19. Education System
The DaedalusaL4 space settlement apart from being a research and manufacturing facility will also be home to many families. Parents will clearly wish their children to benefit from a similar standard of education to that they would experience in any terrestrial community. As such, the education system aboard DL4 must be of high standard. The education system aboard the station is broadly similar to that found in many countries and can be roughly divided into four groups (ref. 90):
1. Pre-school education
2. Primary education
3. Secondary (post-primary education)
4. Tertiary education
1. Pre-school Education
Pre-school aboard the station will serve two broad purposes. Firstly, it will prepare the children for the more formal education that will follow in later years. Secondly, it will provide a place for parents to leave their children while they attend their place of work. This is especially important aboard DaedalusaL4 as all residents should be given the opportunity to participate in the settlement workforce while raising a family. The pre-school system will cater for children from age 3 to 6. The system is further subdivided into kindergartens for 3 to 5 year olds and pre-school classes for the 5 and 6 year olds.
2. Primary Education
Following on from pre-school classes the children aboard DaedalusaL4 will have their first true taste of a formal education regime. This will equip the children with further skills in languages (chosen depending on the majority terrestrial background of the population) and mathematics, to help them function aboard the station. As well as a standard curriculum for this age group (similar to that taught in primary schools on Earth) the children will also be taught about the unusual environment in which they live. This will not only cover astronomy and the like but will also teach the children how to live and play safely aboard the settlement. Primary education will last from when a child is six years old to when he/she is approximately 12 years old at which time she/he will move on to the final compulsory part of his/her education.
3. Secondary Education
The secondary education system aboard DaedalusaL4 is again similar to that a child would experience on Earth, in that it attempts to provide them with a solid base to build on in later life. It is anticipated however, that due to the nature of the environment a greater stress than normal will be applied to scientific subjects. This is done to facilitate the students fitting into the tertiary education system and in the long term into life on the station. The secondary education cycle will run from when the children are 12 years old to the age of 17. At the end of this time all students will take an examination that will qualify them for third level education either on Earth or aboard the settlement.
4. Tertiary Education
Due to the relatively small size of the station the university level education facilities on board will be understandably limited, with the exception of some research outposts. These will facilitate a few ‘Earth students’ who will travel to DL4 as part of their university education. They will also be the centres for the small amount of third level education that will be provided for ‘DL4 students’ onboard. This education will focus on the scientific and manufacturing disciplines that are already taking place aboard DaedalusaL4. If students wish to pursue other disciplines, in the arts for example, then they can travel to Earth for their education and provision will be made for them to return upon completion of the course, if they so wish and provided there is an adequate need for their professional skills.
Distance Learning or ‘Tele-education’ will also take place in the settlement. Education and traditional teaching methods are subject to constraints of space and time, both of which will be at a premium on DL4. A system of tele-education offers considerable benefits for initial training, vocational and continuing education and lifelong learning in general. Education based on the interactive use of multimedia teaching aids and the like, in real time, offers an unprecedented degree of flexibility for all students and the option of tailor-made courses which traditional education cannot provide. Such courses are currently in operation in a wide variety of settings here on Earth (the European Telematique programme, for example, currently involves more than 1,600 students in 12 countries).
· University-level distance learning, offering the possibility of dialogue between students and lecturers, the use of interactive teaching material and the consultation of electronic library sources. This is especially important on the settlement as third-level facilties will be limited.
· Networking between primary schools and secondary schools, helping to enrich curriculum content and provide access to new, more sophisticated teaching aids.
· Distance learning for the general population, providing life-long learning and easy access to reference material.
An important part of any education system is the provision of adequate reference material i.e. a library. The library on DL4 will not only have to cater for the residents educational needs but also their desire for recreational reading material. As such, a large variety of books will need to be stocked. For the sake of convenience and resource saving, the library could deal only in electronic publications, however as this could contribute to Solipsism Syndrome (see 18 Health Care), this option should be carefully considered. Therefore, we suggest the library onboard also stocks a variety of ‘real’ books in addition to books in electronic form. The figure for area required for the provision of a library is included in that for educational facilities, which are themselves included in services.