In Germany, free education leads to irrelevant courses, hopelessly overcrowded public universities, and a drop-out rate of about 30%
Well yes, if one is young and doesn’t have to pay for something; and furthermore can dictate what the product should be, then shit will happen.
One might say that the customer is always right. The customer in this case would be assumed to be the students. Since they are not paying, are they really the customer? Furthermore, academia is the one place where the (apparent) customer is not always correct. Academic standards should be maintained for the sake of the hidden customer, that is, the potential employers of these students. Somehow their desires area often not really considered, probably they are not there on campus complaining enough like the students do.
Germany is the reluctance of school-leavers to take advantage of the admirable dual-education system, and instead enroll at a university (“Opening up a crack”, May 18th). The problem is that every pupil who has passed the school-leaving exam, the Abitur, has the constitutional right to a place at university, even if he or she has to wait some semesters and has no real academic inclinations or talents. The result is a proliferation of abstruse and socially irrelevant courses, a drop-out rate of about 30% (a shocking waste of human and financial resources) and the lack of skilled workers you mentioned.
Germany has historically had a high-stakes test based system that determined what types of schools you could attend. Roughly, there was the academic track and the vocational track. This often meant that some students who might be late bloomers would be eliminated from the academic track. Presumably this is behind the policy change to allow lots more onto the academic track.
Or perhaps there is something more. I am not an expert on German politics, but I wonder if pressure by women who anted the more prestigious (and fun) academic path was a factor. The proliferation of abstruse and socially irrelevant courses as mentioned above is another clue.
Men know that they will have to be in the work force and produce. They are more inclined to academics that will aid in that. We saw in this previous post that women who wanted to have independent means, to work to make their money, had this attitude; and as such, flocked to computer science and IT degrees. Women, who know that they may work or may not, tend to go for more fun courses and degrees (and please make them easier).
Can anybody out there know more about the German situation. Perhaps they can add to this assessment. However, I am thinking that there is at least some truth to my speculation.