Introduction

VHS and Cooperation


The Adult Education Centres are indeed the most important system of Adult Education in Germany and probably in Europe, but the last systematic description of its positioning, its objectives, its principles, its organisation, program priorities and their partners dates back to 1978 and no longer corresponds to today’s reality. At the 13 th Adult Education Conference in May 2011 the current position paper, which the Advisory Board of the DVV as well as the board and the regional associations also worked on, was presented to the public. We publish an abridged version in which the most essential features are described.

One of the basic principles of the work of Adult Education Centres is their international network and their view beyond Germany’s borders. Whoever wants to learn something about how life looks in other countries, beyond the goals of package tourism, can do so at Adult Education Centres. The Global Learning Department offers this possibility. Here one can also learn that global problems affect us all, albeit in different ways. The exhibition Climate Changers – which was put together by the Association for Development of Lower Saxony (VEN) in collaboration with a Bolivian and a Tanzanian NGO, and which was, among other things, shown at Adult Education Centres – is one example.

Many Adult Education Centres seek to arouse interest in people and their living conditions and how things are done in other cultures and to provide information and contacts. Here again we have chosen an example in which Rudolf Blauth, Director of the Adult Education Centre of the small town of Ahlen, shows that with commitment and creativity one can succeed in getting people in Germany enthusiastic about Africa.
In its cooperation with partners from the South, DVV International has the advantage of being able to draw on a large pool of skilled workers from the practical work of Adult Education Centres who are ready and willing to share their knowledge and skills and at the same time intensively concern themselves with the problems and working conditions in the partner countries, and to learn from the imagination and initiative with which structural and material difficulties are overcome. Such an experience is described by Christiane Stürmann, Program Area Director for Employment and Vocation and School Certification at the Adult Education Centre in Verden, in which she tried out communicative teaching methods with Ethiopian students of Adult Education.