Educational Equity in Academic Education – Bochum

Virtual Place

Date

Start: 18.05.2021
End: 18.05.2022

Partners

City Bochum

Central Bochum actors, scientists, citizens and the city administration came together digitally to discuss the question: "How educationally appropriate is Bochum? The participants discussed the challenges and levers in more depth in thematic workshops, based on the stations of the educational vita.

34 including: researchers, university staff members, members/users of local associations, students.

  • 27 researchers
  • 3 participants of public institutions and organizations
  • 4 citizens

The discussion initially focused on first-time university graduates. Pupils from non-academic families who have a university entrance qualification still decide to study at a significantly lower rate than those pupils where at least one parent has a university degree. The proportion of students from non-academic families has remained unchanged for years. One way of increasing the proportion of these students could be to specifically reach out to them before they leave school, since one of the predominant questions in this group is how to finance their studies. For this reason, it is important not only to address the potential students, but also to specifically address their parents in order to also provide them with the necessary information so that they can ease their children's possible fears and better support them in their decision for or against studying. An evaluation among RUB students shows that there is no difference between the two groups of students with regard to studying within the standard period of study.

From the basic idea itself, the German education system is fair in the area of academic education, since students who show performance and achieve the appropriate grades also succeed. However, this is only on the surface: In this area, too, origin determines to a large extent whether appropriate performance can be shown. For example, the parental home helps to determine whether students have to work while studying or whether they receive support from their families during their studies. Social background can also determine how well students arrive at university and how successful their social integration is. Accordingly, studies show that the risk of dropping out is on average 14% higher for students with a migration background who come from socially disadvantaged families than for all other students.

However, academic success cannot only be explained by the students' background. The services offered by the university in the introductory phase of studies also play a role, for example. Are there specific offers here in addition to the orientation week? Are these tailored to the problems of the different types of students? Are there mentors to provide support? Are there offers when students are thinking about dropping out of their studies, regardless of whether this is due to poor performance or internal barriers? Is there support for students with disabilities or for students with children? And how do students get the information they need in each case? Is it easy to find, is it presented in a comprehensible way, and is it available in multiple languages?

In addition, the importance of teachers for educational and equal opportunities in the academic field was discussed. Teachers help determine the academic culture at the university. For example, student assistantships are assigned according to certain stereotypes, which leads to a disadvantage for certain types of students. By working for the department or faculty, students become more attached to the university and thus find easier access to a possible career in academia. Teachers also determine the communication culture at the university. Communication based on trust creates a bond between students and the university/teaching staff, which can help students succeed in their studies and thus reduce the dropout rate. In addition, especially at the beginning of the studies, the establishment of social contacts is facilitated if social integration and arriving at the university are integrated into the courses as part of the teaching.

The discussion showed that there is no one reason for educational inequity in the area of academic education and that all sides can contribute to making this area of education even more equitable.

Tags

UNIC CityLabs | Post-Industrial Cities | equity

Themes

Diversity and Inclusion | Post-industrial Cities

Type of case

discussion group

Languages

German

Organizing unic universities

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