The United Kingdom and Germany
Chapter 2Principles and Pragmatism in Private Higher Education:Examples from the United Kingdom and Germany 45
Chapter 2 Principles and Pragmatism in Private Higher Education: Examples from the United Kingdom and Germany1 State Control in Education: Incubus or Genie? Many of the Conservative governments of contemporary Western Europe are intent upon developing competition and privatisation in the educa- tional sphere. Their of ficial rhetoric is that reduced dependence upon state funding will mean increased freedom for individuals and educational institutions. This argument is viewed with hostility and suspicion by certain pressure groups in society (typically, the Socialists) who fear that an even partial withdrawal of state control will allow well-of f or well-educated people to promote their own children’s life-chances ef ficiently, while the children of the less well-of f will be disadvantaged. It is the suspicion that they may contribute to social inequality which makes non-state universi- ties (and of course schools too) politically controversial. In Germany and Britain, the spirit of the age favours individuality, diversity and free enterprise in education – all values conducive to the foundation of non-state universities. The number of non-state higher edu- cation institutions (HEIs) in West Germany is now quite substantial. In 1987, there were 53 of them with about 23,500 students (BMBW, 1987a: 3). The Germans make a distinction between Fachhochschulen (roughly the equivalent of the British polytechnics) and universities. The latter are 1 First published in Higher Education 24 (2), 247–273, 1992. 46 Chapter 2 supposed to have a broad subject range and a good research profile whereas the forner may be monotechnics or confine...
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