Plans to shut two colleges of music, announced today, have cracked open a debate on the quality and quantity of teaching institutions in Germany. We have received the following reflections from a well-known professor, who requested confidentiality:
As a civil servant I cannot say this in public, but there is absolutely no need for 24(!) Hochschule in Germany.
Every colleague I have ever spoken to agrees with me – every colleague with tenure, that is! The situation of the adjunct professors is abysmal, but that is not directly related to the number of schools but rather to the nature of their contracts.
The Hochschulen have 30% foreign students, mostly Korean and Chinese. This would be wonderful if they were even moderately gifted, but the general level is dismal mediocrity. By this reckoning Germany is supporting eight Hochschule for foreign students alone. They, as well as all German students pay no fees for studying – in their own countries they would be paying hefty fees – which means that the German taxpayer is paying for their education.
At the same time, everyone is bemoaning the general cultural level and the fact that there are relatively few excellent German musicians emerging – at least compared to other countries.
I hate the idea of Stuttgart, Freiburg and Karlsruhe plotting to close the other schools. If anything there should be a national reorganisation, which is impossible because the constitution delegates the cultural decisions to the States. The scandal is that the money saved by closing the Hochschule in Trossingen and Mannheim, should it happen, ought to be invested in music education in the public schools and in the schools which train young people before they go to the Hochschule. That’s unlikely. Were this to happen I think you would see a great consensus among professionals about using the resources more intelligently.