9. May 2017
The idea of an independent organisation for funding higher education teaching was rejected by the General Assembly of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) in Bielefeld today. The German Council of Science and Humanities had recommended the week before last that this idea be examined. In the Council’s view, such an organisation would enable the Federal and State Governments to support quality improvement in teaching through long-term funding opportunities and systematic networking.
Following the meeting, HRK President Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler clarified the General Assembly’s position: “What we need now, and also after 2020, is not new institutions, but above all clearly formulated, reliable higher education funding as a matter of joint responsibility of the State and Federal Governments. Ongoing competitive funding of teaching would be a dubious proposition. First of all, announcing major programme funding administered by institutions at a time when universities have long been without secure basic funding for their teaching capacities would give completely the wrong signal politically. Secondly, there are limitations on the comparison of teaching and teaching projects in a competitive setting.”
In other respects, the General Assembly concurred that the statement of the German Council of Science and Humanities broadly reflects the positions and goals of the HRK. “Naturally, the universities also see the quality of teaching as one of the core tasks within their collective responsibility,” says HRK Vice-President Prof. Dr. Holger Burckhart. He makes the point that the HRK is putting a great deal of effort into the networking and securing of expertise and supporting it with incentive schemes, for example as part of the Nexus project or the Ars Legendi prize.