„Was macht eigentlich … das Ministerium?“ - Überlegungen zu Wissenschaftsministerien von morgenHigher education institutions in Germany have been operating under significantly changed framework conditions for some years now: expanded scope for legal action grants them comprehensive freedom, which at the same time means more individual responsibility. This wide range of autonomy for higher education institutions reflects the new relationship between state and higher education institutions that is still changing today. Ministries of science have therefore delegated numerous competencies and decision-making powers to higher education institutions.
The change in the relationship between ministry and higher education institution has had a drastic change on the internal mechanisms of higher education institutions. The paradigm shift in steering instruments and governance structures in higher education institutions has only been followed by partial reform of the tasks, role and organisation of the “other side”, i.e. the ministry of science, however. In terms of the comprehensiveness of the reform or the consistency and success of the New Public Management approach, the focus now needs to be on the ministries of science more than before.
This paper analyses and systematises the need for change in German ministries of science. Indisput-able is the fact that the state will not be released from its responsibilities. Its comprehensive steering function is democratic, legitimised by constitutional law and the will of society. But which of the ministries’ remaining key tasks cannot be delegated? Which new role models for ministries emerge from the reform process? How should steering instruments be implemented in order to ensure that social and political objectives are achieved both adequately and at the same time maintaining autonomy? Which changes need to be initiated or continued in the ministries (organisational and staff development process)?