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Challenges: Shut down during the pandemic and digital upskilling

The adult sector was significantly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, which led to an immediate shutdown of many classes and financial losses because projects stopped abruptly and some of the organisations missed important application deadlines for European funding. The KEB reported that many of their partners were forced to close down during the pandemic, which for some resulted in bankruptcy. During the pandemic, the much needed courses on digital upskilling for work and everyday life were also cancelled, which exacerbated inequalities and made it impossible for many disadvantaged adults to participate in continuing education.

Focus on educating immigrants and senior citizens

Vhs-bw focus for the next year will be providing education for immigrants and senior citizens. Many offers will be designed for lower-skilled adults, however, their participation in education will probably remain low. KEB will promote digital training and continue to support opportunities that foster sustainable development in the adult education sector. DAEA joins KEB in their focus on digital education. DAEA’s secondary focus is the expansion of educational offers in East Germany, focusing especially on political education. Vhs-bw calls on the government to ensure that there are no financial barriers for anyone to participate in adult education. KEB highlights that adult education is more than vocational training and that non-formal education needs to receive adequate attention.

Overall, the three members believe that adult education requires more recognition and funding to be able to provide the holistic set of skills demanded for future life and work demands.