“Bring the family!” – workable concepts for a family focus introduced at HEIs
Eight higher education institutions (HEIs) in Germany have committed themselves to cultural change: for more than two years, they have been working together in the “Family in Higher Education Institutions best practice club” in order to make it possible for people to co-ordinate family and studies or career.
Around 78 per cent of all childless students and employees at HEIs would like to have a child, but only 7 per cent of all students have children. Two-thirds of all students think that the atmosphere at HEIs is not child-friendly. Among the most important reasons for not having children are uncertainties about the prospects for a successful career, the multiple responsibilities created by studying and raising children at the same time and problems with financing (sources: CHE Consult/HIS).
The HEIs in the best practice club, however, presented their solutions for these problems at the “Bring the family – the changing face of HEIs” conference held in Berlin on March 15 and 16. Part-time study offers, e-learning offers, mentoring programmes for students and help with studying abroad with children or the support of ”dual career-couples“ make it feasible to study at HEIs with a family and reveal the opportunities.
Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Dr. Kristina Schröder commended the projects of the eight HEIs. She said that they would add new momentum for a family-focused society. Minister of Science and Education for Hesse Eva Kühne-Hörmann called for a greater sense of family in the academic world. “Parents need someone at the HEIs who can give them encouragement,” she said.
The individual procedural steps were documented in printed manuals and practice reports handed out at the conference so that other institutions can also benefit from the experiences. Information about the conference and the projects is available on the Internet at www.familie-in-der-hochschule.de under the Press Releases rubric.
Round of talks on higher education practice, from left, with Dr. Friedhelm Nonne, chancellor of Philipps-Universität Marburg, Günter Gerstberger, Robert Bosch Foundation, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult Christine Keitel-Kreidt, vice-president of FU Berlin, and Prof Dr. Norbert Grünwald, vice-chancellor of Hochschule Wismar (f.l.) (photos: David Ausserhofer)
The programme initiators and conference organisers – the Robert Bosch Foundation, the German government’s representative for the new Länder in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, and CHE Centre for Higher Education Development – selected eight HEIs in May 2008 to take part in a project to test how to co-ordinate family, work and studies at HEIs. Each HEI focussed on different problem areas and developed ”good practices” over the last two years that should become general.
Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.