According to our principle to support antihierarchical and emancipatory developments, it is important for us that teaching and classes are organized in a way that poses as few barriers as possible towards students of different backgrounds. Every human being has a right to get education, which makes it possible to life the own live autonomously and independent.
Time is money – and many have neither
What kind of possible barriers are we talking about? For example, many students only have a low and precarious income, which would make it barrier when the purchase of books or private tutoring lessons are needed to finish a class successfully. Teaching, materials and literature should be provided by the university as extensively as possible. The time aspect also can become a barrier: Those who have responsibilities besides studying can’t visit classes at every given time. Thus, we support it when classes are offered at afternoon, in the evening or on weekends and when streams of lecture are made accessible online.
Studying longer doesn’t mean doing it worse
Due to the strongly varying conditions of life that students may have, it also can’t be expected that everyone completes their degree within the minimum number of semesters. Solid education and learning should be more important than “producing” academic workforce as fast as possible. The minimum study time associated with bachelor and master programs might be an orientation for the fastest way to study, but shouldn’t be understood as a norm to which as many students as possible must conform.
Unfortunately, the fact that people finish their degrees within differing time spans is sometimes connected to clichés like “laziness/lack of diligence in students” or “slack students” (as the right-wing Ring Freiheitlicher Studenten calls it). Not only does this show a lack of respect for students who handle other valuable responsibilities in their lifes, like childcare, a job, political or cultural engagement, voluntary work or else, it is also a arbitrary allegation that supports prejudice. We strongly reject such stereotypes.
Competent lecturers are a key factor
The quality of teaching isn’t just a matter of organization, but mostly of substantial aspects. Thus, motivated lectures, who agree that teaching is not just an bothering addition to their research, are necessary. Accordingly, connecting teaching and research, as it is done by the Institute of Sociology in certain research classes, can be a valuable mode of teaching. When it comes to hiring lecturers, we would support it if the didactic skills of applicants are would be valued as an important criterion of their qualification. Social competence is important, too: Within the last months, we unfortunately had several complaints about lecturers who treat their students condescending or without respect. Such behavior can be a barrier as well, because it might discourage students from asking important questions or making contributions to in-class discussions. Regarding research, we think that hiring researchers who cover up interesting and manifold fields of research is essential. Unfortunately, the skill to acquire as much money as possible from private business and corporations for the university is becoming a more and more central criterion of hiring researches, a development that we observe critically.