Broader access and better quality
Not enough young people in Germany obtain higher education qualifications. For a knowledge society like ours, this is a serious shortcoming. For young people themselves, it means that many are unable to fulfil their potential. The main causal factors are social selection in the German education system and the high drop-out rate. Not enough school-leavers take up a place in higher education, and some social groups are heavily under-represented. Furthermore, the notoriously poor facilities in many institutions of higher education create a bad environment for studying, with the result that too many students break off their studies and leave with no qualifications.
In our higher education policy, we Greens are pursuing the following objectives at both federal and Land level:
- We want a “Pact for Students” to create at least 500,000 new study places, thereby enabling young people born in high birth years to undertake a course of study, with a view to rectifying the shortage of graduates.
- We want viable, nationwide rules governing admission to institutions of higher education and the qualifications awarded by them. A well-performing service agency is required to address the current chaos in the application and admission system for higher education.
- We are committed to a reform of the Bologna Process. Institutions of higher education must stop overloading, and start to streamline, their study programmes. In this way, workloads will become more manageable while still requiring substantial effort by students. We also want to improve support services for students.
- We want to abolish all fees for higher education: they deter far too many school-leavers and also have a socially selective effect. We believe that access to higher education should not be dependent on parental wealth.
- And finally, we want to substantially reduce the social selection that closes the door to higher education for some young people. At present, students from low-income families, or families which have no connection with higher education, are still underrepresented in higher education. We want to give them more support and take measures to counter the growing disinclination of young women in particular to take up a course of study.
- In this context, the assistance provided to students under the Federal Law on Support for Education and Training (BAföG) must be reformed. The green model is based on two pillars: a student grant (in other words, a basic grant – the same for everyone – which is paid to all students, irrespective of parents’ income) and a needs-based component to reduce social inequalities.
- We want to make it easier for persons without the requisite school-leaving qualifications (i.e. without the Abitur, which gives the right of entry to university) and employed persons to gain access to higher education by introducing harmonised nationwide admission criteria.