How important is education? Well, we know that education (as process) and knowledge gained (as a result) has become an important factor to differentiate organizations and to establish (or at least to support) competitive advantages. Today knowledge can have the same meaning as a commodity. Information, knowledge and learning have a huge impact on capabilities of the organization and influence organizational performance. Internationalization, globalization, acceleration of change in the business environment, increasing uncertainty, and fast technological progress challenge both the learning ability and the viability of an organization. In this term it is very interesting to see, how “organizations” tackle those issues.
As an example and as a small contribution to the knowledge of our international readers about Germany I will present some very interesting figures concerning German understanding about the value of knowledge and education. German understanding is (unfortunately) different to understanding / perception in the Anglo American world. Students protest against study fees of the universities, but not for an extension of the scholarship system. Education / Knowledge is not allowed to become an asset. (Note: Transfer this perception to the bookstore next to you, and you should get all literature for free). Politicians of all segments agree on education equity – but accept that the very first education (neonatal training in kindergarten) has to be paid. Okay, that won’t be a strategic issue in terms of organizational management…anyway I found those numbers quite interesting.
- Daily entertainment consumption (TV, Internet, Computer games) of 10 year kid in North Germany within an immigration family on weekend: 340 minutes
- Daily entertainment consumption (TV, Internet, Computer games) of 10 year kid in South Germany within an German family (at least one parent has a high school degree) on weekend: 54 minutes
- Annual fee for a private kindergarten (5 star quality) near Berlin: 11.760 EUR
- Annual fee for a public kindergarten in a rich town in South Germany for a 4 year kid (parent’s income is under 45.000 EUR): 0 EUR
- Annual fee for a public kindergarten in a “not so rich town” in North Germany for a 4 year kid (parent’s income is under 45.000 EUR): 1.752 EUR
- Study fees for the public university in the same town in North Germany within the first 14 terms: 0 EUR
(Data Source: The world in Numbers (Brand eins Journal, vol. 5, 2008).