Germany used to be associated with well built cars, obsessional car manuals, and autobahns without speed limits. It is very hard to get German academics to talk about what is happening in their universities, which were formerly held in high regard, despite the risks of one’s cheek being slashed by a rapier.
Now I get a smudged note smuggled out to me, barely legible, with the following plaintive message:
As reported in Leberwurst University, there is no compulsory attendance at seminars here at Schnitzel. This leads to very low student attendances at seminars. For example, at my last last seminar there were only three students.
But my research assistant told me about a practice which is the height of madness:
There are seminars with only one student. Next week another student shows up, not the same as last week, gives his presentation to receive his credit points and then leaves, not to be seen again.
But there is then a legal problem: There are no other witnesses to assess the presentation and give a grading.
So the research assistants (Drs. etc., who in German system are not yet Prof.) invite another research assistant to attend the seminar as a legal witness.
At the end, one student, two instructors.
Is this absurdity restricted to German universities? Any other examples of daft practices in universities gratefully received.
Full anonymity provided.