The Power Curriculum Program (, Jikanwari (Karikyuramu), lit. "Academic Timetable") is a special large-scale curriculum in Academy City taken alongside a regular curriculum, designed to unlock a student's potential in gaining and improving supernatural powers. All those who have gone through the program are called espers, regardless of level, though some people, such as Skill-Out, may choose to refer to those who actually show powers as espers
The Power Curriculum Program has been running for at least twenty years, as evidenced by Ellis participating in a program back then that aimed to create the first Magician-Esper hybrid.
Before that, programs and experiments for research on Espers have been going on since the time of the Cold War, such as the Stargate Project which tried to replicate natural-born espers (Gemstones).
Principles and ConceptsEdit
The program's aim is for the student to attain their own Personal Reality, a term referring to normal reality being replaced by a person's own reality, which is the basis for gaining powers that often defy normal reality. Through a series of tests, studies, lectures, medicines, body stimulations (drugs injected directly into a blood vessel, brain being pierced directly from behind the ears) and hypnosis, a person gains certain anatomical characteristics in their brain that normal humans don't have. Esper’s gain several new neurotransmitters, unique neural wiring, and wholly new organelles in the neurons. This special neuroanatomy causes the brain to create the AIM as well as unlocks the espers very own Personal Reality.
Apparently, the program uses doublespeak in order for the city to deceive observers of the true nature of the many tests in the program, such as "recording skills" and "memorization skills". This is justfiable as some tests such as the ability to bend spoons can be dangerous due to the risk of trauma, tearing the blood vessels in brain and possibly something malignant such as RSPK Syndrome.
The curriculum not only covers how to attain personal reality and powers, but also various concepts associated with it, such as basic Quantum Mechanic principles, as well as the effects of their powers, such as AIM dispersion fields.
However, as a result of going through the program changes the body to run in a different circuit, because of this an esper using magic is highly likely to be injured, as magicians and esper run on very different circuits.
According to Uiharu Kazari, esper ability names are decided on by the school, simple ones such as Electromaster or Telekinesis. However, there are also esper abilities that are decided by the student like Railgun. It is unknown what criteria are required to have one name their own esper ability, though uniqueness of the ability may be a factor.
Joining the Power Curriculum Program is a contract that allows the esper to gain money, which is automatically banked into their accounts. The more prestigious the school or higher the level of the esper, the greater the reward. However, they are then tasked to participate in more experiments and researches.
Part of the program is the System Scan (Shintai Kensa (Shisutemu Sukyan), lit. "Physical Examination") is a regular city-wide testing event in Academy City to determine the power levels of the espers with it, which is apparently supposed to be done at least once a school year. Although, the test can apparently be done as well during special occasions.
Each test is different depending on the esper's powers, such as teleporters trying to teleport large weight.
The esper Level (,Kyōdo (Reberu), lit. "Strength") is Academy City's categorization for esper abilities which determines how much a student has advanced in the Power Curriculum Program. Levels are determined through the System Scan.
Most students are categorized as Level 0, normal people that have weak powers (Akemi) to the point of nonexistence (Saten Ruiko), but may have the potential to develop powers, and are encouraged to participate in the program to help them train or acquire their powers artificially. About 60% of Academy City's espers are Level 0s. However, not all Level 0s have no powers at all; there are special cases that a Level 0 has an ability that can't be directly measured (e.g., Kamijou Touma and Motoharu Tsuchimikado). While most students (Level 0s) fail the program as they never had powers to begin with or fail to increase their power, some start at higher Level than 0 and are able to advance their powers from their initial Level. (e.g. Misaka Mikoto who started as Level 1 and after some time she got to the Level 5)
Although it has been revealed that even if this was the case, Academy City may not give them the resources and procedures they need if the cost of producing them would not compensate for the power gained. Therefore, even if an person like Saten Ruiko worked hard to gain a higher Level, it is possible that resources needed for her advancement would be used on someone else with better cost/power ratio (e.g. a Level 2 that can become Level 4 quickly).
According to Tsukuyomi Komoe, Level 0s are an anomaly in the system, since the program can theoretically allow people to gain their own personal reality and therefore, powers if they consume enough "curriculum". Komoe states that solving the mystery behind the occurrence of Level 0s maybe the key to attaining SYSTEM, the entire reason why Academy City was built.