Is a school contract that pre-approves your niece to sign up for university at fifteen without telling you kind of dodgy? Yes.

A lot of YA dystopian novels do the thing where teenagers are sorted into categories without anyone’s consent and then expected to go the rest of their lives as part of whatever class or caste the government has created for them. Obviously that’s a metaphor for coming of age in our society which basically does have classes and castes. But it’s really easy to look at that moment in a story and say to yourself, “thank goodness we don’t forcibly sort teenagers into Technologists and Retailsalesists” or whatever. What if, instead, that same society simply sets up a system where one path is heavily incentivized and the other means permanent poverty and no path to citizenship? Are they off the hook for not saying you have no choice?

↓ Transcript
Panel 1: Second shidafu: "And without the wealthy host ya previously relied on." Third shidafu: "Yeh. Tuition for Zhongshan is also your responsibility." First shidafu, accusingly: "Zhongshan Daxue is not a charity school!"
Panel 2: Third shidafu, with a slight sneer: "Consider it a final test. A student wiff your 'istory ought to take the challenge in stride!"
Panel 3: The head teacher hands Maida a holographic screen. Third shidafu: "Also, this entire conversation is confidential, etc., etc. It's all in the contract."
Panel 4: Maida looks over the screen carefully. Maida: "Um. This is..." Head teacher: "Your contract. For you to sign."
Panel 5: Maida, looking up at her: "Am I allowed to sign it? Without a guardian's permission, I mean?"
Panel 6: Head teacher: "Of course. The school contract your aunt signed allows you to sign this one independently."