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During the period from 4 to 8 September 2017 the third study visit in the project was organized in Bonn, Germany.
Representatives of the project team, representatives of the Ministry of Science and Education, representatives of the Project Coordination Group, representatives of the Agency for Vocational Education and Adult Education, Agency and external experts participated on the study visit with the aim of exchaning experience and to see examples of best practice in Germany.
According to the latest data, the pecentage of adults participants in adult education system in Germany is 15%.
Until 1990 Bonn was the capital of West Germany and the seat of major state-run institutions with well developed economy. After 1990 the significant institutions moved to Berlin, but despite that, Bonn remained the seat of many educational institutions in the field of adult education.
One of the most important institutions is the National Agency for Education and Training responsible for monitoring adult education, vocational education and the implementation of national and international projects. In their daily work, they work closely with the ministry responsible for education and research, with trade unions, associations, employers. Under Agency, many projects are carried out like The implementation of the EU Agenda for Adult Learning, the Adult Education Platform EPALE, the EU PASS and many more.
The main authority is the Ministry of Education and Research (Federal Ministry of Education and Research), established in 1955. Their main work is mostly focused on vocational education (dual education) and training, and only in 2016 the annual budget amounted to 16.400.265.000 euros. In the period 2010-2011 a national survey was conducted, LEO (Level One Study) which showed stunning data for Germany that 7.5 million adults between the age of 18 and 64 cannot read or write. This fact has further highlighted the problem of the large number of illiterate persons and the need to raise public awareness of the importance of inclusion in the adult education system. A significant media campaign has been developed and a program / platform called MY KEY TO THE WOLRD has been developed which allows each individual to test their current knowledge and the level of acquired competences through online access.
The Institution, which is also actively involved in raising the basic skills of adults and public awareness, is the Coordination Office of the National Decade for Literacy and Basic Skills, which aim is to reduce functional disfunctions and increase the overall level of the key competences of adults. They co-operate with representatives of the Catholic Church, employers, trade unions in the field of research, public awareness of the problem of illiteracy, professionalization of teaching staff in adult education and implementation of projects.
A significant institution at the national level is the German Institute for Adult Education founded in 1957. They are actively engaged in research directed at the adult education process itself, educational institutions, teachers and the problem of illiteracy in Germany. They also work on developing an online self-assessment skills platform for adults.
As a major challenge in the field of adult education, representatives point out a large number of asylum seekers and their inclusion in society by learning German and acquiring the skills they need. In this area, a private institution Bildungsforum Lerwelten carries out asylum programs, including literacy. The institution was founded in 1979, co-financed by the state budget and the rest of the partners. Asylum classes are organized in smaller classes of 10-15 students from different countries, and emphasize the individual approach to each participant by ensuring that additional content is included in the curriculum as needed. Teaching materials are designed primarily for adults and are adapted to their age.
The study visit also included visits to institutions located in Düsseldorf and Koln. A non-profit organization that has been founded since 1947 in the Westphalia region is the Federal State Adult Education Center Association. It gathers 130 adult education institutions and 2 adult education centers. They actively educate adults, offering consulting services, providing projects, partnerships with their members and other institutions in Bonn and Berlin. In total, 36,000 programs were implemented in 2015, and the largest share of adult students was in the health sector. In 2016, 396 courses in literacy and key competences were held in adult education centers. They also provide the possibility of finishing the elementary school for adults, which lasts for 3 years (regular elementary school in Germany lasts 9 years).
Learning Region - Cologne Network & University of Cologne is a non-profit organization established in 2002, with an emphasis on lifelong learning and workplace basic education. The main target group are employees without developed skills and key competencies, and are meant to enable them to actively participate in economic and social life. The competences that they want to develop include professional competencies, math competence, methodological competence, social competence and self-evaluation.
One of the Adult Education Centers, funded by Düsseldorf, is a German Adult Education Association. They act as partners to other organizations, but also work on research and illiteracy issues by developing a curriculum for adult promotion. In 2004, they created a portal titled Ich will lernen (I want to learn) that provide learning German language for beginners as well as for foreigners who want to work in Germany.