Education is the most valuable commodity a person can own. Consequently, it is also very expensive to obtain, in America, in 2077 there are little public educations to speak of. Most urban areas have only one University, if any. Most rural areas schooling concentrates on the day-to-day aspect of survival, rather than obscure mathematics or other higher education.
Among Universities, the waiting list is very long, and tuition very expensive. Without a common education system, there is no common education theory. So the process has fragmented, mostly due to new technology.
One of the important breakthroughs in education is virtual reality. This technology allows a great increase in speed and retention of material. However, the possibility of hostile interferences with the computer can make the students pawns or psychological cripples. Artificial intelligences have been employed as watchdogs, but the inability of machines to adopt human thought patterns, well, call it “inability” or call it “they just don’t want to”, often makes for a series of traumatic incidents. Virtual schooling is the fastest and most complete way to realize true education, but, without a great deal of money and closely supervised system, it is also the most dangerous to the psyche.
Corporate education, on the other hand, has produced some fine minds. The education is fairly complete, but the stress level is hideous. The students are constantly battered with behavior modification, loyalty testing, indoctrination, and propaganda. Many children are not given much choice in what they will study, all curriculum is based on the individual’s aptitudes. All of these factors build to a head at age fifteen, at which time the students are given a final examination. This examination not only determines where the individual will start their corporate career, it is also often the final straw that forces many of these children to suicide.
In the opposite side of Corporate education we can find Nomad education, which is so good for this day and age standards that even when Corporate education is offered to nomads, it’s usually not accepted. Strangely enough, nomad brats are probably the luckiest of the children of Cyberpunk America. They have a very close community to grow up in. These children have the most opportunity for creative play, they are exposed to the greatest selection of role-models. They are taught value systems and cultural identity, and also respect and discipline. Contrary to the Corporate system, these things are not taught in an artificial setting, and they are not forced. Young Nomads are also taught reading and writing, math, mechanics, and electronics; all the skills necessary to survive in the Cyberpunk age.
There are other forms of education and, for some, chip technology is the simplest. The media refers to this as “education for the lazy”. There are serious drawbacks here as well, apart from corporate ad loops, the knowledge that is acquired with chips is static, you have the basics but you don’t interiorize it, thus you have no ability to improvise.
Self-education is the hardest of all. Self-starting programs for reading, along with personal research, and the exchange of experiences with other Edgerunners are the most common methods. Medias and Rockers are forced to resort to such self-teaching methods due to the amazing amount of propaganda in the media; these kinds of people usually have access to information that is restricted or totally inaccessible to most others. One must also remember that the education process does not stop with entry into adulthood. Being a Cyberpunk is to question, and not accept the world as a face value.
And if everything else fails, you always have nomad education, as Nomad schools are open to all children, they will teach even the children of strangers, rather than stand the ignorant in a dangerous world.