It’s a current joke here in Germany – or, at least in former West Germany – used to refer tosomething that’s limited, but everybody wants to have: “fight for bananas”. It has its origin in former East Germany which – while unter communist regime – suffered the lack of various consumer products, including bananas. So, whenever there were these limited products, e.g. bananas available in the supermarkets huge lines would build and people would literally fight for them.
Well, I’ve got good and bad news at this point:
First, the times of the communist regime are long overcome and there’s no longer a suffering in the area of consumer products. However. there is still a “fight” going on in Germany – a fight for places in lectures at university.
When I started studying some 5 years ago there was an abundance of space. Of course, the one or the other study group would be jam-packed. Normally this was because of the popularity of the professor, the big group would be splitted and everything would be ok. These times are gone now.
On the contrary, now, there are fights also for the big main lectures that are compulsory for every student. This leads to behavior as such:
You’ll get to the auditorium 40 mins in advance and find it already half full. By 20 mins to start there is no place left and students start dragging in chairs from other rooms to sit on the stairs and in front of the room. When the lecture finally starts there will be probably 350 – 400 people in a room for 250. That’s university education in Germany!
But there’s no need to worry ;-). The situation will even engrave next year when (due to a change in secondary education) two years of students will simultaeously finish High School. Our Secretary for Education just confirmed last week that colleges and universities are equipped in the best way to face the challenges. What outcome this will produce? – No one knows…