Students return to barracks

August 30, 1996

Old German soldiers who become students rather than simply fading away are to be offered accommodation in all-too-familiar surroundings.

Ex-conscripts and former professional soldiers who are studying in big cities and towns will be offered accommodation in army barracks under a scheme which is being supported by Germany's federal defence ministry.

They will be given accommodation for up to 12 months, during which the students will be able to look for civilian rented lodgings.

Accommodation will be very basic, but compared to the soaring levels of rent in German cities, the rooms in the barracks are cheap at just DM160 (Pounds 70) a month. Students will be obliged to observe barracks' regulations - for example, they are not allowed to have any visitors, Critics have already argued that with loneliness and disorientation in mass universities becoming a major problem for individual students, quartering in barracks can hardly be the right solution for the student housing problem.

The idea was put forward a couple of years ago by former education minister Jurgen Mollemann against the background of huge increases in student numbers.

Unification and the subsequent scaling down of the federal army has since resulted in a number of barracks becoming vacant.

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