CHE - Higher education as the norm will change the German higher education system
More than half of a one-year age group starts a higher education course in Germany, but “traditional” on-campus students are now being outnumbered. A special publication by the CHE Centre for Higher Education supports the idea of “higher education as the norm” with facts and gives the reasons for, and consequences of, this development.
More than half of a one-year age group starts a higher education course in Germany, but “traditional” students are now being outnumbered. A special publication by the CHE Centre for Higher Education supports the idea of “higher education as standard” with facts and gives the reasons for, and consequences of, this development. There are 2.6 million students in Germany. The number of first-year students has almost doubled in the past 20 years. The same is true for the number of graduates. At the same time, the “traditional” student has been replaced by a variety of educational biographies. Nowadays, the student body not only includes the traditional 19-years old secondary school leavers but also master craftsmen, single mothers or female managers enrolled on distance learning courses. CHE Managing Director Jörg Dräger said it was important to recognise and shape this development. "The argument about the alleged academisation fad is out of date,” he said. The social trend towards more university graduates cannot be stopped. Instead, the higher education system must be developed in such a way that it is able to cope with the volume and variety of students successfully." A special CHE publication outlines the current problems. Up to now, higher education institutions have still been focusing too heavily on what has traditionally been the “normal” type of student (young, full time, on campus) in relation to profiles and study offers. There is currently an insufficient volume of study offers tailored to individual and diverse educational biographies. Seminars starting after 6pm, for example, work well for part-time students, but not for single mothers who are studying. Changes at the policy level are also urgently needed: The BAföG (state-funded student loan) system, for example, is no lifelong learning instrument, as it inadequately takes part-time studying and further education courses into account. And there remains insufficient flexibility in the transition phases between higher education and professional training.
Cover of the special publication "Higher education is becoming the norm"
Dr Dräger said: "Higher education as the norm will change the German higher education system more profoundly than the Bologna Process has done." He said a paradigm shift was needed now rather than small changes here and there. "Study offers in the future must be more heavily based on the motto of ‘the right offer for everyone – but not the same offer for everyone’,” he said, adding that higher education and professional training should be brought closer together, for example by extending dual study offers. The CHE presents its findings in the 16-page special publication "Higher Education is becoming the norm – Social Change and its Consequences. The publication illustrates this development using numbers and facts, provides background information as well as recommendations for action aimed at higher education institutions and policy-makers. The new publication forms part of CHE's intention to use studies, projects and events to help shape the change to higher education as standard. Speakers from the fields of politics, science and industry will be discussing options for action at the “When studying is becoming the norm" conference, which is being held on 4/5 December in Berlin. For information about the conference, go to www.che.de/normalfall-studium.
Further Information can be found in the publication stated below.