German Universities Urge Future Govt to Address Key Issues in Higher Education

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The association of public and government-recognized universities in Germany, the German Rectors’ Conference or Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK), along with several other higher education organizations, have been urging the future government in Germany to focus on crucial issues related to student support, research, and more.

As the University World News reports, the HRK has asked for solutions to “an enormous funding backlog in university construction and renovation”. Moreover, the organizations also believe that students should be offered more access to housing with good digital connections.

In addition, they have further urged the government to take measures regarding the promotion of long-term career paths at universities as well as to create attractive working conditions.

HRK President Peter-André Alt pointed out that that there is a need for federal and state funding of a digitalization program in higher education.

Another demand of the HRK is an annual amount of about €270 million (US$313 million) to be granted by the federal and state governments, whereas for students, it has supported the idea of a federal government reform BAföG Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, grants, and loans.

The President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Joybrato Mukherjee, said that the need for more academic partnerships had been noted since the COVID-19 erupted.

“The federal government should also support international students coming to Germany within such worldwide exchange. They need reliable infrastructure, swift internet access, affordable housing and better support services at the university – before, during and after their studies,” Mukherjee told the University World News.

Meanwhile, the president of the German Research Foundation or Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Katja Becker, stressed that now is the need for prospective research policy providing scope for science-guided decisions.

The report further states that DFG has issued a policy paper for the coming government, which lists recommendations and fields of action.  

According to President Alt, all the demands that HRK has mentioned require lasting solutions, adding that they expect that partners will manage to create clear and binding agreements on the mentioned measures, which he describes as necessary.

“The new federal government must address the problems quickly, with expertise and in recognition of university self-governance, as well as in consultation with the federal states and the universities,” Alt added.

The German Rectors’ Conference has most recently launched the “HRK ADVANCE” project, the goal of which is to strengthen the internationalization of German universities. In a media release, HRK highlighted that the project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) until the end of 2024.

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