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German higher education: teaching in need of improvement

The German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat) has identified substantial deficiencies in teaching in German higher education. In a set of recommendations published in early July, it demands a budgetary increase of EUR 1.1 billion per year for universities to be able to improve the conditions for teaching and learning.

The paper criticizes ‘partly untenable’ student-staff ratios, particularly in business studies and in the humanities and language studies, where it deems necessary an increase of professorial positions in the order of one third. It also sees deficits in the built environment and in the technical and library infrastructure. In addition, it repeats its demand for ‘teaching professorships’ and it requests more tutorials. Excellence in teaching is to be rewarded just as excellence in research. Continuing professional development for teaching staff is to be provided. The quality of teaching is to become a key factor in the future system of (institutional) quality assurance.