Rector calls on elite to privatise

October 29, 1999

HAMBURG. Germany's top universities should be floated on the stock market to make them more internationally competitive, a prominent Social Democrat education expert has recommended.

Peter Glotz, rector of the newly founded Erfurt University, told Focus news magazine that two or three of the largest and academically strongest universities should be first privatised and then floated as public limited companies similar to the recent privatisation of Deutsche Telekom.

He said the Technical Universities of Munich or Aachen would be good candidates for the move, which would only suit large


The privatised universities could then become role models for other universities and be the motor of modernisation for Germany's ailing state higher education system. They would be free from state regulation and be able to introduce professional management structures.

"There is money to be made in education," Professor Glotz told the magazine. By charging student fees, attracting sponsorship and carrying out research for industry, the universities would be completely independent from state funding within a few years.

Professor Glotz, formerly SPD shadow education minister in the Bundestag, is a champion of German university reform. He upset party allies by lobbying for student fees, one of the most controversial issues in German higher education.

Erfurt University aims to be a catalyst of university reform. Pro-reformers in Germany admire elite universities in the United States, such as Harvard, that are able to attract large sums from sponsorship and offer their students a top-rate education.

Yet mass universities in

Germany are still hemmed in by state restrictions and under-


"That is why no German university is among the top institutions internationally," Professor Glotz said.

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