The United Kingdom and Germany
Chapter 1Academic Freedom and Autonomy in the United Kingdomand Germany 19
Chapter 1 Academic Freedom and Autonomy in the United Kingdom and Germany1 Two Contrasting Traditions The freedom of the university as an institution is usually discussed and defined in terms of its relation to the state. German universities have close links with the state: their professors are civil servants (Beamte) with a special duty of loyalty towards the Constitution, and their appointments to Chairs have to be ratified by the appropriate Ministry; the final examinations taken by future teachers and lawyers, for example, are state rather than university examinations; university budgets are set out in detail by Land of ficials. Facts such as these make Germans somewhat self-deprecatory about free- dom in their universities; thus Berchem (1985) notes that Germany comes far down the international league table on an OECD index of autonomy (OECD, 1980) and Gellert (1985) writes: “The very low degree of univer- sity autonomy in Germany is indeed one of the main reasons for scarcely existent competition at institutional level and the lack of incentive and control mechanisms within the universities in the past.” By contrast, the British tend to be sanguine about their academic free- dom and values because their universities are legally independent corporate bodies. Tim Boswell, at the time British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Further and Higher Education, made the following statement during his Deutsch-Englische Gesellschaft lecture tour: 1 First published in Minerva, 36 (2), 101–124, 1998. 20 Chapter 1 The traditions of control in Britain show interesting dif ferences from those...
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