Development-Oriented Adult Education and International Cooperation - Lifelong and Global Learning in One World
The Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association (DVV International, a registered association) operates nationally and internationally. It has been cooperating for over 40 years with state, civil society and university partner organizations engaged in adult education in nearly all parts of the world:
- In developing countries and countries in transition in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, we seek to establish and support adult education which responds to the situation in each partner country, is guided by objective criteria and functions in the interests of the poorest sections of the population.
- In the industrialized countries we foster professional interchange and, increasingly, project cooperation.
- We play a part worldwide, together with the specialist adult education associations that operate regionally and globally, in the necessary work of disseminating information and lobbying.
The guidelines for our work stress:
- the guidance and skills training functions of adult education as an integral part of lifelong learning
- its emancipatory importance for social and individual development
- the part played by history and culture in determining its aims, content, forms and methods
- solidarity with people's struggle for development in partner countries, which ultimately has a moral basis
- the aim of setting objective goals in cooperation with our partners
Our Main Areas of Work
The emphasis of our work has naturally changed over the decades as circumstances have demanded. While our support for adult education in the 1960s was still seen as part of the educational aid given during decolonization, the focus shifted in the 1970s and '80s to the international exchange of experience. In the 1990s, the changes in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe, and the process of European unification, faced us with new tasks and challenges. At the beginning of the new millennium these relate above all to the enlargement of the European Union.
Over the last decade in particular, adult education has increasingly become an effective instrument for the establishment and expansion of democratic structures, besides providing education in general, cultural and vocational subjects. It can play an important role if the aim is to enable people to participate more fully in social, cultural and political life, at all levels from the local to the international.
The educational content of our work focuses on basic education, environmental education and democratization. We pay particular attention to the aims of combating poverty, promoting the advancement of women, and strengthening self-help. In respect of employment and occupational activities, our work aims at raising the level of income among disadvantaged population groups, involving people in the work process, and strengthening the organizational capacity of cooperatives.
Our partners range from ministries and government agencies to university bodies, and to voluntary associations and non-governmental organizations, and our cooperation with them combines professional debate with practical collaboration. Each side has to take the other's circumstances and cultural peculiarities into account, since these often differ.
We do not see ourselves as a donor organization but as professional partners sharing our experiences and resources for common purposes and constantly learning from our partners. In our cooperation, priority is given to support for sponsoring bodies, to skills development and to quality assurance. Our work
- stresses initial and inservice training for adult educators
- facilitates practice-based evaluation and research
- promotes development of teaching and learning materials
- supports the institutional and material infrastructure
- provides advice on organizational development processes
- helps to ensure that adult education is given recognition and guaranteed support
- fosters cooperation with regional and international organizations
The dvv international currently employs around 90 staff, 20 of these being in Bonn and ten project staff posted abroad, together with some 60 locally recruited colleagues working in project offices. We fund our work from grants, notably from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Foreign Office (AA) and the European Union (EU).
The German Adult Education Association (Deutscher Volkshochschulverband e.V. )
The DVV is an Institute of the German Adult Education Association. This was set up in 1953 as an umbrella organization for the Land (provincial) associations of Volkshochschulen (adult education centres) in the Federal Republic of Germany, there now being 16 such associations. The historical roots of the Volkshochschulen (VHS) go back to the beginnings of the workers' movement and to the popular education of the late 19th century. Today, the VHS are public continuing education centres offering a wide range of provision, from vocational skills and further training, and a second chance to acquire school-leaving and other qualifications, to courses with political and cultural themes, and leisure courses. The DVV represents the organizational and educational interests of the VHS and their Land associations. It is a partner in or member of the following bodies:
- Adolf Grimme Institut - Gesellschaft für Medien, Bildung und Kultur mbH in Marl
(the Adolf Grimme Institute for Media, Education and Culture)
- Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung e.V. in Frankfurt am Main
(German Institute for Adult Education)
- WBT - Weiterbildungs-Testsysteme GmbH in Frankfurt am Main
(Continuing Education Test Systems Ltd.)
The President of the German Adult Education Association is currently Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth MdB (Member of the Federal Parliament).