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The Third University Reform in the GDR (April 3, 1969)

Implemented over the course of several years (1967-72), the so-called Third University Reform led to a fundamental restructuring of the traditional university system and further increased the SED’s control over science and scholarship. From that point on, the economic and social relevance of academics and their work was of foremost importance.

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Science and Research are among the Basic Foundations of Socialist Society

Now I will turn to the report on the key points of the discussion of the draft resolution and, using the report’s five main sections as a guide, I will describe the outcome of this extensive discussion.

The Preamble lays out the aspects [of the discussion] that indicate the great importance of science and education in the shaping of our socialist society.

It is enshrined in our constitution that science and research, as well as the application of their findings, are among the basic foundations of socialist society. Through the consistent science and education policy of the party of the working class, our institutions of higher education have developed into important centers in the struggle for mastery of the scientific and technological revolution.

High achievements in science and education are a decisive contribution to the overall strengthening of the German Democratic Republic and thus [to the overall strengthening] of the entire community of socialist states. All college and university faculty and staff are tasked with working together with their partners in industry and society to make pioneering and world-class contributions to research and teaching. In doing so, they are to use the highest global standards for science and technology as their point of departure. In this way, higher education will make a decisive contribution to the class struggle with imperialism, particularly with the state-monopolistic system in West Germany.

In numerous responses to the draft resolution, faculty and staff members at institutions of higher education, as well as representatives of the socialist economy, gave convincing expression to their belief that pioneering and world-class contributions to teaching and research can only be achieved in cooperation.

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