The Star Wars Ministry of Education and Edutopia

What was the education system like in “Star Wars”?

It’s a tough question to answer.

We see the Jedi Academy in the second (more recent) trilogy, but “Return of the Jedi” ends before the Alliance is able to establish anything resembling a comprehensive plan to educate younglings — regardless of their midi-chlorian count.

We’re able to get some information from the Star Wars Expanded Universe — books, TV shows, and video games that take place in the same galaxy far, far away as the one in which Anakin Skywalker lived. According to this material, the Alliance is able to set up something resembling a stable government, including schooling. Wookieepedia explains that the Alliance Ministry of Education was made up of two branches, neither of which had anything to do with education (as we typically understand it).

The first branch, Civil Intelligence, was responsible for monitoring Imperial media and overseeing a network of officers throughout the galaxy responsible for intel. This branch was also responsible for guarding the Alliance Government against infiltration by the Galactic Empire (of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine fame).

The second branch of the Ministry of Education was charged with disputing Imperial propaganda, and was called the Propaganda Bureau. The Empire would love for people (and, well, non-people) to believe that the Alliance did not have the military capability to defeat the Empire. To counter such nonsense, the Rebels circulated footage of the Death Star’s destruction (the first time), showing oppressed planets that there was hope of an overthrow.

So why wasn’t the Ministry of Education in charge of, you know, education?

Because it was “left to the individual governments” of the Alliance, something critics of No Child Left Behind can certainly appreciate.

Because all this stuff happened in the Expanded Universe and not on movie screens, we don’t yet know how the series’ creator thinks of education in his imagined world. Fortunately, we don’t need to rely on the films to know George Lucas’s thoughts on education in our universe.

For that, we can turn to Edutopia, a comprehensive website that offers education resources for students, parents, and teachers. The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) publishes Edutopia to showcase educators who are transforming education, and help others adopt best practices for their classrooms.

The site emphasizes six core strategies for transforming K–12 education: project-based learning, comprehensive assessment, integrated studies, social and emotional learning, educational leadership and teacher development, and technology integration.

Will we see the Ministry of Education on screen in the new Star Wars trilogy? Guess we’ll have to watch to find out.

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