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Developments: A high need for digital development

The situation of adult learning and education (ALE) in Germany has stayed the same in comparison to last year, according to The Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V. (DVV). The DVV describes the German situation as follows:

  • Currently, there are no more closures of adult education centres due to Covid-related issues.
  • Former participants, however, need to be reactivated.
  • There still is a high need for digital development, both for participants and instructors, as well as for facilities and equipment.
  • Due to the new municipal sales tax obligation, which applies from January 1st2023 onwards, there are high uncertainties in the adult education centres. 

When it comes to new policies and strategies, the DVV mentions that for the first time, the coalition agreement of the new federal government contains a separate section on adult education. 

Participation in policymaking

DVV participated in a hearing of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Culture on an "Initiative for Digital Continuing Education". The initiative calls for a federal funding programme originating from the federal government and directed at adult education centres (Volkshochschulen), among others. 

In 2021, DVV lobbied for adult education in the context of the federal elections:

Country reports by the European Commission

According to the DVV, the country reports of the European Commission do not reflect the situation in Germany. Besides, issues indicated in the country reports and the country-specific recommendations are not specifically taken into account when designing adult education and learning (ALE) programmes and projects in the German context. 

Learners’ voice

In Germany, the voice of adult learners is not currently mentioned in ALE laws. However, learners can form learner councils within their adult education centres. The learners’ views are also represented by adult learning associations, based on their experience with the learning needs of their target groups. 


The DVV has a strategy to coordinate and promote the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the ALE sector in Germany by developing concepts and recommendations for adult education centres. However, the implantation of the SDG varies and there still is potential for further implantation in the sector. 

A national platform for education for sustainable development is available: 


DVV was present during the CONFINTEA VII conference and involved in the process leading up to the conference. There has also been a consultation between the German national UNESCO commission, the national ministries and civil society in Germany. 

However, the DVV states that in order to make CONFINTEA more relevant, there should be more coordination between the global, European and national levels. This includes communicating the results of the outcome of the conference: the Marrakech Framework for Action (MFA). Additionally, there is a need for developing instruments to hold policymakers accountable for their promises in the framework. 

Furthermore, the DVV states that in order to implement the MFA, reforms at all levels and a substantial increase in funding for ALE are necessary for Germany. In summary: CONFINTEA is important from a civil society perspective, but it is not sufficiently taken into account in national policymaking.