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Merkel to present university reform plan next week

DPA/The Local · 11 Dec 2009, 10:42

Published: 11 Dec 2009 10:42 GMT+01:00

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As thousands of students continued their demonstrations against the overhaul of the country's university system, state education ministers met in Bonn this week to address their complaints. The minsters agreed to tinker with testing and the curriculum of the bachelor’s programme, which students say has been botched.

The reforms were implemented several years ago as part of the Bologna process, meant to bring standardised bachelor's and master's programmes to European universities.

According to information obtained by news agency DPA, Merkel’s roadmap, which she will present at the second annual education summit on Wednesday, states that the quality of teaching and support for students must be improved. It will also advocate that students have more freedom to transfer between universities.

The chancellor's statement will also include a request for German’s 16 states to increase funding for financial aid, known as BaföG, by two percent. Most university students get their education for free, but in 2006 some states instituted tuition fees of up to €500 per semester – a development that is among students' biggest complaints.

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Students have voiced their discontent at campus protests across the country over the last few months, in some cases occupying lecture halls for days until being forcibly removed by police.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:47 December 11, 2009 by scout1067
Wow, 500 Euro a semester, that must break the bank. Each 3 hour course for my undergrad cost $750 and I had to take 120 hours. HMMM let's do the math, that is $30,000 not counting books. My Grad school classes cost even more. I dont know what these kids are whining about.
14:33 December 11, 2009 by Frenemy
....my sentiments exactly! I can't figure out where this pervasive unfounded (cultural?) sense of entitlement comes from. I mean, older Germans don't have this delusional mindset. Bunch of whiny little bitches!!
17:00 December 11, 2009 by Talonx
As a person who recieved his primary and first round of higher education in the Sates (and is in debt for it) and as someone getting their masters at a German university now, I think I can explain for those of you (Scout and Frenemy) that haven't really thought about the issue.

Schooling used to be quite cheap the world over, as would be expected from a public institution that you already pay taxes for. Let's continue with one example, the U.S. The U.S. started instituting tuition fees, raising them higher and higher each year, while barely raising public funding. Eventually, money that should have gone to schools went elsewhere (e.g. defense contractors).

I don't see how both of you could miss all this, it's as if you think it was a good thing that you paid '30,000'. In the very least you seem to see it as normal, I don't know which is more messed up. What I do know as that you don't understand that it used to work a different way and that it started with small fees, that increased through time, leading to the situation that we have today, a situation where the smart people realize that a degree outside of the states is probably a good idea.

German's are trying to make it so that what happened in the U.S. doesn't happen to them. Living life in debt and on credit is not a good way to motivate the future.

By the way, older Germans didn't have to pay tuition at all. I hardly see how students speaking up for social responsibility is a 'pervasive sense entitlement', I guess it makes sense if you take social responsibility in the States as a baseline.
18:21 December 11, 2009 by Frenemy
actually it was closer to $50k in my case (for my M.A.)...but that's beside the point (only 2 years after, I'm more than half way done paying off that loan...and those contractors you so casually demonize paid for quite a bit of that btw)

But what I was really getting at is simply this: "you get what you pay for"!
19:49 December 11, 2009 by Talonx
Awwe that's so cute, is that why you don't know what a logical fallacy is?

I'm sorry for demonizing people that help dream up ways to kill...wait no I'm not.

Plus, you had to actually take blood-money to go to university, I think I win. Not that I wouldn't be more than happy to deprive those amoral unethical defense contractors, that are slowly helping to kill the world.
20:06 December 11, 2009 by Rossi82
Guess the system is good if mummy or daddy can help fit the $50k bill... but I really don't think this is the best way to choose the most suitable students for higher education, by the size of your checkbook... Just need to read the comments on here to see the quality of the students from "user pays" education system!
20:07 December 11, 2009 by Talonx
But, seriously, go German students, 'older germans' and faculty (most actually support the students, check polling information)!
20:10 December 11, 2009 by Rossi82
Here, Here... Talonx! All for the students!
20:22 December 11, 2009 by Frenemy
@rossil82: what part of "loan" is difficult to understand??

"blood-money"?! Not at all. "Strategic investment in national/cultural intellectual capital" would be more appropriate. And I know that you two (talonx and rossi82) will never grasp this concept...but that is why you and your ilk will continue to languish academic ineptitude...."
01:37 December 12, 2009 by userde
Entitlement sure is!

As a person who recieved his primary ed. in Mexico and first round of higher education (J.H. & H.S. & College) in the Sates (and is NOT in debt for it) I can also as Talonx has, explain (Scout and Frenemy) of what they haven't really seen outside the shadowed closed box system.

-Did you S&F get child allowance courtesy of Uncle what's his name again 'government' Sam?

Germany has it. Allowing for up to 160Eur/mo. From birth to 25 yrs of age as long as parents are not on very regulated welfare. (Hartz IV)

-Does your 30K like-a-car-sale 8-semester-party-burnout education get you where you want to go?

Really... because if it does I am willing to leave Europe, return U.S. and start looking for a job now!

-Can you get affordable head-to-toe dental-health-emergency medical insurance (without going thru a company instead direct private ins.) that you can pay month after month?

Germany has it and most students afford it.

If you'd rather proudly waggle through college halls, gossip how cool your 35K car is, your mobile, or who you met in facebook, avoid mentioning the $100mo car ins. price tag , 30K college tag or even telling to your friends how you plan to pay for that... or even! initiate a question about why can't you afford health ins. then American Experiment is for you!

Germany isn't all pretty and blue. Space limitations, agonizing weather most of the year, lack of sun, stacked like fish lifestyle. The American Government hasn't learned from Europe one bit. Instead allow McDonalds, unregulated laws, freedom to bounce around and if you screw up as a student, you either work low wage... or better yet! Join the Corps!

There is nothing worth wanting that the U.S. offers any student at this point unless the government is completely overthrown including the twisted laws they have put together to privilege companies over many years. Bachelors-Masters-PhD. Better be an intellectual!

No equality, only a lucrative lifestyle. Competition? So you agree with the 30K tag, finish college and think you're going to compete and pay for your loan on-time? What-who-where can you possibly compete with? The government run corporatocracy owns you from cradle to grave unless you protest and shake the establishment, entitling you to demand what is equal and right for all! The majority of students out of college like to begin working pressured by bankers who threaten unless the loan is paid back. Pay back loan letters in the mail are just what you ordered. The reason why students in Germany/Austria/Switzerland have gathered, organized, coordinated, arranged demands, deadlines and reasons to be counted in the democratic decisions of education was mentioned by Talonx "Germans are trying to make it so that what happened in the U.S. doesn't happen to them. Living life in debt and on credit is not a good way to motivate the future." (Read Part II)
01:58 December 12, 2009 by Frenemy
@userde: based on your sentence construction/syntax and choice of vocab, I'm gonna guess that you are Spanish-speaking/originally from somewhere on the Iberian peninsula (Basque maybe?)

....anyway, regardless of where you went to school, I can assure you of one universal constant when it comes to educational systems: cheap = cheap (as a genius Nobel-winning professor in particle physics, where do u think I will spend the majority of my time??? Answer: If I'm not at CERN, I will be teaching at MIT, CalTech, Oxford, or Cambridge....NOT some piece of sh!t open/cheap/free uni in No-one-gives-a-, Germany....!!!!)
01:58 December 12, 2009 by userde
(Scout and Frenemy) stay in debt and being terrorized by your govt. (arrested for occupying buildings fined & prosecuted for demanding what is right...) keep being fed sh** and kept in the dark.

What could you possibly learn at the university now that is worth paying $30K for? Most scientific discoveries are well known, even worldwide, math, physics, economics, politics... perhaps biology, gene technology, nanotech if you add another zero to that $30K!

As Talonx explained, what the U.S. government has done is raise and/or otherwise remove public funding for education, deviate it elsewhere and have the ordinary American pay for it. No debate, deaf ear Unis, torpedo thru congress public education hijacking laws, done deal, all i can do is use my credit card to pay for it way.

And because your sisters and brothers, and friends, and acquaintances, and their parents of previous generations PAID in full for them, well that's how the sky looks and why should S&F argue it otherwise if you've got it good if not work the minimum wage baby...

So called Americans,families, dads and moms and everyone is so comfortable knowing the American Dream is just a get out of college pay up! lifestyle that reduces savings penny by penny.

So going back to the original statement of WOW, Yes, 500 Euros does break the bank here. The factor that you have accounted for is the cost of living being relatively low in Germany. The gondolas of Capitalistic Free Enterprise don't row around rivers here from dusk til dawn to allow for students to find a way to earn enough to pay for rent/light/food even their education.

Talonx thank you for explaining to Scout and Frenemy how it all is and used to be in Germany.

As for me as soon as me & my parents paid my $5000 College Degree. I left the U.S.

Searching for a better future....
07:31 December 12, 2009 by nickdrink
amis have higher debt than us brits when it comes to uni.But still we have debt.
16:19 December 12, 2009 by Talonx
Frenemy, I'm sorry I became spiteful, but seriously, you don't seem to get it.

It's not as if education is cheap in Germany, it costs quite a bit. Thing is, the STATE pays for it, because it's a PUBLIC INSTITUTION. It's generally better that way, because the Universities here don't tend to pander to the lowest common denominator that just so happens to be able to afford school. In germany there is no 'grade inflation', because the standards are set by proffesors. Tuition fees not only erode standards-control, but they tend to limit access to those who are intelligent enough and could contribute greatly to society with the proper education. And yes schools like MIT get alot of good teachers/researchers, mostly because research funding to such schools is astronomical (mostly paid for by the GOVT, not just defense contractors), but the rate at which such funding is increased year after year is declining, in Germany it is increasing (all this in a country that only 20 years ago didn't really exist, a country still paying the price of giving half itself a make-over in under 5 years time).

As someone doing research now, and looking towards the future with just that goal in mind, as well as teaching - I would not like to be apart of the system that's been worked out in the U.S. It just isn't going anywhere. And, I don't have the energy to try and rehabilitate a lame horse that won't let itself heal.
17:53 December 12, 2009 by Frenemy
No hard feelings. I guess we will just agree to disagree. :-)
08:49 December 13, 2009 by lond36
free uni education is burden for the whole tax payers, no free education is burden for individual parents or students .
22:04 December 22, 2009 by Talonx
Ignorance is one of the greatest burdens on society (that would include taxpayers), I don't think one could argue against that as a simple truth.

I would gladly pay a bit extra (as I do in Germany) than have to stomach living somewhere, where half the population over 50 thinks evolution is a myth and that the earth is orbited by the sun. Such people aren't just ignorant, they are dangerous.
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