Heribert Hinzen

Adult Education, Development, and Cooperation


Notes on 40 Years of DVV International, Inspired by the Institu tion and the People who Made it – a Review of Documents, Viewpoints and Personalities



The Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Associa tion (previously known by the acronym IIZ/DVV and today called DVV International) is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2009. Its organisational structure, goals and missions focus on international adult education, especially in cooperation with developing countries and countries in transition. DVV International also fosters the exchange of information through professional contacts around the world and finally, promotes adult learning at the global, intercultural and European levels.

When the Institute celebrated its 25th anniversary, it published a commemorative volume, Adult Education and Development, which comprised the history, present situation and future plans of adult learning projects centring on development.1 One chapter contained a number of documents that highlighted how European and international developments affected Germany and how German positions in turn had influenced conferences and their outcome statements. This was done in order to identify mutual influences, and not so much to submit stringent evidence of causes and effects, which would have called for detailed analyses with points of view that could be historically compared.

A sequel to this collection of documents was put together for the Institute’s 40th anniversary and is presented here. Yet again, a multitude of developments and materials have been put on the test stand to trace their mutual influence on each other, focusing again on points of view and their effect on DVV International. What has influenced its goals and actions, and where has it been able to exert influence of its own?

These documents are being gathered together and printed because many of the recipients of this publication have very limited or no access to the Internet or to electronic databases in which these documents are usually stored. Thus this com memorative volume will be a documentation of the Institute’s history, and much more so a manual and textbook holding diverse possibilities for use, whether in theory or practice, in policy or administration. It is instructive, and at the same time, a management guide for those who are active in adult education, develop ment and cooperation.

I. Institutional, Biographical and Professional Remarks

While writing this text, I read with a certain curiosity Erhard Schlutz’s “My Way to Adult Education”, in which he described the stations along his way in the field of adult education as shaped by objective developments in professionalisation as well as their subjective processing. At the same time, he warned of the danger of “idealising memories”. He presented these reflections to the study group review ing historical sources of adult education, and then later, he put into words the basic motivation for looking at history, even history one had experienced oneself: ”...historical self-ascertainment is an opportunity to reconstruct meaning, to seek and confirm one’s personal and professional identity – as part of achieving life long personal balance.” He also quoted Christian H. Stifter, head of the Austrian Volkshochschule archives:

“If an organised effort regards its own history, in other words, the recollection of the work it has accomplished, as not worthy of preserving, is that not a confession that it doesn’t even see its present work as important in the final analysis?”2

I have been active in the Institute for more than 30 years and have observed diverse transformations in adult education, development and cooperation, and have even been able to shape some of these to a certain degree. Counting my days as a student (starting in the winter of 1967 in Bonn) and the ensuing phase of scholarly research pursued while finishing my doctorate in Heidelberg, I have been looking at international issues in educational science, development policy and cooperation for 40 years. A long time – this has left its mark. Indeed, this anniversary now offers a good opportunity as well as a challenge to look at past experiences again.

Awareness and Interest

A review of a newly published and expanded edition of Awareness and Interest by Jürgen Habermas, which we as students saw as required reading and kept trying to understand, recently caught my attention. The title is a shortened but nevertheless helpful formula for describing the chosen approach and starting point of these thoughts. Why am I taking this up at this time and in this way? What are the guiding thoughts that have determined the choice of documents comprising an important part of this volume? To what degree do these themes and outlooks represent a substantial share of the Institute’s work? What has had impact on my analysis? In the short time available for making assessments, how far is it possible to separate the personal point of view from the professional? It seemed to make sense to at least start by talking about and reflecting on guiding interests, whether they were conscious or unknown.

How Europe underdeveloped Afrika

The early years of my student life encompassed the eventful times of student revolts, which were important to me largely for their international dimension – the United States and the war in Vietnam, Portuguese colonies in Africa, movements of liberation from exploitation and repression, ways being sought to overcome underdevelopment. Walter Rodney, a Jamaican, and author of “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” was of special interest, for example, because Rodney

lived and taught in Tanzania. Books by Samir Amin, Frantz Fanon and Bassam Tibi were also in the canon of literature one had to read. Somewhat later texts by Paolo Freire, Ivan Illich, and for me in particular, Julius Nyerere’s “Education for Self-Reliance” and “Education Never Ends” became important; these were all published roughly around 1970.

A consolidation of comparative and cooperative links between pedagogics and adult education had three personal components from the very beginning; an institutional one with UNESCO, a con ceptual one with lifelong learning, and a developmental one with the Third World. Some early examples are: participation at a UNESCO conference on “Structures of Adult Education” in Nairobi in 1975; co- ordinating (together with V.H. Hundsdörfer) “The Tanzanian Experience: Education for Liberation and Development” for the lifelong education research project at the UNESCO Institute for Education (today the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, UIL) in Hamburg from 1975 to 1977; and my doctoral thesis on adult learning and development in Tanzania. For a colloquium at the Institute for Adult Education in Dar-es-Salaam, I presented a paper for discussion titled “Some considerations on adult education within a concept of lifelong learning in Tanzania”, at that time still an issue to be treated with care.

This closeness to the scholarly treatment of adult education, development and cooperation and their comparative and cooperative aspects still preoccupied me much later. While working as a project manager in the 1980s in Freetown, I was also a visiting professor at the University of Sierra Leone, and was later awarded honorary professorships at Pécs University in Hungary and Iasi University in Ro mania, activities which are both still actively pursued. Perhaps this was the reason why I attributed great significance to scholarly education and training in the field of adult education in later years at the Institute and in its projects.

The Personal and the Professional

But if we really go back 40 years, adult learning and research in pedagogics tended to play a marginal role. The Deutsche Ausschuss für das Erziehungs- und Bildungswesen (German committee for the education system) had indeed published a survey early in the 1960s on “The Situation and Mission of German Adult Educa tion”. However, the Deutsche Bildungsrat (German Education Council) in 1968, in an otherwise pioneering work, devoted nearly 500 pages to “Ability and learning”, but regarding adult education, contented itself with just a few lines and a reference to the surveys by Strelewitz, Raapke and Schulenberg on “Education and social consciousness” from the mid-1960s, which discussed participation in continuing education from the sociological point of view. Nevertheless, it was clear even then that the longer, better, and more successful basic schooling had been for an indi vidual, the more motivated and willing that individual would be in pursuing further qualification after school and even after university education.3

A Design for Action

Shortly afterwards, Hans Tietgens took up the study and pointedly asked an essen tial question: “Why do so few workers go to adult education centres?” Certainly no other person had more influence on the theory and practice of adult education in Germany than Tietgens, who from the mid-1960s until the end of the 1980s, as head of the DVV Institute for Adult Education (PAS), analysed developments in adult education centres and pressed ahead with innovations in continually new projects. At the same time he had great influence on the development of adult education as an academic disci pline. Probably no one else in Germany has published as much on adult educa tion as he has. Sadly, his international influence remained marginal and very few of his writings have been translated into other languages.

The 1970s saw the first phase of professionalisation in adult education. It became an independent field, the fourth pillar of the education system. A golden triangle of policy, legislation and financing began to take shape for adult education. A crucial document at this time was posed by the 1970 structural plan for the education system, which assigned considerable significance to adult education as a continuing process.

“It is necessary to institutionalise continuing education as a supplemental and comprehensive sector supporting lifelong learning. Adult education, as a con tinuation or renewal of earlier formal learning, together with learning processes gained from pre-school and school days, cultivates a coherent whole... Continu ing education includes training, occupational retraining, and adult education. It supplements completed regular courses of schooling and continues them under conditions favourable for adult learning.”4

At the same time, many German states passed legislation on adult education, and a university course of study, leading to a degree in pedagogics focusing on adult education, fostered it as an academic discipline boasting its own professorship, which included Joachim H. Knoll, Horst Siebert and Günther Dohmen, to name a few. Here I’d like to point out that very few can make the claim, as Knoll can, that they have delved for decades into the international and comparative issue of adult education at a scholarly level and thus been able to write about their own experi ences and the way this has shaped the contemporary history of adult learning. Ultimately, the survey published by the Kommunale Gemeinschaftsstelle (communal association office) gave adult education centres the validation they needed for genuine professionalisation.

The structure plan’s idea for “continuing education” was very close to the OECD’s idea for “recurrent education”, which in the early 1970s advocated repeatedly alter nating phases of work and learning, at best to include even very general education. However, both concepts could not override a drawback which effectively meant they were limited to formalised adult learning. The informal and non-formal aspects of lifelong learning, recognised again today as significant, were neglected.

Orientation and Impressions

A personally-oriented review of a development can often lend a sense of having arrived too early or too late in its overall history. But there is something in between, and I consider myself lucky to have entered the field of adult learning while it was in the middle of its evolution. It was certainly an advantage during my early years at DVV in the 1970s to share the path with the founding fathers (fewer mothers) of adult education. Committee meetings with Hans Tietgens and his PAS, with Bert Donnepp, founder of the Adolf-Grimme-Institut and the award with the same name, and with recently deceased Paul Dreykorn of the Nuremberg adult educa tion centre, have left indelible impressions. Not to mention Kurt Meissner, chair of DVV for many years, who contributed hugely to the international orientation of DVV by setting up seminars for Latin American trainers of adults at the residential adult education centre in Rendsburg and who for a long time had been the director of Hamburg’s adult education centre. And in particular, Helmuth Dolff, one-time direc tor of DVV, who died much too soon in 1983. He always fostered the communality and internationality of adult education centres and the DVV association.

All these persons gave character to adult education, making it feel like a movement. For some, professionalisation brought with it a sharp aftertaste, the threat of bureaucratisation.

In the commemorative volume written for the Institute’s 25th anniversary, I wrote an article on “History and Stories”, which at that time was based on very systematic research in our archives. This article paid homage to Helmuth Dolff’s outstanding work as DVV’s director in steering the association’s evolution, including its first in ternational contacts. His predecessor, Walter Ebbighausen, also remained loyal to this development as an expert with deep knowledge of foreign af fairs. Of course Helmuth Becker and Dieter Sauberzweig, both presidents for many years, as well as Walter Mertineit and Paul Röhrig, must be mentioned here since the development of adult education centres in Germany and international contacts and cooper ative efforts were close to their hearts.

Leben und Lernen für eine lebenswerte Zukunft

It was certainly incomprehension mixed perhaps with envy when col leagues talked about Dolff’s missions abroad: “He’s away again, looking (more) after the development of adult education centres in Montevideo”. But there is no question that Helmuth Dolff determinedly and crucially spurred the opening of the association to international issues, always in a mutual learning process. Even the greatest readiness to help others was not a one-way street. This international orientation, while firmly anchored in German adult education, made him a valued partner for talks and negotiations. It opened the door to Germany’s education ministry (BMBF) at the directorial as well as work level, and together with Axel Vulpius, then head of the BMBF’s adult education department, he shaped many national projects and put together common delegations to such conferences as CONFINTEA III, UNESCO’s Third International Conference on Adult Education in Tokyo in 1972.5 He also had close ties to the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Foreign Office. These ties were so strong that they provided a foundation for the 40-year history of the Institute, and also accounted for the international character of the association for an even longer time. These accomplishments regarding the international cooperation of DVV that built the base for today’s Institute, DVV International, were the reason we devoted a special issue of Adult Education and Development (AED 19) to Helmuth Dolff, for which James Roby Kidd wrote the dedication shortly before he died in 1982; Dolff himself died in 1983.

The significance of these early years became clear to me again when I very recently attended a workshop run by the Arbeitskreis Lernen und Helfen in Übersee (AKLHÜ) (study group on learning and aid overseas) on “Opportunities for profiling civil society organisations: Sharpening one’s own profile and improving coopera tion with the German government”. This workshop was devoted to crucial questions on the relationship between the state and civil society in development cooperation. As I leafed through a brochure on the history of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) (German development service), I came across a note on one of the early stages in the organisation’s evolution – late in 1962, a group of development aid helpers met for a discussion with an “informal group for learning and aid overseas” – and DVV was among them. The DVV became one of the founders of AKLHÜ and is still a member today.

Jakob Horn – and my Path to the Department for Adult Education in Developing Countries

When I approached DVV in the mid-1970s, Jakob Horn was already head of the department for adult education in developing countries, and together with his deputy head, Bernd Pflug, who was strongly interested in Asia, Sigrid Elflein as the administrator, and Marita Kowalski in the secretariat, he fostered close coopera tion within the unit for many years. As events had it, my early contact was more of a factual nature since I did various tasks such as using the specialised literature in the small but well-assorted library, writing a conference report on the structures of adult education, and accompanying a study group from India visiting German adult education centres. In this connection, I had many talks with staff who helpfully explained the work done by organisations for development cooperation.

Globales Lernen in der VolkshochschuleBut fortuitousness also played a large role. For a long time, the BMZ had wanted to launch a project with the Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK) (standing committee of Germany’s state ministers of education and cultural affairs) to set up development policy education at the school level. By the end of 1976, it was emerging that this idea wouldn’t work. However, a budget in the BMZ had already been set aside for the following year. All of a sudden, the good relations between the BMZ and DVV played an essential role. Would the DVV be able to bolster development policy education at adult education centres with a BMZ-funded project? This was the question posed by the head of division responsible at the BMZ. Horn and Pflug saw a big opportunity for their department and wrote a proposal in the short time left before the year ended which outlined a plan for providing advice to adult education centres, training those working on the project, and pre paring the materials and media needed. The BMZ was persuaded it would work and the project was approved (at first) for nine months. At the beginning of 1977, Jakob Horn approached me asking if I would see this project through for DVV. Even though I had two other offers at that time with longer con tracts, one of them in international educational cooperation and the other at an adult education centre, I decided in favour of DVV be cause, as regards content, it linked adult education with development. Looking back today, I see that this was absolutely the right decision to take. By the way, this project, now called Global Learning, is still running in 2009, improved and enlarged in several ways.

There is one point that needs clarification. Yes, the head and deputy head of the department, Jakob Horn and Bernd Pflug, had decided in my favour and the director, Helmuth Dolff, had nothing against this decision. But the project centred on the interface between adult education centres in Germany and development aid issues, as well as international cooperation. The policies, theories and practices of partners of the department for adult education in developing coun tries were supposed to play an important role in development education work in Germany. To be on the safe side, I had to go through another round of interviews, including one with Hans Tietgens, head of PAS, the most important authority for all pedagogical innovation at the adult education centres. This turned into a very inter esting talk in Frankfurt, ranging in topic from worldwide developments to political education at the adult education centres, the fact that regional associations could not be ignored, and that, to be sure of scholarly theory, I should perhaps begin with an analysis of the Volkshochschule’s work plans on development and cultural country issues. It was a very intense talk, with both parties highly engaged, and it was to set me in the right direction. In any case, the interview apparently went well enough to be reportedly positively to Bonn and get the project started that I still devote a lot of attention to today because it has exceptional significance for anchoring the Institute within the Association. For the department, it was positive recognition that within its own special area, it was also to look after work done in Germany. It also anchored me personally in DVV much longer and more deeply than for the nine months of a first project contract.

Jakob Horn made a lasting impression on me during those first years. His com mitment to development, shaped by his diverse experiences in Africa and Latin America, his administrative skill in devising an orderly process for dealing with the BMZ as a funding partner in the difficult early years, his intuition for seizing new op portunities and doing the relevant lobbying, which was impressively demonstrated again during the phase of eastern enlargement and system change, made DVV’s international work what it is today. I have him to thank for becoming deputy head of the department in 1978 and being assigned to new tasks after having been at DVV for only one year working on development education at adult education centres. This was because Bernd Pflug decided to move on to a different educational sector. I consequently devoted myself to the projects and partners in Africa and Asia.

Jakob Horn, as department head, created the free space to organise and deepen the department’s expertise. In so doing, he never lost sight of DVV on the whole and its importance to his department. There were two difficult phases in the 1980s when he slipped into the role of provisional director of the association for several months both times – a task that would later fall to me once too – and guided DVV through unsettled times, during which I as his deputy shared his successes and wor ries, until he finally once more beckoned to a call from abroad. DVV sent him to Hungary when we opened a project office there in 1990 because he had shown interest in working one more time near his original home. I became head of the department until we switched jobs at the beginning of 1996. He retired in 1999, and I returned from Hungary and became director of the Institute in Bonn.

International Personalities in Adult Education

During these four decades of the Institute’s development, UNESCO International Conferences on Adult Education took place in 1972 in Tokyo, 1985 in Paris and 1997 in Hamburg. CONFINTEA VI (an acronym based on the French name for this series of conferences) will be in Belém (Brazil) in 2009; these conferences are taken into detailed consideration in the documents. Additionally, the UNESCO “Recommendations on the Development of Adult Education” from 1976 must be named since they codify the most important statements on our profession that are endorsed with a declaratory character. Interestingly, the draft outcome statement for Belém contains the suggestion to revise the 1976 publication.

This phase also saw the founding of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) in 1973, actively run by its founding fathers Roby Kidd, secretary-general of the Adult Education Association of Canada, Paul Mhaiki from the Institute for Adult Education in Tanzania, Paul Bertelson from the adult education section of UNESCO in Paris, and Helmuth Dolff, then director of the DVV association. I had the good luck to meet all four through various work assignments. All of them were impressive personalities, especially to a young colleague still looking for his proper niche. They all shared professionalism with passion.

Budd Hall, who followed Roby Kidd as ICAE’s secretary-general, also wrote his dissertation on adult education in Tanzania. He and John Lowe, who at this time was responsible for adult education at OECD, enriched with their experiences the above-mentioned UNESCO conference on the structures of adult education in Africa, held in 1975 at Kikuyu College in Nairobi. At this time, Chris Duke was the secretary-general of ASPBAE and the associate secretary-general of ICAE, whose later presidents were Julius Nyerere, Paolo Freire, Madame Nita Barrow, Paolo Vio Grossi, Lalita Ramdas and finally Paul Belanger. Belanger had already served for a decade as the director of UIE; he recently mentioned in a seminar that he had attended CONFINTEA II as a student in Montreal and had been able to participate in all the world conferences to follow. In any case, the strong support and development of NGO associations in adult education allowed the ICAE to flourish and initiate its own series of world gatherings on adult education. The first was in Dar-es-Salaam in 1976 on “Adult Education and Development”, followed by a conference in 1982 in Paris on “Authentic Development”, in 1990 in Bangkok on “Literacy, Popular Education, Democracy, Building the Movement”, in 1994 in Cairo, in 2001 in Ochos Rios and the last one, for now, in 2007 in Nairobi on “Adults’ Rights to Learn: Convergence, Solidarity and Action”. The documents listed below will go into the last two conferences in more detail.

Two studies commissioned by UNESCO were milestones of critical stocktaking, reflection and the understanding of prospects when they were published. Edgar Faure and his team in 1972 published their world strategy for education as “Learn ing to Be: The World of Education of Today and Tomorrow”, which contained many good ideas for reform; one hoped it would have more impact. This was followed by the 1995 Delors report, “Learning: The Treasure Within”; with its four pillars (learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, learning to be) it intended to draw attention to the important goals of education and human and social development. The commission which prepared the Delors report called on the ICAE for a statement. A workshop in Toronto, where I represented the DVV, worked out a document on adult education in lifelong learning and asserted in the last of 25 points:

“In adult education, as in other fields, we need to look at new partnerships as well as old responsibilities. Public institutions and private companies, vol untary organisations and professional associations, and initiatives in related fields have to share their experiences, and they can all give new life to adult continuing education, including research of the universities and research Insti tutes. Competition and market forces must not prevent cooperation. Moreover, governments must provide constructive legislation and a framework of financial and logistical support which is conducive to the momentous tasks of the next decades which will see more adults living in this world than ever before.”6

This quote ends the document section of the commemorative volume for the 25th anniversary. Since then the importance of policy, legislation and financing for adult education and development has not changed.

The Fortieth Year of the Institute

In the first chapter of this volume, Michael Samlowski, deputy head of the Institute for many successful years, finds much evidence for how and why the Institute has evolved so successfully in the last two decades. New regional expansion, additional thematic focal points, more responsibility, and a balanced mixture of centralised and decentralised structures, and in particular, good work done by qualified colleagues and professionally active partners around the world, have made this evolution possible. All of these achievements would not have happened without a substantial gain in funding – a result of successful cooperation with old and new funding partners.

Geschichte - Geschichten - Gesichter

Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say overall that DVV has fared best in these recent years. The structural reform of the 1990s, although somewhat flawed, has either transcended its dark side or put it in the past. Rita Süssmuth as top manage ment, president for 20 years and chair of DVV’s advisory board, followed by chairs Ernst Küchler and now Ernst-Dieter Rossmann, both active politicians for educa tion in parliament, Ulrich Aengenvoort as director of the association, successor to Volker Otto who died so recently, and Gundula Frieling, deputy director of the association, who spent her first DVV years at the Insti tute, have all contributed to giving DVV its weight in shaping educational poli cy. Fruitful acquisitions and project development in ba sic education and literacy, high-profile events such as the German Adult Educa tion Conference and the Continuing Education Con ference, plus quality-orient ed subsidiary enterprises that, for example, attend to the Adolf-Grimme-Institut’s television award and Euro pean language certificates (telc), have all had their impact, so that the acronym DVV does not necessarily make people think we are the German volleyball association. This is impressively documented in the volume “History – Stories – Faces: A Half-Century of the German Volkshochschule Associa tion”, first published in 2003 and this information is now regularly updated in dis. kurs, DVV’s magazine.7

At the time of its fortieth anniversary, the Institute holds a very good position within DVV, not only regarding its cooperation with adult education centres and their regional associations in Germany, but also in Europe and farther afield. It is well networked, represented in many important committees and organisations, and its advice is sought. This holds true for the central office in Bonn as well as for offices in partner countries and regions.

This can be explained here in more detail by describing activities in the central office. The Institute is going through a continuous process of organisational devel opment in a very cooperative manner actively pushed forward by the Institute’s deputy director, Uwe Gartenschlaeger, especially to process the consequences of regionalisation and new challenges posed by monitoring and evaluation (now man aged by Monika Bayr), and it has arrived at an interim interval of consolidation.

It has also faced a need to process increased and very diversified funding; in this regard, outside funding from the EU is more and more within reach, applied for by Laurence Gillois. Gaby Kleinen-Rätz as head of administration and Ursula Bücking as her deputy are in high demand to process new requests with assurance. Col leagues like Henner Hildebrand have kept the rotation model between the central office and outside projects going. DVV discovered Hildebrand in Sierra Leone, then he came to Bonn, and later worked at stations in Ethiopia and Guinea, and now he is back in Bonn as coordinator for Africa. Doing it the other way around is also an option – Wolfgang Leumer, who has spent nearly 30 years with the Institute, worked for many years in the central office before going to Madagascar, returning to Bonn, and then deciding to continue DVV’s work in South Africa, from where he may no longer return to the central office. In contrast, Mathias Klingenberg started in the regional office in Tashkent and has now joined forces in the central office.

The Institute is represented on all important issues within DVV. DVV’s federal office and the Institute communicate with each other at regular meetings which include the works council and are attended by Eva König as a colleague from the Institute; she in turn reports back to the Institute’s meeting of department heads. The director of the Institute participates at members’ meetings and is in the members’ council. He is an advisory member of the DVV Board, a permanent guest of the organisation and finance committee, belongs to DVV’s advisory council and is on telc’s supervisory board.

In Germany, Eva König is the speaker for Global Learning in the BMZ’s advisory circle on educational development policy, representing the Institute on several development education committees, and she is chair of the task force on extracur ricular and continuing learning in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Hans Pollinger represents DVV in the study group for learning and aid overseas and DVV International in the study group for education in development cooperation (AKBiEZ). The director of the Institute is an elected member from DVV in the German UNESCO Commission (DUK) and its expert committee on education. Of great importance is his participation in the Social Improvement Network (AGS), whose members are all recipients of funding from BMZ’s relevant budget; the BMZ takes advantage of this for regular exchanges of information.

DVV International has a board of trustees which makes proposals and advises on the Institute’s evolution and project development in the context of international cooperation. Dagmar Engels, a member of the DVV Board, chairs this group; Professor Veronika Fischer and Professor Joachim H. Knoll, also members, provide the link to the advisory council. Furthermore, other members from the political arena, and practical, administrative and scholarly circles, also contribute their rich experiences.


At the European level, Uwe Garten schlaeger is active as vice-president of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), following a tradition be gun by Helmuth Dolff and continued by Wolfgang Leumer, Michael Samlowski and myself. Beate Schmidt-Behlau is involved in several European projects on intercul tural learning and religious diversity. Gisela Waschek works on information and com munication, and together with Infonet, the European network for information on adult education in individual countries and pro grammes in the European Union.

The Institute takes its growing importance into account at the international level as well. It has taken on several positions and offices that are significant for the thematic and organisational connectivity being ex plored here – I was elected vice-president of ICAE, and invited to participate in the CONFINTEA VI Consultative Group, the UN Literacy Decade Expert Group and the Editorial Board of the EFA General Monitoring Report, and to the Reference Group on Higher Education and EFA. These activities are augmented by my membership on several editorial and advisory councils for publications such as Bildung und Erziehung, Convergence, and Lifelong Learning in Europe and the Asia-Pacific Review of Education. These activities enhance the Institute’s expertise, and delib erately seek, challenge and foster mutual exchanges.

The attempt is being made here, using the example of selected organisations, personalities, conferences and documents, to clarify how in the last decade in adult education – and also in development cooperation – an accelerated and intensive exchange of ideas, concepts and models can be identified as mutually influential, encouraging acceptance in theory and practice at a multi-national level. This is con sciously limited to a few but nevertheless important aspects. How did the paradigm of lifelong learning assert itself? Where is adult education’s place in this? What importance is attached to structures? Which options are available and worthy of discussion, keeping the golden triangle of policy, legislation and financing in adult education in mind? It is not hard to see that these questions can be applied to other no less important areas such as quality, the training of personnel, research, access, and applicability to the target group.

Finally, this addresses something similar to what Wolfgang Seitter wrote in regard to an earlier phase – that “adult education between 1960 and 1975 was modernised and professional ized in the context of educational reform as an international programme and thereby adapted leading definitions, which – like lifelong learning, recur rent education or éducation permanente – were authoritatively launched by UNESCO and OECD with economic and democratic arguments...”8

However, it should be clear that since the mid-1990s, not only UNESCO and OECD, but also the EU, the World Bank, and ICAE, EAEA and DVV are organisations which deeply contribute to developments in policy and mutually influence each other.

II. Positions, Recommendations and Documents

In the volume celebrating 25 years of Institute history, more than twenty documents were collected that represented significant milestones demonstrating both how and to what degree the Institute was influenced from the outside. Of particular importance were the declarations from UNESCO’s International Conferences on Adult Education, the International Council on Adult Education (ICAE), and other educational institu tions. On the other hand, numerous documents from DVV, from the department for education in developing countries and other departments, as well as from leading figures, showed that their dominant thought processes were very close to European and international developments; it can certainly not be ruled out that stimuli from this direction influenced policy discussions on education and development.

Adult Education and Development

I had already chosen and commented on the documents for the volume cover ing the first 25 years, and this selection was clearly shaped by my own insights regarding adult education, development and cooperation. Since volumes 30 – 65 of the journal AED have been digitised and added as a CD supplement to volume 66, they can be ordered through DVV International. The following is an overview with a summary of the short titles: 

1960 UNESCO:  Declaration of the Montreal International Conference: CONFINTEA II

1962 DVV:

Memorandum: Training institute for adult educators from developing countries

1966 Becker: 

World wide adult education – new dimensions
1969 Dolff:


Volkshochschulen and their international work
1971 DVV:Purposes of the Department for Adult Education in Developing Countries
1972 UNESCO: Third International Conference on Adult Education in Tokyo: CONFINTEA III
1976 Nyerere:The Declaration of Dar es Salaam of the ICAE
1976 UNESCO:Recommendation of the development of adult education
1976 Meissner: Worldwide adult education? Reports from UNESCO and ICAE
1978 DVV:The German Volkshochschule – its position and function
1980 DVV/FS:Project planning and project consultations
1982 DVV/FS: Initial and further training for adult educators from developing countries
1983 Hinzen, Horn, Leumer, Niemann:Cooperating or campaigning for literacy
1985 UNESCO: Fourth conference in Paris: The Right to Learn – CONFINTEA IV
1989 DVV/FS: The International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association
1991 Schlutz:Volkshochschulen and internationalism
1992 DVV/FS: Proposals for the implementation of the sectoral plans of the BMZ
1993 IIZ/DVV:Adult education in Eastern Europe
1994 IIZ/DVV: European adult education – without limits and beyond borders
1994 ICAE:Adult education and lifelong learning
1994 DVV:Continuing education for the future – Schwerin declaration
1994 EC:Declaration of the First European conference on adult education in Athens


And now to the new documents included in this volume: they appear here in approximate chronological order with a short commentary, arranged in their developmental context. They can be located by their number in the document part of the volume.

Convintea V

DOC 1 The aforementioned assumption of a tendency toward mutual influence and its indirect evidence in documents over time has not become less important over the last fifteen years. On the contrary, it has tended to become more fruitful as a result of the expanded work of DVV International. Again, the UNESCO International Conferences on Adult Education that take place every twelve years have played a special role. In 1997 this conference, referred to as CONFINTEA V (the French acronym for Conférence internationale sur l’éducation des adultes), took place in Hamburg. With 1500 participants, it was perhaps the largest international event on adult education that had oc curred up to that point. Furthermore, it adopted two documents worthy of reading: the “Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning” and the “Agenda for the Future”. The Hamburg Volkshoch schule and DVV were active partners at the time. Professor Süssmuth – who had then already served almost 10 years as president of the German Bundestag and in the meantime for 20 years as president of DVV – was elected presi dent of the international conference and contributed successfully to frequently difficult negotiations. Many of DVV’s partners took part in this conference.

Literacy for life

A further point underlining the im portance of CONFINTEA – this con ference is a Category 2 conference of UNESCO. The major players are Member States, which must submit a national report beforehand, and the agreements adopted at the confer ences have a binding character. The Institute aided in the preparation, in particular with the involvement of Jakob Horn and Michael Samlowski, producing a special volume of the journal AED and taking responsibil ity for a conference workshop on one of the ten thematic complexes, “Enhancing international coopera tion and solidarity”. Delegates jointly adopted “The Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning”, a manifesto on the future of adult education that remains well worth reading today.

DOC 2 Ten years after Jomtien, Thailand, it was necessary to verify to what de gree the “World Declaration on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs” had been implemented. For this reason, the Education for All (EFA) World Education Forum was convened in Dakar, Senegal, in 2000. Germany sent a delegation in which DVV, along with BMZ and GTZ (German Agency for Technical Coopera tion), was represented. The alarming numbers – officially more than 113 million school-age children not attending school, and 880 million adults unable or barely able to read, write and do basic arithmetic – necessitated an action plan to be applied worldwide. Expressly mentioned were the need for basic qualifications for children, youth and adults, and for opportunities to continue education in a proc ess of lifelong learning. Since then a global progress report has been compiled yearly. For more information on this topic, go to www.efareport.unesco.org. At the same time, the common desires and responsibilities of the community of states and donors were placed on a broader foundation. Again, DVV accompanied this process with special issues of its journal – one before and another afterward that included the most important results (AED 54 and 55). We recorded our assessment in a commentary.

Training Adult Educators

In any case, and this is still relevant today, the efforts to anchor youth and adult education, literacy and skills training in the EFA goals 3 and 4 were very successful. Unfortunately, implementation was less successful. After Dakar, universal primary education – anchored directly in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) – remained the most prominent goal and its financial support a priority, yet it was significantly underfunded. The EFA process remained important to the Institute and its partners in the following decade on account of the implications of education and de velopment policy, but also because of funding potential. When the EFA Global Monitoring Report was prepared in 2006 on literacy for life, the Institute was commissioned to produce a study on “Basic and adult education policies”. Background materials on non-formal education for the 2008 report were so inter esting that they were given secondary analysis and published in IPE volume 58 as “Knowing more, doing better: Challenges for CONFINTEA VI from monitoring EFA in non-formal youth and adult education”.

DOC 3 Initial and continuing education, primarily at and with universities, was a focus of the department’s work with partners in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. At times, as many as 500 students were supported with scholarships at various institu tions. An evaluation in the 1990s called for a qualification of the program and its extension into textbook production. For the latter project, UIL and the University of Botswana later became important partners, compiling and distributing the books “Foundations of Adult Education in Africa”, “The Psychology of Adult Learning in Africa” and “Research Methods for Adult Educators in Africa” in the APAL (African Perspectives on Adult Learning) series. At the same time, the role of universities was reconsidered as they came into focus as centres for lifelong learning which needed to fulfil their social responsibility for civic education as well as for employability.

The Cape Town Statement from the International Conference on Lifelong Learning, Higher Education and Active Citizenship drew on the conference which took place shortly after CONFINTEA V in 1998, which concluded with the “Mumbai statement on lifelong learning, active citizenship and the reform of higher education”.

DOC 4 New discussions and decisions concerning development policy in the BMZ brought about major changes. In order to concentrate resources, focal points and partners, agreements were reached about which countries should remain as partners and focal points for German development policy and how together with them these thematic areas of cooperation would be determined. The outcome led to a significant reduction in the importance of support for education, although successful new paths had been laid out in the 1990s precisely in basic education. In 2001, stimulated by a discussion and proposal in the advisory board of the Institute, the DVV board adopted a position paper entitled, “The significance of adult education in development cooperation”. The chair of DVV and the director of the Institute took this as an opportunity to begin discussions with the state secre tary of the BMZ to investigate ways to reverse this trend. Just one week later, the director of the Institute received a visit from one of the leading figures at GTZ (the state secretary is the chairperson of the advisory board for the German Agency for Technical Cooperation) and after concentrated deliberations, the decision was reached to form a working group on education in development cooperation (AK-BiEZ). Today, this working group is very well received – in addition to the founders GTZ and DVV, the BMZ, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) (development bank group), Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung (InWent) (Capacity Building International), the Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German aid agency to combat hunger), and the German UNESCO Commission (DUK), as well as many other organizations are active, exchanging information on a regular basis and strengthening the position of education in development cooperation.

DOC 5 The clarification of the orientation for development policy was also pro moted in the Bundestag. In the BMZ report to the German parliament, which dealt in 2001 with strategies for self-help and the comparative advantages of coopera tion with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the development process, the Institute brought its experience with non-formal youth and adult education in fighting poverty to bear and illuminated this using examples from projects in cooperation with partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

DOC 6 In Germany, increasing hostility toward foreigners challenged adult education centres to show solidarity and professionalism. In 2001, the DVV gen eral meeting addressed the subject of “The role of the Volkshochschulen in the new policy of integration”, recognizing the great importance of learning languages, but also calling for intercultural and social competence as key qualifications. The attached declaration was adopted.

Lernen für Alle

DOC 7 The ICAE underwent a very difficult phase in respect to organisa tion and finances in the 1990s, leading to the move of the secretary-general’s office from Toronto to Montevideo, but the organisation ultimately moved past these difficulties. Paul Bélanger, who had directed the affairs of the UIL for a decade, was elected as new presi dent. The ICAE returned to prominence again with the Sixth World Assembly, a conference that adopted the “The Ocho Rios Declaration – Adult Learn ing: A Key to Democratic Citizenship and Global Action”.

DOC 8 As a consequence of new priorities set by BMZ, it became clear at one stroke to the Institute that it must work against this loss of importance for education. Moreover, it needed to make a convincing case for the worth and use of education in development processes. This approach was congruent with interests of the World Bank, which at the same time had turned its attention to the effects of education, not just as a cost-benefit-analysis, but rather in connection with the implementation of EFA (education for all) for youth and adults outside the formal education system. The Institute was commissioned by the World Bank to plan and conduct a study on “Skills and literacy training for better livelihoods”. An extremely interesting mixture of documents was found in the archives of various development organizations, often in those whose primary goals were not necessarily literacy and basic education, but who nevertheless did such work in the framework of their development projects. The short text (the full report can be found under publications at www.worldbank.org) gives an overview of issues that still pose relevant questions today. Literacy first, then practical or vocational training? Or first training, then literacy? Or both at the same time?


DOC 9 Excellent cooperation between UIL and DVV led in 2002 to a major event in Sofia, Bulgaria, Lifelong Learning in Europe: Moving towards EFA Goals and the CONFINTEA V Agenda to explore the differences and common ground between the international education conferences regarding developments in Europe. This made allowance for the important steps the EU had begun to take with the adoption of a memorandum on lifelong learning in 2000. At this point the EU clearly became an important authority in the education sector, underpinned of course by the allocation of project funds that were made available within the framework of “Calls for Proposals” for programs with the illustrious names Comenius for the school area, Leonardo da Vinci for professional education, Er asmus for universities and Grundtvig for adult education. The conference and its declaration served as an important signal for the work of the Institute, at first internally in Europe and later also with a global orientation.

DOC 10 Both of the most important grant sponsors, BMZ and the AA, responded quickly to the attacks of 11 September 2001. BMZ established two special support areas that ran under the names “Anti-Terror Pact” and “Anti-Poverty Program”. The AA began with support for European-Islamic cultural dialogue. The Institute became involved in numerous individual projects. Among them was a conference series that aimed at strengthening the Dialogue on Lifelong Learning in the Mediterranean Re gion. Almost all countries that border on the Mediterranean took part and adopted a declaration that laid the foundation for further cooperation.

DOC 11 The Balkan Stability Pact made it possible for the Institute to strengthen cooperation in individual countries in south-eastern Europe and in particular to extend regional cooperation. In 2003, in the framework of the International Confer ence on Lifelong Learning, Adult Education and Employability in Skopje, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the attending ministers of education and higher education of south-eastern Europe adopted and signed a welcome declaration of intent, and in addition, laid down individual steps toward transnational coopera tion. After three years, at the follow-up conference in 2006 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the degree to which the goals had been reached was examined.

International Adult Learners Week

DOC 12 The university area took on greater importance for the Institute as project work in central and east ern Europe for training and in-service education of personnel, especially jun ior employees, increased and while traditional universities were not suf ficiently prepared for this task. The Bologna accords on creating a unified educational area for higher education in Europe, called into being in 1999 by the conference of the ministers of education, demanded more mobility in the form of mutual recognition of education degrees in bachelor’s and master’s programs. This also applied to adult education. The statement, a Call for Cooperation in the Education and Training of Adult Educators through Higher Education, was the result of a conference in Pécs, Hungary. The conference itself had been designed to evaluate a study which had been carried out under the responsibility of the University of Torun in Poland; see on this subject the IPE volume 44, “Training of Adult Educators in Institutions of Higher Education: A Focus on Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe”. From Torun (see www.teach.pl), the successful Project TEACH (Teaching Adult Educators in Continuing and Higher Education) was carried out in the years 2004 to 2006, involving a consortium of more than ten universities and sponsors in adult education to produce modules for the new courses of study.

DOC 13 + 14 In 2003, the Midterm Review of CONFINTEA V took place to ex amine the implementation of goals agreed upon in Hamburg in 1997. What had been achieved in the meantime and where large deficits remained was to be identi fied sufficiently prior to CONFINTEA VI in Belém, Brazil. The ICAE had contributed to this critical appraisal with a shadow report. UIL later published Recommitting to Adult Education and Learning, a plea for greater responsibility in fulfilling the goals, commitments and agreements to develop adult education in lifelong learn ing, especially in the EFA agenda. The DVV Institute hosted a workshop entirely in the Hamburg tradition on international cooperation, and its recommendations are included here.

ICAE Report

DOC 15 The intensification and con centration on the priority of fighting pov erty through adult education was imple mented more intensively by the Institute within a special program supported by the BMZ. At the same time this permitted the cooperation entered upon for the study on “Skills and Literacy Training for Better Livelihood” with the World Bank to be taken up once again. At this time, the World Bank had special sponsor funds within the Norwegian Trust Fund that could also be used for projects, studies and conferences, especially in Africa. The International Conference on Adult Education and Poverty Reduction: A Glo bal Priority was financed jointly by the World Bank and the Institute in 2004. It has been documented thoroughly in the journal AED 63. The Gabarone State ment and Recommendations contains suggestions for using adult education to fight poverty. This stronger orientation toward adult education in fighting poverty corresponded to an important demand from the BMZ evaluation which had ex amined the organizations and projects financed by the budget item Support for social structure in developing countries. This document expressly showed that experiences with projects successfully carried out with BMZ funds should also be used for acquisition with other funding sponsors.

DOC 16 An evaluation of the activities in the training and continuing education of people in disseminator roles, which had been carried out prior to an applica tion to the BMZ program for training and in-service education of adult educators in developing countries, could be used to gain a stronger global perspective with respect to the partners and implementation as well as to extend the previous orien tation in this field to Africa. Thus, together with partners from numerous countries, an attempt was made in Cape Town, South Africa at the international conference, The Training of Adult Educators: Experiences and Expectations, to determine new goals, focal points and tasks. The Institute prepared a statement, Pointers, Concerns and Reflections for this event. The entire conference together with the preparatory studies has been documented in IPE 52.

DOC 17 Here again, a short look back to 2000 when the Directorate for Education and Culture of the European Commission published a paper highly worth reading, the Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, and circulated it broadly among Member States. It later incorporated thousands of commentaries, and then followed in 2001 with a communication of the Commission announcing the creation of an European area for lifelong learning. The text opened with the Chinese proverb: “When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.” It is important to us in this process that our understanding for adult education plays an increasing role – a kind of adult education that is com prehensive, decentralized, participatory and functions in its own learning centres, that pursues general and political education, and whose offers also aim to make people employable. It was only a question of time until the EU Commission turned to the public with a communication on learning in adulthood.

As is usually the case, such basic documents are prepared by means of studies. In this case, the Commission announced many studies simultaneously. The study on Adult Education Issues and Trends in Europe appeared to be particularly interesting to the EAEA. The leadership of the EAEA, then President Janos Tóth, Prof. Duke and Prof. Knol as advisors, and myself, representing DVV, worked together on this project. In 2006, the study (see www.eaea.org) researched the situation in education policy, legislation and financing, discussed reasons for non-participation and easier access, made statements about basic skills and key qualifications, dealt with certification and accreditation, illuminated the quality of training and continuing education and drew greater connections to demography and migration. In the final chapter, in addition to numerous conclusions and recommendations, there are five messages that should be supported and realized. The study received wide distribution and recognition, especially through translation into several languages.

DOC 18 What followed in 2007 was the welcome communication from the EU Commission on Adult Learning: It Is Never Too Late To Learn, pointing the way for Member States. This paper was meant to elaborate specific details for adult education in lifelong learning, to give the Commission and Member States an education policy perspective and then later to turn this into a concrete action plan. The process of elaboration of the communication ran parallel to putting together the studies that were originally expected to be finished in advance and serve as starting points. As it happened, at least from the viewpoint of EAEA, productive work occurred alongside of and partially with each other. A total of four drafts of the communication, which reflected the results of the study and its deliberations, were discussed by the responsible members of the EU Commission with the EAEA. Reciprocal enrichment was a clear result. Alone the initial declaration that: “Adult learning is a key and vital component of lifelong learning” is an unequivocal as sertion that could well appear in other education policy declarations, whether on a national, regional or global level.

2006 International ConferenceAdult Education

DOC 19 This European policy development was brought before the International Conference and Study Tour on Adult Education for Learning Societies – Asian and European Perspectives for a Globalized World held in Beijing from 28 October to 4 November 2007. It was the first conference that took place together with the Chinese Adult Education Association (CAEA) and the Asian South Pacific Association of Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) as well as EAEA and DVV. Almost 150 participants from more than 50 countries could learn from one another. The conference profited tremendously from three components: the Chinese side presented information very openly about great advances, but also massive problems in implementing Education for All, unimaginable with a total population of 1.3 billion people. ASPBAE integrated its “Women’s Leadership Training Workshop” into the conference so that equal participation of genders could be ensured throughout. Finally, there was a focus on migration and integration. In particular, the importance of learning foreign languages and testing for language proficiency in adulthood was discussed, which was energetically supported by telc (The European Language Certificates), a subsidiary of DVV on whose supervisory board the Institute is also represented.

activity report 2001DOC 20 For more than thirty years, DVV has been a steady partner of the German Foreign Office in international cooperation for adult education. A reorganization of the Foreign Office led to adult education losing its importance in foreign cultural and education policy, and this became reality through changed priorities, shortened funding and re grouping over the next years. This threatening scenario appeared even more problematic to the Institute and the advisory board of DVV because on the European and international levels adult education was gaining in impor tance, and in the opinion of DVV, inter national exchange in foreign cultural and education policy should reflect this trend, especially since thematic and regional focal points are often congruent. Adult education is a major theme for the future in the context of lifelong learning, something that has been confirmed frequently on Euro pean and international levels. For this reason, the DVV made an appeal for stronger recognition and support in foreign cultural and education policy and its implementation, also to reflect needed political coherence; the members’ council of DVV adopted the declaration included here.

DOC 21 The literacy of youth and adults has not become less important recent years (or more accurately decades). Population growth accounts for the increase in the number of children starting school. In addition, many of the statistics are still not very reliable. If UNESCO statistics for children not attending school are compared with statistics for children who work, the latter figures are almost double in number. Or for illiteracy – the results of questionnaires in special studies yield numbers approximately one-third higher than the official totals gathered using self-evaluations during national censuses. It is therefore necessary to estimate the number of people who cannot adequately read and write at one billion. Thus all efforts that aim to improve this situation from qualitative or quantitative standpoints must be supported. The Abuja Call for Action reflects these efforts and the literacy benchmarks that were debated at the conference at which the Institute was also represented, have shown great effects. The conference itself is discussed in AED 71. The United Nations Literacy Decade, proclaimed in 2002, is expected to contribute significantly to fostering reading and writing in all countries of the world and to reduce the remaining illiteracy rate by 50 percent. The Institute supports the group of experts appointed by UNESCO which was involved in the Midterm Review of the UN General Assembly (see www.unesco.org/uil/en/focus/ undecade.htm).

DOC 22 + 23 The discussions about an action plan for adult education contin ued at a European level in 2007. The Institute took part in regional consultations and the DVV general meeting adopted a declaration entitled It is always a good time to learn. This EU action plan finally went through all stages of official adop tion and aims for the support of Member States in improving and extending adult education in their countries.

DOC 24 The challenges for adult education resulting from the increasing mi gration of people are numerous and vary widely from country to country. People should be prepared for emigration with education programs; immigration poses challenges to the receiving societies which can better cope with the help of educa tion. Together with partners, the Institute took on the theme The Right to Education in the Context of Migration and Integration, at a conference in Bonn. Three forums addressed the topics “Language as a key to integration and participation”, “The right to education – foundation for equal rights, integration and participation of migrants” and “Migration and development – an issue for adult education”; the conference is extensively documented in IPE 59 and AED 70.

De Foro a ForoDOC 25 In January 2007 the members of ICAE met for their world assembly in Nairobi and addressed the theme Adults’ Right to Learn: Convergence, Solidarity and Action. The Institute presented the “Commission: Organizing and Financing Adult Learning”; these contributions are contained in AED 68. Basically, the world assembly of the ICAE was already an important preparation for CONFINTEA VI, since considerations were first undertaken there for a later vir tual seminar arranged from Mon tevideo and a meeting in 2008 in Leicester. At the latter, the focal points were determined to be “Lit eracy”, “Poverty and the World of Work”, “Migration”, and “Policy, Legislation and Financing”. The ICAE was prepared to concentrate on and become involved in these issues with a view to CONFINTEA. Furthermore, a policy paper resulted from this proc ess entitled Key Issues at Stake. The journal of the ICAE, Convergence, published a special edition on this topic with more than twenty contribu tions. For more information, go to www.icae.org.uy.

DOC 26 Germany’s governmental structure assigns great importance and responsibility for education and culture to the federal states.

DialogoAt an Education Summit, hosted by the Chancellor and the Prime Ministers of the Federal States in Dresden in 2008, the foundation for a qualification initiative was to be laid to make an “education republic” out of the federal republic. The DVV (see also www.dvv-vhs.de) took the opportunity to advance its goals and demands in a declaration that was clearly coupled with international processes: “six percent of the education budget for adult education” and “halving the number of illiterates by 2015”.

DOC 27 At the end of 2008, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that emphasized adult education and Lifelong learning for knowledge, creativity, and innovation, placing it in the context of the future education program of the EU Commission. The call for special attention to migrants and minorities, disad vantaged people in the job market, especially young people, women, seniors and those living in rural areas, can be found here.

DOC 28 With respect to the main funding sponsor BMZ, the Institute has compiled a strategy paper in which it formulated and agreed upon its goals and comparative advantages in terms of a performance profile. With this in hand, it is well armed to shape the instrument evaluation announced by BMZ with the title “Support for social structure in developing countries” that is to be carried out from 2009 to 2011 together with other institutions in the Social Improvement Network (AGS). See www.sozialstruktur.org.

DOC 29 In view of the European pre-conference for CONFINTEA VI, the EAEA has published a statement declaring its positions and demands. In addition, it pointed out that action plans for the development of adult education must be created and implemented in concrete steps that should strengthen structures, produce state support for legal regulations and financial resources, promote employee education and training as well as guarantee recognition for learning results.

DOC 30 + 31 + 32 The specific preparatory process for CONFINTEA VI has been under way since the beginning of 2007. An international planning group was created by UIL in Hamburg. The preparations have been taking place there – from the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) to the regional pre-conferences as well as to the international conference, Living and Learning for a Viable Future – The Power of Adult Learning, in Belém. It is of course simultaneously recognition and challenge to be asked to serve in the planning group as the director of the Institute of DVV International. In any case, it simplifies cooperation significantly. The planning group at UIL posed the difficult task for itself of creating a guideline for the national reports. That task is difficult in that the guideline should capture processes and results in individual countries on the one hand, and yet on the other, present an effective, single form for all countries so that comparisons can be made. It is certainly a great achievement that some 150 country reports have been submitted and are now available online at www.unesco.org/en/confinteavi/ grale/ . The national reports were evaluated according to transnational criteria, regional reports composed and then discussed at regional preparatory conferences. Thus in September 2008 there was a meeting in Mexico on the theme From Literacy to Lifelong Learning: Towards the Challenges of the 21st Century; in October in Seoul for Asia/Pacific on Building Equitable and Sustainable Societies in Asia and Pacific: the Challenges to Adult Learning, and in November in Nairobi on The Power of Youth and Adult Learning for African Development. The regional reports and statements of the regional conferences are all well worth reading; they can be found on the above-mentioned website. In this volume only individual recommendations are documented, also in order to recognize common ground, similarities and differences in priorities.

Financing Adult EducationDOC 33 Germany belongs to the UNESCO Pan-European region. This region met in December in Budapest on the theme of Adult Learning for Equity and Inclusion in a Context of Mobility and Competition. As with the compilation of the national report The Development and State of the Art of Adult Learning (ALE) (see www.bmbf.de), the DUK organized a prior conference with BMBF and KMK, who took a leading role, and in which other participants (Bundestag, DIE, DVV, and DUK) could discuss content and organizational questions. Exceptional elements of the conference were certainly the opening speech by the DVV president Professor Süssmuth, who made the connection to CONFINTEA V in Hamburg, point ing out subsequent successes as well as deficits. The Institute director was appointed to the drafting group and could experience the tenacious strug gle to bring different positions togeth er, even to the point of labouring over the use of individual words. Finally, agreement was reached on a final declaration that was accepted by acclamation in the plenary session. Adult education was emphasized as an important part of lifelong learn ing; public support and advance ment were demanded as well as the acceptance of degrees from non-formal education processes.

DOC 34 In January 2009 the regional conference for the Arab region took place in Tunis, Investing in Adult Learning: Building Knowledge and Learning Societies in the Arab Region. It should be noted here that DVV International, as an organization accredited by UNESCO for CONFINTEA VI, could send its own delegations so that in addition to the central office, many directors from the foreign offices could also take part. The Institute was thus represented at all of the preparatory conferences together with its partners.

DOC 35 + 36 The General Assembly of the United Nations decided to proclaim a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in 2005. In Germany the re sponsible committee in the Bundestag dealt extensively with this topic and called on the federal government to design an action plan for education and sustainable development. The German UNESCO Commission became the project’s sponsor and established a roundtable; it also runs the online platform www.bne portal.de. DVV International is responsible for the working group on non-formal and continuing education. A midterm review took place in Bonn in 2009. The Institute was also represented there, and at the “UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development” – see the Bonn Declarationas well as at the prior conference on Global Learning, Towards the World and Beyond, which adopted the Bonn NGO Declaration.


The focal point of the work of the Institute will remain practice-oriented cooperation with partners in jointly planned projects, whether local, national, regional or global. They will be concerned with health and environmental education, the advancement of democracy and civic involvement, employability and professional training, contributions to conflict resolution and crisis prevention, basic education and literacy – in each case quite tangibly. International programs that strive to guarantee good Education for All, in other words, a qualitatively high basic and continuing train ing for all youth and adults with a view to lifelong learning should continue to be given consideration and support. The picture of the four pillars of the education system – school, vocational training, university, adult education – will continue to be relevant even though the transitions between the individual education areas will receive greater attention in the concept of lifelong learning. Adult education is of decisive importance here, called for by the professional, technological and cultural change in our societies.

Youth and adult education still do not have the recognition and importance that they need to reach the MDGs and EFA. A fundamental goal for CONFINTEA VI in Belém must therefore be to use binding resolutions to raise the chances for realization in the future through education policy, legal and financial safeguards and the further development of the profession. At the same time, wealthy states and development organizations should pledge to support poor countries in reach ing these goals. The billion children, youth and adults who cannot read and write sufficiently should be able to realize a gain from this. The Institute will continue to need to raise its voice, to be active, to use its influence in this process – and to document the results accordingly.

Already in the month afterwards, in June 2009, the DVV International, together with its partners BMZ, UIL, ICAE, EAEA and ASPBAE, will hold an international conference on “Financing Adult Education for Development” in Bonn. Together, experiences should be exchanged and discussions should take place on how more effective forms of cooperation could look and how state and multilateral develop ment financing could use adult education more meaningfully. Information and docu ments on this topic are available at www.dvv-international.de.

The conference will bring its guests together at an evening event. The roots of the international work of the Volkshochschule and DVV reach back to the 1950s. Organizational and institutional development as a special department of the DVV began in 1969. DVV International will be 40 years old. We will have good reason to commemorate this with partners, to review the past and to look toward the future – and to celebrate.


BMBF: Konzeption der Bundesregierung zum Lernen im Lebenslauf. Deutscher Bundestag. Ausschuss für Bildung, Forschung und Technikfolgenabschätzung. A-Drs. 16(18)353. Ein gang am 6.5.2008.

Delors, Jaques et. al.: Learning: The Treasure Within. Report to UNESCO of The International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. Paris: UNESCO Publishing 1996.

Dohmen, Günther: Lifelong Learning. Guidelines for a modern education policy. Bonn: BMBF 1996.

DVV: Lifelong Learning – Need and Funding. Answers to questions for the hearing of 29th January 2007, Committee for Education Research and the Implications of Technology, German Parliament, A-Drs. 16(18) 144. In: Adult Education and Development, 68, 2007.

EAEA: Adult Education Trends and Issues in Europe. Restricted tender No. EAC/43/05 as completed by 11th of August 2006. Brussels: EAEA 2006.

European Commission: Communication from the Commission. Making a European lifelong learning a reality. COM 2001, 678 final.

Faure. E. et. al.: Learning to be. The world of education today and tomorrow. Paris: UNESCO Publishing 1972.

Kidd. Roby A.: Tale of Three Cities, Elsionore – Montreal – Tokyo, the influence of three world conferences upon the development of adult education. Publications in Continuing Education. Syracuse: University 1974.

Knoll, Joachim H.: Internationale Weiterbildung und Erwachsenenbildung. Konzepte, Institutio nen, Methoden. Darmstadt 1996.

Lowe, John: The Education of Adults. A World Perspective. Paris: UNESCO 1975.

OECD, Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI): Recurrent Education. A Strategy for Lifelong Learning. Paris 1973.

UIL: Global Report on Adult Education and Learning. Draft. Manuscript. Hamburg: UIL 2009.


1 Heribert Hinzen (Ed.): Adult Education and Development. 25 Years of the Institute for International Coopera tion of the German Adult Education Association. AED 43. Bonn: DVV 1994.
2 See Erhard Schlutz: Mein Weg in die Erwachsenenbildung – Kollegial Aufgaben- und Berufsentwicklung in den Siebzigern, p. 108; as well as in the introduction, pp. 4 and 5. In: Erhard Schlutz, Heinrich Schneider (Hrsg.) Berufsgeschichte der Erwachsenenbildner/innen – Geschichte als Berufswissen. Bremer Texte zur Erwachsenen-Bildungsforschung des Instituts für Erwachsenenbildungsforschung der Universität Bremen: 2008.
3 See Heinrich Roth (Hrsg.): Begabung und Lernen. Ergebnisse und Folgerungen neuer Forschungen. Deutscher Bildungsrat. Gutachten und Studien der Bildungskommission. Vol. 4. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag 1968, p.453; and Strzelewicz, W., H.D. Raapke, W. Schulenberg: Bildung und gesellschaftliches Bewußtsein. – Eine mehrstufige soziologische Untersuchung in Westdeutschland. Göttinger Abhandlungen zur Soziologie,
4 See Deutscher Bildungsrat: Strukturplan für das Bildungswesen. Cited in Wolfgang Seitter: Geschichte der Erwachsenenbildung. Eine Einführung. In: Theorie und Praxis der Erwachsenenbildung. Bielefeld: Bertels mann 2000, p. 140.
5 Joachim H. Knoll: The history of the UNESCO international conferences on adult education – from Helsingör (1949) to Hamburg (1997): International adult education policy through people and programmes. In: Convergence, vol. XL (3-4), 2007, p. 21-41.
6 ICAE: Adult education and lifelong learning: Issues, concerns and recommendations. Submission to the International Commission on Education and Learning for the Twenty-First Century. In: AED 42. Bonn: DVV, 1994, p. 175-184.
7 Gundula Frieling, Gisela Waschek (eds.): Geschichte – Geschichten – Gesichter. Ein halbes Jahrhundert Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V. Bonn: DVV, 2003.
8 See Wolfgang Seitter, note 4, p. 108. vol. 10, Stuttgart 1966.


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