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No research, no smart ideas, no future

On 30 October 2019, Freiburg's higher education institutions will jointly demonstrate for sufficient funding

Freiburg, Oct 23, 2019

No research, no smart ideas, no future

Source: Landesrektorenkonferenz Baden-Württemberg, Editing: Jürgen Oschwald

“No science, no future” is the motto under which Baden-Württemberg's higher education institutions are negotiating with the Finance Ministry in Stuttgart. At the end of the talks, a higher education financing agreement for the years 2021 to 2025 will be signed. The heads of the higher education institutions are taking a stand. They stress that without money there is no research, no first-class teaching and thus no future for the state as a place for innovation and knowledge. Student representatives are participating with their own slogan: “Highly educated - wrecked by austerity.” Together, students and higher education employees will take to the streets across Baden-Württemberg on 30 October 2019 to register their protest against underfunding. In Freiburg, the demonstration starts at 12 noon at Platz der Alten Synagoge.

Baden-Württemberg is traditionally a stronghold for academia, teaching and research. A state with no mineral resources, it depends on its clever minds. The universities offer answers and solutions to economic and social challenges such as digitization, climate change, the shortage of skilled workers and the nursing crisis. The state can only do justice to its role in knowledge transfer and for business and society by making significant investments, because the situation at Baden-Württemberg's universities is becoming increasingly critical. The number of students in higher education - including universities of applied sciences, colleges of education, colleges of art and music, and the Cooperative State University - has risen rapidly over the past 20 years. There are far more students than funded study places - and those places are not sufficiently equipped. For example, the traditional universities today receive 3,540 euros less per student that they did in 1998. The universities of applied sciences, and colleges of education, the arts and music need an additional 1,000 euros per student per year in order to be able to continue to fulfil their role in higher education and in society in the current high quality.

Together, the five Freiburg institutions of higher education will make their voices heard and make it clear to politicians what the results of underfunding are: Capacity reductions, job cuts, fewer services for students. This cannot be what lawmakers want - so higher education institutions are demanding the funding they need for the necessary digitization of research, teaching and services; for better supervision of students and doctoral candidates, as well as for securing jobs in administration, service and technology.


“The expectations placed on universities have changed considerably in terms of teaching, research and administration. At this point I would like to cite the example of academic administration at the College of Education, without which we could not carry out research and teaching. Today, for example, our administration has to implement the new version of the VAT law, EU data protection laws, information security requirements, maternity protection law, and the digitization of the administration - without receiving any of the necessary additional positions or the opportunity to reassign positions. Our calculation shows that this would require 6.5 additional positions in Freiburg alone. Without the necessary increases, the only way to maintain the essential legal form of the administration is to reassign positions from the academic field to the administration - with the logical consequences for teaching and student support.”
Professor Dr. Ulrich Druwe, College of Education


“As a college of music, we are a comparatively small institution, but we are equally dependent on an increase in the number of staff in these areas in order to meet the specialized requirements of digitization and administration. The close cooperation with the University of Freiburg in the recently-established Forschungs- und Lehrzentrum Musik (FZM) and the equally intensive cooperation with the College of Education in research and in joint study programs has prompted us to show solidarity with our partner institutions.
Professor Dr. Ludwig Holtmeier,  Rector of the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg


“Some two thirds of students in the fields of social work, health care and nursing study at universities of applied sciences in Baden-Württemberg. In order to counter the shortage of skilled workers in these areas vital to society, and to guarantee their future viability, it is essential that the institutions are adequately financed.“
Professor Dr. Renate Kirchhoff, President of the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Freiburg


“In recent years, institutions of higher education have taken on more and more tasks without receiving additional resources. We can no longer do justice to these duties if there is persistent underfunding. In the end, the students are the ones who suffer from this development because they face tangible cuts in the quality of supervision and the content of their studies.”
Professor Dr. Edgar Kösler, Rector of the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Freiburg


“The state universities are the only institutions of higher education that have to pay operating costs from their own budgets – be it cleaning, security, maintenance, renting buildings or equipping lecture halls. We haven't received a single additional euro for these expenses for 20 years. That produces deficits, which grow every year as costs increase. That is a burden we have to bear and from which we can’t escape. We have continually demonstrated that investing in higher education is investing in the state's future. We need adequate financing in order to keep Baden-Württemberg's universities competitive and attractive in the face of increasing international and national competition.
Professor Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Rector of the University of Freiburg


“The hardship resulting from a lack of basic funding is everywhere in the higher education sector and can be felt in everyday student life. That is why we demand decisions in favor of sufficient basic funding. Education and research in Baden-Württemberg can only be secured in the long term if universities are adequately financed - if the actual number of students and expenses from ongoing operations are covered in full. It is important to secure the study places that have been created in recent years. We therefore call on everyone to join us in setting an example and to demonstrate with us on 30th October.”
Student representatives of the Freiburg institutions of higher education


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