Tuition Fees updates in Germany Universities

Tuition Fees updates in Germany Universities

Posted on 12 May 2014 Views ( 1255 )

From the past eight years, university tuition fee was introduced into most West German federal states. In the next few months, every single state of Germany will put this into action. These raise a sequel of caveats in a revealing light.

In 2006-2007, seven states in West Germany introduced fees. Bremen avoided this by the help of a lawsuit. Rheinland-Pfalz and Schleswig-Holstein are the remaining two which managed to oppose it completely. Lower Saxony is still charging tuition fees, but now it has decided to cease the tuition fee by the end of 2013-14 academic years.

All in all, a single electoral cycle had overturned their long-sought policy comprehensively and here in the whole story, democracy is the only immovable object that can block any irresistible force.

In Hesse, students protested for a citizens’ initiative called en masse. They have collected 70,000 signatures fighting for re-election. Then the ruling Christian Democratic Union party unraveled the tuition fee in order to retain power and also the course was reversed at high speed course. Now those state governments that followed Hesse’s footprints are in power and those that refused were removed from office at the next election. The U-turns involved were often spectacular. The conservative prime minister of Bavaria, threatened with a fee referendum, arm-twisted his liberal coalition partner into abolishing fees. He got elected again but his liberal partner, the Free Democratic Party, lost power for having announced that it would come back with better ideas on fee. In few months, German Universities have completed its series of experiments with tuition fees.

This kind of political narration raises more fundamental questions. Why did the German electorate react so forcefully to the imposition of annual fees of €1,000 (£824)? And why was their reaction so powerful politically? Sketching answers to these questions requires a far broader historical canvas.