The United Kingdom and Germany
Chapter 3Challenges of Participation in German Higher Education:An East–West Comparison 81
Chapter 3 Challenges of Participation in German Higher Education: An East–West Comparison1 Higher Education, Humboldt and the Soviet Model The German concept of higher education is usually attributed to Wilhelm von Humboldt whose statue, along with that of his brother, Alexander, is displayed in front of the Humboldt University in East Berlin (see Anrich, 1956; also Schelsky, 1963). His ideal of university education has become a seminal model for institutions of advanced study in many countries of Europe and in the United States. It originated in Berlin where an attempt was made to implement it in the now eponymous university in the eastern sector of the city. The word “attempt” is used advisedly because as a model, Humboldt’s idea of a university was never completely realised, and was often more honoured in the breach than the observance. However, like an essentialist philosophy or a religion, it appeals to an innate sense of idealism, and may embody some permanent truths bearing upon scholar- ship, the academic community and the life of the mind. Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that such ideals arise from a particular set of social and political circumstances which may not be valid for all time (Ringer, 1969). After the Second World War, and the partition of Germany, Humboldt’s model of higher education was superseded but not entirely replaced in the Eastern Bloc by the Soviet model. Its founder’s creed of individualism and 1 First published in M. Dennis and E. Kolinsky (eds) (2004). United and...
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