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Part-time Bachelor of Social Work: Over there, 30 years later

2021-06-14 Jana Kreß has been working successfully as an educator for many years. Thanks to her professional experience and training, she can study at the Leuphana Professional School even without Abitur (high school diploma), thus completing an old life plan.

[Translate to Englisch:] Jana Kress ©Privat
Thanks to the part-time Bachelor's programme in Social Work at Leuphana, Jana Kress is able to catch up on her university degree, which she was unable to do 30 years ago.

The fall of the Berlin Wall threw Jana Kreß's life into turmoil. It fell in 1989, and one year later the young woman was supposed to have completed her teacher training in the GDR. She already had six semesters behind her. The teacher's exam in German and art education was within her grasp. Like many, she studied without Abitur. "That was no longer possible in the Federal Republic. I had to reorient myself," the 49-year-old recalls. Teacher was her dream job, because Jana Kreß likes to work with young people. Even before her studies, she was active in youth work. In the Federal Republic, the profession of educator seemed obvious. Jana Kreß has not regretted her decision: "I love my work. My career is still varied and full of exciting encounters," she says. Jana Kreß has worked in assisted living, was active in a children's meeting place in Halle an der Saale, was involved in the association's Courage network against violence and racism and taught as a support teacher. Today she is part of the pedagogical team at the youth centre in Schwarzenbek near Hamburg.

Nevertheless, she has never completely let go of the university degree she missed. Now she is catching up on it at the Leuphana Professional School with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work for Educators. "In my studies I want to learn a lot for my profession, and so far I'm doing very well," says the educator. For example, in social law, one of the main subjects: "At first I thought it was all paragraphs! But then I realised that with this knowledge I can help people to get their rights. The study content enriches my work." At her workplace, Jana Kreß counsels refugee families, for example, sets up a youth culture programme together with the team or helps with homework. The educator likes to work her way into new content and that is also why she decided to study. "The lectures are practical and relevant to the field. It has never been boring. Great praise to the team of lecturers at the Professional School," says Jana Kreß. In terms of content, the students deal with economic and political conditions of social work; methodical action; psychological, sociological, socio-pedagogical and socio-medical aspects and theories of social work and also learn the basics of scientific work. The Bachelor of Social Work for Educators offers students the opportunity to obtain state recognition as a social worker.

Jana Kreß thinks it is good that she once again has the opportunity to study without Abitur. In the Bachelor's programme, educators build on part of their initial training. It is taken into account with 40 credit points. However, Jana Kreß can have even more achievements credited to her studies. "I am a specialist in the participation of children and young people. The training took one and a half years. In the process, I learned a lot about methods and project work. "Today, as the second chairperson of the Stadtjugendring, she actively supports the participation of children and young people in Schwarzenbek, for example when it comes to the design of municipal building projects. For her training she would like to get a complementary module credited: "I have already checked this with AlgoA. The traffic light showed green." Behind the abbreviation is an algorithm-based credit check by the Professional School. This self-check can be carried out online in a low-threshold manner and is aimed in particular at prospective students without Abitur but with extracurricular professional and training experience. "I will still take the module because I want to take the knowledge with me. Only I won't take the exam. That will save me time again," explains Jana Kreß. She will probably have her Bachelor's degree in her pocket in just under three years. Whether she will then stay in open child and youth work, switch completely to refugee counselling or work in administration, she doesn't know yet. Many ways are open to her. She is already on one path: she is finally going to catch up on her degree, which she was not able to do 30 years ago.