“Create more study places in Master programmes“
The demand for study places on Master programmes will increase dramatically over the coming years. In contrast to the number of Master study places so far planned by the Higher Education Pact, an estimated 36,000 Bachelor graduates could may have to postpone starting a Master programme in the peak year of 2016 alone if the highest of three possible calculation scenarios in the study came true. The CHE model calculation shows the corridor of the expected potential demand for places if 50, 69.4 and 85 per cent of Bachelor graduates continue onto a Master programme. Even the cautious estimate that only one in two Bachelor students will continue onto a Master programme indicates that a significantly higher demand is to be expected compared to the number of Master places financed up until now. “It is a fact that the Higher Education Pact 2020 does not include a set of tools that can stimulate the necessary expansion of study places in Master programmes,” said Prof. Dr. Frank Ziegele, managing director of the CHE.
The development of demand for study places on Master programmes in the coming years is being underestimated in strategic planning at HEIs as well as in education policies drawn up by German Länder. According to the CHE model calculation, the demand for study places on Master programmes will rise continuously until it reaches a peak in 2016, which, depending on the scenario analysed, will be between 175,000 and 265,000 first-year Master students if sufficient places are being offered. By way of comparison there were 113,737 first year Master students in 2011.
“The scenarios calculated show the dramatic situation HEIs face in the future with respect to the Master programmes,” warned Prof. Dr. Frank Ziegele, managing director of the CHE. “The high in the number of first-year students in their first programmes will continue. A boom in the number of Bachelor graduates who want to continue onto a Master programme but for whom there is still an insufficient number of places will soon be felt. And all this in view of an impending debt cap.”
The scenarios calculated by CHE Consult are valid in the event that 50, 69.4 and 85 per cent of Bachelor graduates continue onto a Master programme. The 85 per cent scenario is currently the most suitable one for explaining the number of first-year Master students so far. Based on this assumption, there would be a total of 36,000 Bachelor graduates in the peak year of 2016 who would have to postpone starting a Master programme if the estimated number of study places as set out in the Higher Education Pact were created.
Prof. Dr. Ziegele said that the problem of missing Master places needed to be taken more seriously if the successes of more participation in academic education were to be preserved. He said: “The financial resources of the Higher Education Pact have funded a Master’s place for two in three Bachelor graduates, but HEIs have mainly invested in Bachelor programmes so far, which was also sensible. Now, there are clearly more students than anticipated in the Higher Education Pact. There needs to be urgent investment in Master programmes, and politics must provide additional funds for it. The Higher Education Pact 2020 does presently not include a set of tools that can stimulate the development of Master capacities.”
According to Prof. Dr. Ziegele, another approach for HEIs is the promotion of lifelong learning. If professors encouraged their students to go into professional life with a Bachelor degree in order to gather initial experience, and at the same time enforced Master offers as further education, the demand for study places in Master programmes would be stretched over time and lifelong learning would be promoted.
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