Okay, who is ready for school?

I was just finishing my mid-term exams when I had a thought. Is there school in Star Wars? Then I remembered that yes, in A New Hope, Luke wanted to go to the Academy. But what about the first, what was it, nineteen years of his life? Was he home schooled? Was he taught in a classroom somewhere like Anchorhead? Did he have a tutor? What kind of school would Luke Skywalker have gone to? Or did he?

At first thought, it is a no brainer. He had to have gotten some kind of education. Maybe it was all in moisture farming, but, no – that doesn’t work either, since he is a pilot and apparently a good enough one even in the wilds of Tattooine that his friend Biggs comments on it when they meet again right before the Death Star attack: “Luke is the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim, sir.” Contrary to popular belief you usually cannot do what Anakin did in The Phantom Menace – crawl into a starfighter with no training at all and fly it like a professional. Admittedly, what he did was autopilot mostly and/or was incredibly lucky / the Force. So… maybe with the Force, you don’t have to study to be a pilot? That doesn’t work very well, does it? I sure wouldn’t want someone piloting anything I am in who didn’t study to be a pilot.

So some more on piloting issues.Surely it involves stuff like mathematics, history, sciences, stellar geography, astromechanics, navigation, plumbing or electronics? ‘How to fix broken stuff without the proper parts’ might be course in Tattooine schools, or it might not have been. Some of that could be taught by tutors, or as an apprentice of sorts. That is another question: how much of any of that list of subjects did Luke know? Admittedly, he was in hiding, unbeknownst to him. The Skywalker name was fairly distinctive. If word had gotten to the upper echelons of the Empire that there was a kid with the Force who had that name, would that have been a good thing? I don’t think so. So the whole reason that Owen kept denying Luke the chance to go study at the Academy was to keep the boy out of the sight, or try to anyway. Not that it worked in the end. So how well educated was Luke in A New Hope?

He obviously knew one end of a blaster from the other, he knew how to fix droids, and he knew how to fly. Beyond that? Who knows. My personal feeling is that he was not uneducated. This is a ‘gut’ feeling from watching the films so many times. He was reasonably well educated for someone who grew up in the back of beyond. Kind of like a young man growing up in the Western United States during the latter part of the nineteenth century. That is, he probably sat in a classroom with a bunch of other people his age for part of a day, several days a week, from the time he was five or so. The rest of the time, he was working with his uncle, keeping the moisture farm going, not an easy task. Maybe the teacher was a stern, possibly handicapped former farmer who couldn’t work, but found a place doing something he either enjoyed or despised. Not a nun, not on Tattooine. After all, his brain was still in his skull, right? So no B’omarr involved. Good thing too, ick.

Higher education is covered well in the movies, with the Imperial Academy mentioned a few times but no one covers any lower education. Maybe it is simply too commonplace to be seen in normal conversations. But to be a reasonably functional member of society an education is pretty important. If you make it a high tech society, like Star Wars is set in, well it is kind of important.

In the end, we don’t really know what Luke Skywalker had for an early education. He learned a lot ‘on the job’, as it were, with his uncle. But for actual education, classroom type education, we have no idea. If so, it was likely a small classroom, maybe the kids of the area in some kind of place set up by the Darklighters. Maybe in Anchorhead. Or maybe he was just so skilled in the Force that the things that us lesser beings need education for, he could do naturally.

What do you think? Can you see Luke Skywalker as a kid in a classroom?

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