On the invitation of DVV International, a group of twelve Armenian adult education professionals travelled to Germany on a study trip from 7 to 10 October 2019, to learn about the system of Volkshochschulen (German adult education centres) as well as about German and European policies and concepts of adult education.
The participants represented existing and potential partners of DVV International in Armenia, including a number of adult education centres and civil society organisations dealing, for example, with museum education, media literacy or women’s empowerment.
The group of professionals spent time at three Volkshochschulen (vhs Bonn, vhs Rhein Sieg, vhs Aachen), thus seeing a diversity of locations, with diverse beneficiaries and programmes. During these visits, the participants shared experiences with their German colleagues and gained an insight into the functioning of the Volkshochschulen, their organisational structures, their financing and education programmes, among other things.
Another important topic was the creation of a national network, which is one of the key objectives of the DVV International programme in Armenia from 2019-2021. The German Adult Education Association (Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.) served as a best practice example here.
At the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), the Aachen town hall, and the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE), the discussion concentrated on adult education policy-making on the European level, the German federal and local levels, as well as evidence-based adult education polices. In addition, a visit to the German History Museum offered an example of how to feature history in creative and non-traditional ways through educational programmes for adults.
At the end of the journey, participants underlined the importance of learning about the support given to Volkshochschulen from the different levels of government – from the municipal to the federal. Many members of the group were also impressed by the concept of second chance education in Germany, and expressed their interest to learn more about educational programme development from their German colleagues in the future.
DVV International in Armenia will continue its engagement with these organisations through a partner network that will serve as a platform for experience exchange, capacity building and, eventually, adult education advocacy.