May 11th, 2018
In this week’s blog, we’d like to spotlight Germany’s education system based on recent news we’ve been monitoring from here. The German secondary school matriculation exam, known as the Abitur, has been in the news lately, as has been the rise of partnerships between businesses and public universities that is of concern to a number of watchdog groups that worry about business meddling with institutions of higher education.
German Abitur Tackles Geopolitical Issues
Drawing by the Indian cartoonist Paresh Nath. Photograph: Paresh Nath/Khaleej Times
While the United Kingdom is still grappling with the aftermath of its 2016 referendum that resulted in its exit from the European Union, aka Brexit, students in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg last week were actually addressing the reality of Brexit in the written part of the Abitur exam. The exam is Germany’s equivalent to the UK’s A-levels or France’s baccalaureate is the final hurdle for students leaving secondary school for university. It includes a combination of written and oral tests. In an effort to test the students’ knowledge of sociopolitical issues, the recent Abitur exam included a drawing by the Indian cartoonist Paresh Nath depicting the British in a split screen in which one is the fantasy of Brexit and the other reality of the referendum. (Source: The Guardian)
Students in Baden Württemberg Protest the Abitur
Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/Picture-Alliance, via Associated Press
It’s not unusual for students to complain about the unfairness and toughness of tests and exams. But students in the same German State of Baden Württemberg had much to complain about the English-language portion of the recent Abitur examination. Petitions have been signed protesting the use of archaic vocabulary which the students complained was incomprehensible. The passage that is causing the collective grievance of the students is from the 1934 novel “Call it Sleep” by American writer Henry Roth. The passage (shown below) is describing the Statue of Liberty:
“Against the luminous sky the rays of her halo were spikes of darkness roweling the air; shadow flattened the torch she bore to a black cross against flawless light — the blackened hilt of a broken sword. Liberty.”
(Source: The New York Times)
Strategic Partnerships between Higher Education and Corporations
Transparency International Germany, is a nongovernmental organization that fights corruption and it is concerned about a troubling trend where more top-name German universities are entering strategic partnerships with corporations and commercializing their research. Collaborations between German universities and business are not new and in the United States they are quite common. What is troubling is that more and more of the high ranking universities in Germany, experiencing a stagnant funding stream, are turning to the private business sector for help. Groups such the Free Association of Student Bodies which is a student union, and Die Tageszeitung, a left-learning newspaper are working with Transparency International Germany to expose the corporate influence on the public higher education sector.
(Source: The New York Times)
All You Need To Know About Higher Education in Germany
The library inside Stuttgart’s Hohenheim University. Photo: DPA
There are close to 2000 post-secondary courses (out of 18,000) in Germany that are conducted in the English language and cater to international students. 12% of Germany’s students are from abroad. To learn more, click here:
The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.