State recognition for Humanistic University
Es is part of the custom in the science system that a university is state-recognized by the competent science administration at the request of the founders if the Science Council previously accredited. On Tuesday, for example, the Senate Department for Science awarded state recognition to the new Humanistic University, a prestige object of the Humanistic Association in Berlin.
Contrary to what was originally planned, teaching will not begin this winter semester. In fact, there is still a dispute in the Berlin Senate about the university, for which millions have already been set aside in the budget. The research policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, Adrian Grasse, considers the Humanistic University to be superfluous and points to a renovation backlog of billions at the existing universities in Berlin. According to the files known to him, the social science administration’s own calculations have shown that the costs of establishing the social work course at the Humanistische Hochschule Berlin are higher than those of expanding further capacities at the universities that already offer such courses.
The Senate’s decision also contradicts the concerns of experts, according to which there is no legal entitlement to financial support for this new university. According to the Humanistic University, it expects 35 students for the bachelor’s degree in “Social Work”, 40 students in the advanced master’s degree in “Humanistic Life Science” and ten students in the advanced master’s degree in “Applied Ethics”.
With the founding of the university, the Humanist Association is also pursuing the religious-political goal of achieving equality with the church universities. That would have serious financial consequences. For example, Berlin should have reimbursed the humanistic university for the same amount of personnel costs as the denominational universities. However, the claim for equality was not confirmed during an examination by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
So far, only the training of teachers for humanistic life skills as part of the advanced master’s course has been reasonably secured. Because the Humanistic Association Germany Berlin-Brandenburg can pass on funds from the State of Berlin for religious and philosophical teaching to the Humanistic University Berlin. As is well known, religious instruction is not an elective subject in Berlin, but is offered in the afternoons by various religious communities on a voluntary basis.
According to the science administration, the 1.6 million euros set aside in the 2022/23 double budget are used exclusively for a bachelor’s degree in social work in dual form. “This would still have to be designed by the university founding initiative and is not the subject of the application for state recognition,” says the Senate Department for Science, Health, Nursing and Equal Opportunities in response to a question from MP Grasse.