I recently spent a weekend in Frankfurt to attend a dinner for former pupils of Haileybury. It was an utterly delightful evening, talking and listening to over 30 Germans aged between 19 and 30. They discussed their perceptions of their lives, their careers and the importance that their own school had played in shaping their futures. For me it was fascinating to talk to them about German universities; Germany is a society – and an economy – that has poured billions of Deutschmarks and Euros into re-building East Germany and is now trying to keep Italy and Greece afloat. On top of all that they still manage to enable young people to attend universities (for many years) with virtually no cost (about 35 euros per annum) to the students themselves. Surely a civilised society with economic aspirations should be able to do this? In England and Wales we seem to have made a complete pig’s ear of it all. Fees have gone from £1000 per annum to £3000 per annum and we are now staring £9000 per annum in the face. Do we really rate the value of a university education only in terms of economic return? The future health of our civilization (and economy) depends on the quality of young people who go out into our work force as leaders and managers. The constantly shifting sands of university fees will surely sink us as a nation. The recent fiasco of changing fees after potential students have applied seems to sum up the lack of joined up thinking from our governments on this issue. It makes one despair and look to emigrate to Germany.