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Universities maintain enrolment numbers despite unfavourable conditions

Universities maintain enrolment numbers despite unfavourable conditions

HRK President Peter-André Alt commented on the press release from the Federal Statistical Office on current student numbers. "Despite unfavourable general conditions, German universities have maintained the number of first-year students, with 474 000 young people taking up studies this year. Compared to the previous year, this is just under 2000 more first-year students, an increase of 0.4 percent. This is quite an achievement given the declining demographics, the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and the general uncertainty due to the unfavourable economic situation in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine."

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HRK concerned about stagnation in equal opportunities for women in science and academia

HRK concerned about stagnation in equal opportunities for women in science and academia

The HRK notes with great concern that progress in the appropriate consideration of women at academic career levels is still too slow, despite numerous funding measures and initiatives. The 26th report of the Joint Science Conference (GWK), which was recently published, states that the latest data update on equal opportunities shows that the percentage of female scientists at universities and non-university research institutions has once again increased compared to previous years, but has de facto stagnated at the higher career levels.

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HRK: Need for ongoing consistent approach to energy price alleviation measures for universities – General Assembly acknowledges first measures

HRK: Need for ongoing consistent approach to energy price alleviation measures for universities – General Assembly acknowledges first measures

The current price increases for natural gas, district heating and electricity continue to pose enormous challenges for German universities, despite ambitious energy-saving measures of their own and politicians' first additional promises of assistance. The General Assembly of the HRK therefore welcomed and acknowledged the support measures already taken at federal and state level, but at the same time, at its meeting made an urgent appeal to those with political responsibility at federal and state level to follow up with further steps to relieve the burden on universities and to quickly provide reliability in this regard.

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HRK General Assembly condemns violence against university members in Iran

HRK General Assembly condemns violence against university members in Iran

At its meeting, the General Assembly of the HRK expressed its dismay at the continued state violence in Iran against peacefully protesting citizens, including many students and academics. The assembly of German university leaders declared its solidarity with Iranian university members and with citizens demonstrating for human rights and explicitly also for women's rights and equality in Iran. It appealed to the Iranian leadership to immediately refrain from the use of violence, to seek dialogue and unconditionally to respect freedom of expression and academic freedom.

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HRK welcomes decisions by the federal government and the federal states on the Future Contract and the Excellence Strategy

HRK welcomes decisions by the federal government and the federal states on the Future Contract and the Excellence Strategy

HRK President Peter-André Alt commented on the decisions of the Joint Science Conference (GWK), in particular on the Future Contract for Strengthening Studying and Teaching in Higher Education and on the continuation of the Excellence Strategy: "With today's decision to dynamise the Future Contract, the GWK has implemented a key point of the coalition agreement of the governing parties in the federal government for the research system. The HRK expressly welcomes this groundbreaking decision."

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HRK President on the results of the Federal/State Government consultations on energy aid

HRK President on the results of the Federal/State Government consultations on energy aid

Commenting on the agreement between the German federal and state governments on an emergency aid programme and an emergency aid programme and a cap on gas and electricity prices, the President of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), Prof. Dr Peter-André Alt, said:

“The federal and state governments have agreed on an emergency aid programme and a cap on gas and electricity prices from which, in principle, everyone who consumes gas or electricity is to benefit. The HRK particularly welcomes the fact that the Federal Cabinet, on the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has decided that the support programme, which is now in the legislative process, should in any case also take comprehensive account of universities and the science sector as a whole. Despite their own determined efforts to cut costs, the universities are by no means able to bear the current increases in energy prices from their own budget. They are urgently dependent on diverse financial support, both from the states and from the federal government. I therefore appeal to the members of the German Bundestag to now swiftly implement the proposed sector exemption for universities and research institutions."

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