Putting Your Best Foot Forward: The Development Orientation of Germany’s Universities of Applied Sciences
When Germany’s universities of applied sciences (UAS) were being established in the 1960s, it was conveniently claimed that they and the traditional comprehensive universities were to be “different but equal.” Such was the official policy at the commencement of Germany’s dual system of higher education, but how have the various developments which have taken place since then affected their respective roles and orientations, both now and in the future? I this paper I begin by discussing the establishment of Germany’s dual system of higher education, how it developed, and the subsequent difficulties encountered regarding the differentiation of these two avenues of higher education. I then examine the factors which have influenced these developments as well as the possible directions they may take in the future. In the past half century, despite differences in educational results, legal systems, policies and “third mission” characteristics, UASs and comprehensive universities have become more similar. Important factors influencing the relationship between the two include the right to grant doctoral degrees, third-party funding, and the likelihood that UASs will one day outnumber and have more students than comprehensive universities. There are three possibilities for their future relationship: maintaining the status quo, further convergence, and further differentiation. Even if Germany’s two forms of higher education become functionally equivalent, if the phenomenon of academic drift continues unabated, the two will still be differentiated in terms of academic and research quality, i.e., as first-class and second-rate. A rational model of a dual system of higher education should not be based on rigid legal classifications; rather, differentiation should be determined by the tasks to be undertaken by each type of institution. In this way it is possible to form a system of higher education characterized by unity within diversity. Moreover, since UASs have already developed into an important and successful mode of higher education, it is preferable for UAS’s to put their best foot forward by continuing to make the most of the unique characteristics of vocational education and the advantages of applied research.
|關鍵詞||二元體制、專門高等學校、學術漂移、dual system、universities of applied sciences、academic drift|