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University Enrollment Slots in Scarce Supply (December 12, 1974)

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What does that mean, considering that there are roughly 20,000 professions and occupations? Here’s Schnoor on the topic: “We have to create a ranking for the roughly 100 degree programs and decide whose wait list activity makes them most eligible.” All imaginable occupations from “pavement painter in Ticino” (the sarcastic response of vocational training experts in Bonn to this suggestion) to dental technician have to be stored in the computer. They say they would “manage” [with this system], but they don’t think it makes sense. Applicants will adjust by selecting occupations that are ranked highly. The impact on the labor market will also be serious. Vocational training experts expect that the wait-listed high school graduates will be sucked up by the market at the expense of foreign employees. Other experts fear that there will be even fewer apprenticeships and even fewer options for trainees, for whom a university education is out of the question. None of these views can be proven at the present time.

The ZVS administrators see an alternative in “special admissions procedures,” one of former education minister Klaus von Dohnanyi’s favorite ideas. He, as well as the Free Democratic Party these days, wants to use these procedures only for medical degree programs. Instead of good grade point averages, an applicant’s abilities are supposed to be assessed through tests and interviews, so that – according to CDU minister of education Bernhard Vogel – “even those with 3.0 [B-/C+] averages will still have a chance.”

The Düsseldorfers do not think that this is a good idea, because it focuses only on medical schools. Applicants who are not admitted to medicine-related courses of study, despite their good grades, will then, logically, flood other degree programs, causing the same chaos there. For this reason, Schnoor has said unequivocally that the Abitur should only be considered a school-leaving certificate and not an entitlement to attend university or college. “We have to draw a line between high school and higher education in order to protect the schools and to allow as many people as possible to advance as far as possible in school.”

Schnoor decries the enormous pressure that the state treaty has placed on the schools. He and the other Social Democratic ministers of education don’t want to see schools determine the number of university and college students, filter people out and dole out opportunities for social advancement. “We also need master craftsmen with qualified diplomas. We have to offer more to all young people, and we cannot just focus on the 20 percent of college students whose placement [at institutions of higher learning] is causing us problems.”

Source: Jutta Roitsch, “Ulrike K. und das Chaos in der Bildungspolitik. Tausende von Abiturienten werden nie eine Chance haben, ein Studium zu beginnen” [“Ulrike K. and the Chaos of Education Policy: Thousands of High School Graduates Will Never Have a Chance to Go to College”], Frankfurter Rundschau, December 12, 1974.

Translation: Allison Brown

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