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On proposal by the Federal Minister of Education, Annette Schavan, the German government has approved a bill to create a new scholarship programme for the country’s top-performing students. The scheme, which still needs to go through the legislative process, is to provide support of EUR 300 per month to the best-performing 10 percent of the country’s students. Fifty percent of the funds are to come from public sources (federal government and Germany’s states), the rest from the private sector. The programme is to be launched still in 2010, with the number of scholarships gradually rising until 2013, when public investment will have reached EUR 160 million and some 90 000 students are expected to benefit.
Opposition politicians criticised the initiative as socially selective, favouring students from privileged socio-economic backgrounds. It is also unclear if the private sector (companies, foundations) will come up with the matching funds and if Germany’s second chamber, the Bundesrat, will pass the law, should the opposition win the May elections in North Rhine Westphalia.