Susanne Schilden
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HRK President on the new OECD education figures: Germany cannot ease up

10. September 2014

On the occasion of the publication of the OECD Statistics "Education at a Glance", Professor Dr. Horst Hippler, President of the German Rector's Conference (HRK), warned about systematically continuing along the same course in promoting education:

"Germany has caught up with the OECD average in terms of the quota of first-year students and graduates. This is an excellent development in view of the importance of education in Germany, a country with few other resources. The significant rise in the number of women who have completed science degrees is also encouraging.

However, the picture is rather different when it comes to expenditure on educational institutions. Admittedly, Germany spends $10,200 per student, above the OECD average of $9,600, but still lies significantly behind the forerunners, the USA ($23,100) and Canada ($17,000). As a centre of knowledge and innovation, we have to align ourselves with the international frontrunners.

Moreover, the growth in expenditure per student should not obscure current problems: firstly, the current Higher Education Pact II is not adequately funded and, secondly, individual states only wish to use the financial relief they will receive in the future by the stronger involvement of the federation in the German Federal Law on Support in Education (BaföG), and in the funding of non-university research institutions, for budget consolidation purposes. This does not represent forward-looking use of funding in terms of international competition for the best minds. 

A further challenge lies in the relatively small number of children from non-academic families among the student body. Universities have already developed promising concepts in this respect: a total of 260 universities have already submitted project outlines as part of the federal-state "Advancement through Education" programme.