Click this to listen the article

Developments: Digitalisation prioritised by the new government

Overall, the responses from Germany see a slight deterioration of the situation in adult learning (ALE) in Germany for 2020/2021.

From the point of view of the EAEA members, there were no major changes in Germany from 2020 to 2021 in terms of the political design of adult learning and education. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on adult education providers in Germany as well. The pandemic regulations changed substantially during the year and led to a temporary closure of the adult education centres. This also highlighted the urgent need for digitisation in terms of facilities, equipment, but also the need for better digital skills of educators and learners and as well as better access to tools and hardware. Digitalisation of adult learning has, therefore, been prioritised by the new government.

Establishing a culture of continuing learning

Several strategies guide adult learning and education in Germany. They include the “Nationale Dekade für Alphabetisierung und Grundbildung 2016 – 2026” (National Decade for Literacy and Basic education 2016 – 2026). With the National Decade for Literacy and Basic Education, the Federal Government is continuing its intention, following the results of the National Strategy, to systematically address the topic of literacy and basic education and to anchor it in education policy and planning. The Decade initially targets adults with German as their mother tongue as well as migrants who have lived in Germany for a longer period of time. In the medium term, however, refugees are also to be addressed.

Integration courses are also a key pillar of the adult learning landscape in Germany.  A nationwide course system supports the integration efforts of new immigrants as well as migrants who have been living in Germany for some time. The integration course is part of the Federal Government's overall language programme, which consists of integration courses and job-related language courses. (

The National Strategy for Continuing Education and Training aims to establish continuing education as an integral part of professional and entrepreneurial development and create a common culture of continuing education in Germany. It promotes continuing education from three angles:

  • jobseekers get new chances for a job with further training
  • it helps employees to be fit for the working world of tomorrow
  • companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises, benefit from targeted training measures to attract skilled workers.

In 2021, the ”Initiative Digitale Bildung” (initiative for digital education) was launched. The aim of the initiative is to work together with all stakeholders - with learners and teachers, school authorities and representatives from politics, science and civil society - on the further development of digital teaching and learning opportunities and to discuss the potentials of digital education.

Sustainable development in focus

DVV remarks on the relevance of social and environmental sustainability within their organisation. Consequently, they have a strategy to promote sustainability in their work procedures and learning programmes. Beyond the organisation, there are plans to develop a sustainable development strategy for the entire ALE sector of Germany. Despite that, DVV acknowledges that there is still potential for further implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDG’s) as it varies substantially in the ALE sector. Concepts and recommendations for the implementation of the SDGs are developed by DVV and passed on to the adult education centres.

The National Action Plan for Education for Sustainable Development is a central political strategy for structurally anchoring Education for Sustainable Development in the German educational landscape. It addresses curricula, syllabuses and training regulations as well as the initial, further and continuing training of pedagogical staff in formal, non-formal and informal education. Further central aspects are also a stronger networking of ESD actors and good practice, as well as a holistic transformation of learning institutions towards sustainability.

German organisations are participating actively in CONFINTEA VII

DVV has been active in the CONFINTEA process for many years and will participate in CONFINTEA VII, the seventh UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education, in 2022 through representatives of DVV. DVV also notes that German civil society is involved or consulted to a certain extent in the planning of CONFINTEA VII.