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Thousands of students take to streets in protest

DPA/The Local · 9 Jun 2010, 17:35

Published: 09 Jun 2010 17:35 GMT+02:00

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An estimated 70,000 people took part in demonstrations in 40 cities to demand better conditions at German schools and universities, including an end to budget cuts and college tuition.

The protests come one day before state and federal officials meet in Berlin to discuss better funding for education and scientific research.

According to the police, around 1,000 people marched through the centre of the German capital, carrying banners reading “Money for Education, not for Banks.” Protestors in the state of Hesse attacked the state government’s plan to cut some €30 million from higher education and €45 million from schools this year. In the southwestern city of Freiburg, hundreds of student protestors briefly occupied part of the main train station, causing disruptions to rail traffic.

German students have protested regularly for more than a year to highlight what they consider the dire state of the country’s educational system.

Story continues below…

Many university students are also unhappy about reforms implementing bachelor and master degrees at German universities in recent years.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:46 June 9, 2010 by vonSchwerin
First of all, I agree with the posters above. If you pay only 500 Euros per year, what do you expect? Germany is trying to fund excellent teaching along with world-class research universities on meager budgets. (And unlike American universities, most German universities don't have large, private endowments or rich alumni willing to donate regularly to the university.)

Secondly, the debate on the bachelors and masters is over. Deutsche Studenten, get over it! In fact, the adoption of the B.A. was a favor to you all. The rate of German university students who did not complete the 6-year Magister Artium course of study in the humanities was too high. And 6 years for a BWL Diplom? This way, you can leave the university after 3 or 4 years and have a degree.

If German industry/commerce doesn't recognize the B.A., that's not the fault of the Bildungsministerien. And if German employers are still stuck on hiring narrowly trained university graduates, that, too, can be changed. (I know of plenty of psychology and history B.A.-holders in the UK and US who enter investment banking, consulting, journalism, or teaching without holding a university degree in those specific fields.) Your new bachelor's and master's degrees are internationally recognized and flexible if people will only think outside the deutsche box.
22:03 June 9, 2010 by wood artist
Sorry, buys, but you're not going to find much sympathy for your University situation out there in the real world. 500 a term is a fraction of what students pay elsewhere, and the degree programs make your education usable almost throughout the world.

Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

00:55 June 10, 2010 by hillelmoses
Most of the people making comments here are nitwits from the Anglo American world of the United States (and England to some extent). American universities (and I know this personally since I work for Columbia University as an administrator) are full of paper pushing administrators, superfluous financial aid personnel, university professors that hardly teach, and College Presidents earning millions of dollars in some cases. Those universities also witness the phenomenon of young people having to borrow tens of thousands of dollars (the indentured servants for the modern age). Instead of comparing German universities to American ones with their overpriced tuition and armies of bureaucrats (which is a system that is not going to last much longer since it is too expensive and inefficient) you NITWITS should look at Finland which does a better job than Germany in education. In fact it does a better job than the United States as world educational statistics show! What Germany needs to do is to reform its system to do what Finland does. It is the height of stupidity as shown by the NITWITS MAKING COMMENTS HERE to imitate the United States' farcical, pretentious, and overpriced higher education system which I maintain does not have too many more years to go before it falls into a serious crisis of affordability.
01:17 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
When a nation abandons its educational commitment to its youth it is doomed. The American educational system, from primary school through university level, is a graphic example. A quality university education is now unavailable in America to all but the elite, or to those who opt to enslave themselves to exorbitant student loans that will plague them for the rest of their lives, assuming they qualify. It is foolhardy, in my view, to cut educational funding for the sake of expediency as a result of a temporary and overblown financial crisis. Before long the German educational system will be as bad as America's, and its products as inarticulate as most of the Americans who contribute to these threads. If a government cannot or will not provide a quality education to all of its citizens, it should get out of the business of governing. Education is a right, not a privilege.
04:29 June 10, 2010 by Christine1
Ouch...talk about a transparent display of narcissism, arrogance, and defensiveness...
07:42 June 10, 2010 by pepsionice
I worked with a German guy who had an American father. The guy finished German school...then went to a German university for five years. He finished and then tried to find work. The best that he could find....after five months of looking....was a lowly paid insurance company statistics guy. He barely made 2,400 Euro before taxes ($3,100) per month. Even if he stayed ten years with this company....he wouldn't have added more than $300 on top of that (wage control). It was a dead-end.

So he gave up after twelve months, joined the Air Force (he still had US citizenship), and made more via the US Air Force in five years than he ever would have made with the German insurance company.

There is a problem here.....which has several implications. People are finally beginning to realize the big picture, and it's not pretty.
10:25 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Yes, stringing together a few coherent sentences to express an opinion in these precincts is narcissistic and arrogant. The gold standard of discussion on these threads is the illiteracy of the vituperative rant. Heaven forfend that a reasonable discussion be allowed to take place.
13:26 June 10, 2010 by luckycusp
Its really bad how the 'Americans' are jumping in with the "get over it, its only 500euros" comments. You need to respect the culture, the tradition of Germans giving extreme importance to education. Education is a human right here and not a privilege as in many countries, where only the elite can afford.
14:09 June 10, 2010 by mrsams
Why Germany have successful economy, it all because of the products of their education system.Education in germany is only 500 euro or even in other Unis its totally free because tax payers are paying the education for this people.That's why half of our income gone (taxes so high). So education here really not cheap,only it's not so visible to the eyes.
14:27 June 10, 2010 by Susan45
Now I know mrsams why I been mob in other forum, when I just infos how I can put my daughter in the unis of Germany!
17:45 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Are you a product of the American educational system, Susan? From your post it would appear so.
04:34 June 11, 2010 by Talonx
1.) Tuition fees set up a block to anyone not a part of the middle class. Grants in the U.S. are a joke.

2.) The system in some parts of Germany and Austria is still free. Though places that have instituted tuition fees continually discuss raising such fees (which is why it is important to protest already at 500 €).

3.) Free Uni prevents grade inflation. And universities can potentially be netted much mor money than would ever be possible through simple tuition fees.

4.) The problem with the Bachelor and Masters system in Germany is that it is not an adjustment, but a simple case of packing a 5 year diplom into 3 years (bachelors) and a destruction of the magister system in a similar manner.
22:13 June 11, 2010 by Cincinnatus
It is becoming clear that these pathetic, spoiled children have NO appreciation for what they have. It is part of the reason that University education has become so diluted over the years. Perhaps everyone should not go to university.

As my father said so many years ago, when he advised me that he could not afford to finance my college education, "You will have a greater appreciation for an education purchased by your own hands, than one provided by the largesse of others."

He was right.
01:05 June 12, 2010 by Talonx
@ Cincinnatus

I'm sorry your father is an idiot.
01:07 June 12, 2010 by hillelmoses

I guess you are another one of those Americans with the view that one has to pay for everything oneself. Why don't we eliminate free public education for children in the United States to be consistent? As far as purchasing an education with the labor of one's own hands as your Daddy advocated, think of how expensive a university education is becoming in the United States. For instance, years ago Rice University in Texas was free even though it was and is a private university. Now tuition is tens of thousands of dollars per year. Even public universities are becoming prohibitively expensive and it is becoming very difficult to do what was once possible for college students to do in order to pay for an education with the effort of their own work; that is for a student to be able to save to pay tuition by working summers and part-time and thus to do what you advocate. Trust me Cincinnatus the American university is one of the greatest rackets known to mankind with costs going up year per year much more rapidly than the inflation rate. Armies of bureaucrats, professors who do 'research' and don't teach, expensive student centers, sports programs, College presidents who earn millions of dollars, and much, much more all dressed up with the fancy talk that convinces parents to spend more and more and students to borrow more and more. I would trust in your words Cincinnatus if you advocated that all these practices that I have mentioned are wrong and make your words nothing other than wishful thinking. Unfortunately Cincinnatus, as a naive American, you have drunk the milk of propaganda of the American education market and you believe in their fairy tales yourself. I say just one thing to you: grow up and stop believing fairy tales! Yes your Daddy was right (in some ways) years ago but your Daddy's words are naive pavlum in today's overbloated American university system.
15:28 June 12, 2010 by wenddiver
#5 is correct, we are doomed!!

How can the Anglo-American world survive by teaching our children to be competitive, when there are countries that teach their children to do nothing the world will take care of them.

This probably explains the complete domination of the world's cultures by Finland. How do we break this endless cycle that everything we use is invented in Finland? Beseiged by their Television, Movies, Art, Science, Food, Military Technology and corporations; How will the US and Great Britain survive?

For all we know Finland might be colonizing Australia, Canada and New Zealand as we speak.

The doom of the English speaking world's University System may be exagerated, don't bury us yet. We are not the Street Urchins your Socialist politicians paint us as, besides weeds are stronger than flowers and Mutts are better survivors than Pekignese.
21:35 June 12, 2010 by interested
500Euros a term? How about 50,000 Pounds per year in London, not inclusive living costs etc? When one gets used to one way, change causes panic! Unless you guys are earning 2Euroes a month, one will wonder why the complaints...maybe I should take up studying before the price raises to match those of other countries.
23:33 June 12, 2010 by hillelmoses
To #18


And of course one of the marks of being competitive is charging $25,000 + for tuition as is being done all over in American universities. Right? All the countries of the world should immediately imitate the pretentious and wasteful system of higher education of the United States, right? Very competitive indeed!

I am sorry to say but the United States is not even the most competitive economy in the world right now. Both Singapore and Hong Kong are now ranked higher with Switzerland, Australia, Canada and other countries following quite close. England is not even in the top 10! So the SMUG attitutude of #18 should be seen for what it is. Just SMUG AND DEFENDING THE WAY OF LIFE THAT SHE EITHER HAS BEEN TAUGHT IN OR HAS BEEN TAUGHT TO ADMIRE. OF COURSE #18 HAS LITTLE IMAGINATION IN THAT SHE JUST REPEATS WHAT SHE HAS BEEN TAUGHT AND IS UNABLE TO QUESTION THINGS. I also suggest that #18 looks very closely at the world rankings of educational achievements of educational achievements. She will find out that the U.S. and its educational accomplishments are nothing to be SMUG about. since they are not that high in terms of what school children learn in the US. Finland and Singapore have topped those charts for quite a while.

I also think that her patronizing attitude about countries teaching their children to do nothing and the world taking care of them is EQUALLY SMUG IF SHE THINKS THAT THIS APPLIES TO GERMANY. PEOPLE IN GERMANY WORK VERY HARD. THIS IS NOT A COUNTRY OF LOTUS EATERS, MS.AMERICA.
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