Learning from the German “Ausbildung”


So few weeks ago there was a career fair in the small town in Braunschweig where I live and having been invited, there was no way I was going to turn it down. I knew this was my opportunity to learn about career opportunity in Germany. This particular career fair was different ! it was not designed for the “book worm” neither were they looking for students with straight A’s. Don’t misunderstand me I am a big fan of excellent grades and an advocate for education. However, this time around the requirement was passion, desire, interest and commitment. The Ausbildung just like every German word has an origin, “Aus” which means to learn from and “Bildung” education, learning or instruction. So, what was fascinating about this career fair ? It is open to young between the ages of 16-27, the duration of the ausbildung is 3 years, although not all companies pay their interns. The remuneration can be as much as €800 to €1.000 for the first year. Now my concern for the educational system in Nigeria has been what prompted my desire to write this post. I attended a polytechnic and I could recollect the fear I had during my 6 months compulsory internship. There were two choices to go back, spend my remaining two years at the Polytechnic but the fear of the unknown, would my polytechnic degree have the same value as a Bachelors degree? Would I be treated with the same respect a degree owner is treated? These questions drove me to the point of almost giving up education. Did I mention, I finished from the science arm, and I wanted to be a doctor but Jamb would not let me be great! So I got admission into the polytechnic to study computer science.

Looking back, I was wondering if I would have made the same decision of pursuing a university degree? well maybe if the society especially Nigerian would stop devaluating the value of the polytechnic degree. Additionally, at the end of the 3 years, the student gets a certificate equivalent to a degree.

What is your take on the inequality between the university and polytechnic degree?

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