, and engineering. The state funds polytechnic and undergraduate university coursework, but not post-graduate schooling.
A technicum provides one to two years of vocational training in a variety of skills such as construction, mechanic, or hairdresser. The training is split into practical work and theoretical learning.
Each polytechnic institute specializes in a particular technical skill such as paedagogic (for the training of schoolteachers), medical, or engineering. Acceptance for admission requires demonstrated aptitude in the chosen career field.
In Odessa, higher education in academic subjects takes place at university. Admission to university is granted based on available seats and according to achievement on the SPE.
The state-issued charter specifies the faculties a university may constitute, such as economics, literature, philosophy, etc. This, in turn, determines the degrees the university may confer. Baccalaureate degree studies are funded by the state and typically require five years of study.
Post-graduate education at the masters and doctoral candidacy levels is at individual expense. Earning a masters degree usually requires one-to-two years beyond the baccalaureate while the doctorate takes an additional two or three years to complete. Outside of medicine, physics, and engineering, doctorate-level studies are generally shunned because of a perceived lack of practicality and due to the costs involved.
Numerous military and police schools are on the same or higher level. These academies are not a degree-level school, but a post-graduate school for experienced officers. Attendance at such a school is compulsory for officers applying for the rank of colonel. The academies are not under the jurisdiction of the Education Officium; rather they are under the purview of the Militaria or the Security Officium.