Education in Thedas varies depending on race, culture, and class, and from nation to nation.
The education provided to those of the Chantry appears on par with that of nobles. Templar recruits are literate and are taught history in addition to their martial training and religious education. Members of the Chantry, by dint of their responsibilities, are naturally literate and well-read, in the Chant of Light if nothing else.
Local Chantries may also provide some instruction to their followers and allow access to their texts.
Chantry members may also pursue scholarship. The most well-known Chantry scholar is Brother Ferdinand Genitivi, lecturer and author of numerous texts and travelogues. Other scholars search for ancient artifacts and scrolls, such as Sister Justine, curator of the Denerim chantry. Justine is also versed in decoding ciphers and encrypted text.
Circle of Magi
The education of a mage is as extensive as that of a noble, if not more so. Beyond being taught to control their magic, a mage learns of the various schools of magic as well as languages, reading, writing, scrying, healing, etc. A mage's training consists of extensive study of arcane lore. As any Circle of Magi is essentially a war college and standing army, much of a mage's training is also battle magic.
Much like the Chantry, the Circle of Magi encourages scholarship and publishes the completed research. Examples of this are the botanical writings of Ines and the spirit research of Rhys. Through their education and scholarship, mages are considered some of the most educated members of society and as such may sometimes function as advisers in royal courts.
Circles of Magi have massive libraries and are typically the greatest repositories of knowledge in a given country, though access is naturally limited.
Commoners appear to receive little formal education in most countries in Thedas and many may be illiterate. City elves receive even less education than human commoners. As such, dwarven runes may be used in place of writing in some cases. In other instances tally marks may be used to delineate locations or distances.
However, in sharp contrast, those who work as servants in noble estates appear to receive extensive education, at least enough that is sufficient to perform their tasks.
Slaves in the Tevinter Imperium are often illiterate; However, some receive formal education and training for specific purposes such as working in libraries, accounting or scribing. Literacy is notable and reflects on a slave's price.
To make up for this lack of instruction, Tevinter slaves develop their own pictograms as a way to warn other slaves of things such as a master's temperament and other practical uses related to their society. These symbols go largely unnoticed by their owners and have a local significance, thus the same image might mean different things to different groups.
Among the Fereldan nobility, an education is typically provided by a learned tutor, such as Aldous in the Human Noble Origin. Noble Andrastian families may often have a Chantry Mother as a member of the household to attend to the religious education of the young. Examples of Mothers attached to noble households are Mother Mallol and Mother Ailis of the Cousland and Theirin families respectively.
A major facet of noble education appears to be history, as Aldous drills both the Human Noble and young squires in the household on family history. Reading and writing are naturally part of this education. A noble education does not necessarily make one a strong scholar however, as even King Maric is by his own admission a poor reader. Martial training is also a component of the education of nobility, as nobles are expected by their commoners to defend them and their territories. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for noble daughters to be educated in the ways of war and battle.
Noble education may also include such things as dance and song, as Leliana learned in Lady Cecilie's household.
Noble households may also boast libraries, as Castle Cousland does.
Dwarven education in Orzammar appears to be given to those with caste. Little is known of the nuances of dwarven education but it appears that at least part of it, amongst nobles, may be administered by members of the Shaperate. Martial training appears to be a major element of dwarven education in Orzammar, with the best trainers being retained by noble households.
The Shaperate is arguably the largest repository of history and knowledge. Its resources are available to anyone, in order to pursue both personal and professional research. Noble households may also serve as patrons for Shaperate scholars.
Amongst the casteless there is no formal education; indeed, most casteless dwarves appear to be functionally illiterate. However, noble hunters are literate and highly educated in poetry and other skills in order to make them attractive to noble partners.
Education amongst the Qunari is administered according to one's role in the rigid society of the Qun. Learning is a core philosophy of the Qunari way of life. In spite of it, many Qunari do not speak the common tongue of Thedas. Amongst Qunari, the tamassrans are arguably the most educated, being fluent in many languages in order to educate, or re-educate, converts to the Qun. Tamassrans raise the young, administer their general education, and evaluate them for placement in society.
Education among the Dalish appears to be in the main oral, who instruct through the use of lore and storytelling. The Dalish retain their history through oral tradition as well as books in some cases. A clan's First studies lore, magic and history in order to become a successful Keeper. A Keeper is ostensibly a clan's leader and as such is viewed as wise and learned.
Dalish elves hold Arlathvhens in order to reconvene with other clans and to exchange their collected lore.
Approved by the Chantry
- Brother Ferdinand Genitivi
- Ines Arancia
- Sister Petrine
- Sister Lilian Hatch
- Sister Oran Petrarchius
- Sister Dorcas Guerrin
- First Enchanter Josephus
Approved outside the Chantry
- Philliam, A Bard!
- Massache de Jean-Mien
- Lady Alcyone
- Baron Havard-Pierre D'Amortisan
- Ferdinand Pentaghast
Disapproved by the Chantry
- (Formerly) Sister Laudine
- The Shaperate of Orzammar
- The library of Kinloch Hold
- Archive of the Crows in Antiva City
- The Grand Library of The Winter Palace, Orlais
- Zevran Arainai and other assassins of the Antivan Crows are notably literate, and the Crows maintain their own scholarship in their archive.
- Fenris is illiterate as a consequence of his enslavement.
- Elan Ve'mal mentions there being a specific college for herbalists.