Dhe energy shortage is also affecting German research institutions. The Koblenz University of Applied Sciences was one of the first university institutions to decide to restrict teaching. “In order to achieve the 15% energy savings expected by public institutions, we will be offering the lectures as purely online lectures from December 4, 2022 to January 8, 2023,” says their website.
Are universities threatened with an energy lockdown?
In an interview with the “Spiegel”, Carlotta Eklöh from the board of directors of the free association of student bodies (fzs) sharply criticizes the university management. According to her, all these savings are at the expense of the students, because they would have to heat more at home when teaching online. “That worries us a lot, since students are already under financial pressure.”
This is not an isolated case. In addition to the Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz has also restricted the opening hours of the libraries. Some departmental libraries are even completely closed at the weekend. This makes it difficult for students to borrow books and stay in certain work rooms. In addition, Saarland University is, for example, planning to extend the winter break, as a spokeswoman for the university confirmed to the RND. The University of Erfurt even plans to close the library on weekends by the end of 2022 and hold teaching digitally around the turn of the year.
Conference of Ministers of Education wants to ensure face-to-face operation
The Conference of Ministers of Education had already exchanged views on the effects of the energy crisis on universities, university clinics, non-university research institutions and student unions at their meeting in October and passed a resolution. Karin Prien, chairwoman of the Conference of Ministers of Education, calls on the federal government to initiate relief measures. “If energy and gas price brakes are not enough, further support measures by the federal government are needed. In the universities, face-to-face teaching is our top priority,” Prien continues.