Is the difference between education and qualification one in geography?



Es sei dahingestellt, ob Sachsens Versuch vielversprechend ist, dem Bevölkerungsschwund entgegenzutreten, indem es wie hier in der Nähe des Münchener Flughafens Inklusion und Abkehr von der Klassenbestenmentalität propagiert. Vor acht Tagen, an meinem Geburtstag, als ich das Plakat entdeckte, erschien mir jedenfalls die Verheißung der Rückkehr zu reformpädagogischen Zielen in großem Format wie das beste Geschenk. Denn, wer kennt sie nicht, die Leute, die das Wort “Klassenbester” so benutzen, als wäre es eine Bezeichnung des genetischen Materials desjenigen?

Die weitere Frage, ob Kulturkritik als Konkurrenzvorteil betrieben Erfolgsaussichten hat, wäre als interdisziplinärer Sonderforschungsbereich zwischen Kultur- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften gut.


Saxony is a German state and a traditional stronghold of education. The contribution of its biggest cities, Leipzig and Dresden, to the letters and the arts in the 19th and the early 20th century forms a powerful legacy. Between 1949 and 1990 the historical area of Saxony was part of the GDR. In the transition from socialist to market economy, many inhabitants of Saxony (and generally of the former GDR) made it to the west of the unified Germany – and this trend remains.

The west is cooler, faster and a bit more lucrative also. Earning in Munich, in the western German state of Bavaria, 20% more than you did in Leipzig for the same job, is very likely. Nevertheless, it’s not only likely but unavoidable that in Munich you’ll pay twice what you paid in Leipzig for about the same flat.

And then, there is this issue with schooling. Bavarian schools have the reputation of selecting individuals for specialization rather than educating young people and giving them social values. I know well educated people who use the word “Klassenbester” – German for the top student of the class – as if it were a description of the student’s genetic material. Now, eight days ago – kind of a birthday present to me – I spotted the poster above in a town near the Munich airport. Saxony propagates here that in its schools everyone is the top student. The girl staring at the camera has obviously a non-German background.

It’s unclear, of course, if Saxony, by returning to reform education and by juxtaposing this to the Bavarian model, succeeds in making people from Munich return to Dresden or Leipzig. This blog which has launched some Kulturkritik vis-à-vis Bavarian schools would rejoice.

I’m writing this on an October 3rd, the Day of the German Unity.

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