Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Meaning of a Abi or Abitur

Since this fake resume business came up in the Bundestag over whether some gal had a Abi or not....one has to go back and review what the heck the Abi was all about.

In the dead language of Latin, an Abi basically means you've gotten smart to take a journey in life.  It doesn't mean you are clever or Einstein-like....but you could get on some train or bus and see the real world and grasp it's meaning.

So Germans have developed this certification process.  After 12 to 13 years of schooling, you go in and take a test.  Once passed, you get your Abi.

Comparing to the US system?  I would personally rate this as being at the level of high-school and one-year of community college.  Some Germans would like to say it's at the same level of community college after two years.

Abi came about through Prussian efforts to have one single test standard in the 1800s for German students.  If you had this document and went somewhere, then it was all standard.

The test itself?  Each test requires a couple of hours.  Three areas must be included upon the test: (1) language and the arts, (2) social science (history, geography, etc), and (3) math and science (computers could be included in this group as well).  At least one element of this test must be oral.

The value of this in life?  Oddly, it's a status symbol.  It means something when you pass.  It also means something when you don't pass and don't go back to try it a second time.  Germans in their thirties without an Abi....are kinda deemed not quiet at the same level as other employees.  It won't seriously hinder you, but it won't help you either.  It'll be hard to find any division chief within a German company who has risen up to the position....without an Abi.

One of the odd statistics you will find with the Abi business is that if you go back to the 1970s....roughly 2-percent of German society had this in their pocket.  By 2000, it had risen to 11-percent.  I looked for recent results and have yet to find any.....but I would take a guess that it's greater than 15-percent of Germans today (active or retired) who have an Abi.

It might also be interesting to note that practically every single year....a slightly higher percentage of kids pass the test (2010: 49-percent).  More and more emphasis is being put upon this.....to get anywhere in life.

One final note, a Hauptschulabschluss is not an Abi.  This is a certificate usually given after completing nine to ten years of Haupt School (the lower school), and this wold open the door for you to enter an apprentice program in Germany.   

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