March 31, 2004
Germany woos British non-paying university customers puzzle

I caught a snatch of a London TV news report this evening about how German universities are trying to persuade British students to do their degrees in Germany, for free. No need to worry about loans and top-ups if you go there.

What they didn't explain was what was in it for Germany. Is it that they can't stand their own students and figure that they'll get slightly better ones this way? Are they trying to make sure they learn and teach English idiomatically, complete with up-to-date swearing?

Touting for business I could understand, but where is the business here?

Google google – this is the same story. Yes, the mentioned a woman called Lemmens on the TV.


LONDON - Free higher education in the home of Western civilization's most provocative thinkers, a chance to learn a second language - and a legal drinking age of 16? It's a formula that might appeal to both stressed parents and students alike!

Germany is willing to accommodate what could be a dream for many American families, worried about the skyrocketing cost of higher education.

“Our idea is to get the best people to the universities,” said Nina Lemmens, the London-based director of the German Academic Exchange Service, the DAAD.

This week, Lemmens has been promoting the free international degree program in English to British students, who also are worried about higher college fees. But she explained the German universities also are keen on recruiting American and other international students for their tuition-free programs.

Maybe the snag is you have to be extremely well schooled to qualify. But, does anyone have any further light to shed on this apparently rather odd little sales trip?

Is it perhaps some insane unintended consequence of German quota-fulfilment arrangements, where they are desperate for educational bums on seats because that's how they are paid, even though the bum-owners pay nothing?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 07:11 PM
Category: Higher education