Survey shows poor levels of access for German students

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An EU study has shown that Germany is one of the poorest performers with regard to the openness and accessibility of higher education to poorer students

Berlin --- Germany, France and Italy have emerged as the worst performers in a comparison among 23 European Union nations of ease of access to university, a document obtained by Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa shows.

On a key measure - how many students attend university without having passed final-year school exams - Germany ranked alongside Latvia at just 5 per cent, and France and Italy ranked even lower.

At 36 per cent, Sweden excelled at bringing into academic life people who have succeeded in trade training rather than by exams.

Spain and Scotland also ranked high, with one third to one quarter of tertiary students going to university later after qualifying by their work experience rather than their school careers. The Scottish Government recently abolished all tuition fees for Scottish and European Union students, excluding those from England and Wales.

There is currently debate within Germany as to whether tuition fees deter poorer students from going to university.

The European Students Report, which was funded by the European Union and Germany and conducted by the Hochschule Informations System (HIS) company of Germany, is due for publication shortly.

Germany's federal education ministry is expected to use the data to prod the 16 states to admit more workers to academic life.

Germany and Austria also ranked very low on the number of students with blue-collar parents. Children of manual workers have the best chances of being admitted to university if they live in Finland, Spain and the Netherlands, HIS said. DPA

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