Minister of Education Faßmann belated: lack of plans endangers the future of education, science and business in Tyrol not to mention the opportunities for young people
How should we shape the future if essential framework conditions are lacking? How can we secure financing and the further expansion of study places? Why do thousands of applications have to be rejected every year? MCI, Kufstein University of Applied Sciences and the Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol, as well as all Austrian sponsors, currently grapple with these and similar questions. “We have already passed the eleventh hour,” the heads of the three institutions, Walter Draxl (Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol), Thomas Madritsch (Kufstein University of Applied Sciences) and Andreas Altmann (Management Center Innsbruck), declare: “For months we have been urging the Ministry of Science to negotiate the extension of the current development and financing plan, which has been in force since 2012/13 and will expire at the end of June – in three days!”
Madritsch, Draxl and Altmann agree that this state of uncertainty threatens the future of education, science and business in Tyrol, as well as the opportunities for young people: “How should infrastructure, personnel, finances etc. be planned for if the most important key data on financing, expansion, and course-setting are unknown and the Minister of Education does not even give the starting signal for serious negotiations?”
They continue: “There has been nothing like this in the last 20 years. This is not how you deal with key service providers and important partners. We expect the Chancellor to intervene quickly to correct this state of affairs! The unproductive tug-of-war between the Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Finance must end immediately,” the heads of the three Tyrolean higher education institutions demand.
According to Altmann, Madritsch and Draxl, the new development and financing plan must be presented immediately and at least address the following issues:
1) Valorization of funding for student places (the last minor adjustment took place in 2016)
With inflation on the rise it is practically impossible to recruit or retain suitable personnel without valorizing subsidy rates. This results in a serious brain drain.
2) Expansion of the University of Applied Sciences sector by additional study places
Every year more than 50,000 applicants across Austria have to be rejected, 5,000 of them in Tyrol alone, because there are not enough study places available. In addition, the business and social sectors desperately need qualified graduates. Not even a third of the expansion of the University of Applied Sciences sector to 60 % of all students, as recommended by experts, has been achieved.
3) Securing research funding
Ensuring sustainable research funding for universities of applied sciences has been overdue for years and repeatedly postponed to the next development and financing plan. This deprives the domestic economy of technology, innovation and the expertise to create solutions, which it needs just as urgently as graduates of our universities of applied sciences.