The Volkshochschule ( popular university ) is a non-profit organisation that is
- easily accessible for all citizens,
- without bias in ideological and religious issues,
The Volkshochschule is a centre for learning, discussion, health and culture.
It is the local centre for further education and as such contributes to the planning of a future worth living.
- It helps people to meet the demands of the working world. It offers qualified and qualifying knowledge for general orientation. In this way it supports people to cope more easily with radical social change.
- It facilitates the dialogue between generations, sexes, classes, cultures and thereby fosters the integration of the different groups of society.
- It works towards social balance by establishing an affordable access to further education for all citizens and thus contributes to democratisation.
- It helps to develop and improve the infrastructure of municipalities and districts and by doing so strengthens the position of Baden-Württemberg.
- The 173 Volkshochschulen in Baden-Württemberg with their approximately 720 sub-branches reach almost 2 million people per year with their immense amount of 2.5 million lessons in over 110.000 courses.
- The vhs offers courses for all interested citizens. One of its principle goals is to bring together people with different interests, people of different age-groups and walks of life and give them the chance to learn together.
- Moreover the vhs aims at various target groups. There are special courses for children, adolescents and seniors, women, fathers, disabled people, unemployed people, and foreign citizens.
Range of Topics
The wide range of topics offered by Volkshochschulen can be divided into five main fields:
- Politics - Society - Environment with courses for discussion, single events and study trips on topical issues covering contemporary history and politics, economy and law, philosophy and natural science, ecology and consumer issues, family and education and last but not least geography.
- Culture - Creativity with seminars on art and literature, theatre and media as well as numerous creative workshops on dancing and music, painting, drawing, printing, sculpturing, fashion and sewing.
- Health with a wide variety of relaxation and gymnastics courses and with courses on healthy nutrition, addiction, psychosomatics, diseases and curing methods, health care and health policy.
- Languages with basic and advanced courses in over 40 languages, e. g. Arabic and Chinese, German as a foreign language, English, French, Italian and Spanish and even Turkish and Hungarian.
- Work/Occupation with special courses on information and communication techniques, multimedia, office and business work , technical issues and other tailored courses.
The various course forms include intensive morning classes on weekdays, compact courses on weekends, long term courses and holiday courses all of which are based on modern adult methodology.
Furthermore the vhs offers its participants the possibility to take part in examinations qualifying for vocational training ( graduation from different types of schools ) or for better jobs ( examinations of the German Chamber of Commerce ). In language classes participants can be prepared for special language examinations, e.g. examinations in European languages of the International Certificate Conference, examinations of the Goethe-Institut, examinations of the University of Cambridge. The latter can be taken in more than 20 sub-centres all over Baden-Württemberg.
The financing of the Volkshochschulen in Baden-Württemberg 2005
total volume: 130 million €
In contrast to the goal of achieving an equal financing by the state, the municipalities and the participants the latter make a contribution to the financing of more than 50% on the average in Baden-Württemberg.
at Volkshochschulen in Baden- Württemberg 2003
36.681 Freelance teachers
800 Honorary heads or second job heads of sub-branches
438 Administrative employees ( Verwaltungsmitarbeiter/innen)
250 Full-time employees responsible for the programme planning and pedagogical matters
Most of the Volkshochschulen work together as members of the German association of Volkshochschulen (DVV) and co-operate with European partner organisations for adult education.
They locally co-operate with numerous institutions, such as places of cultural interest in the municipality, job centres and various local organisations and clubs.
The Association of Volkshochschulen
The major tasks of the association of Volkshochschulen in Baden-Württemberg founded in 1967 are:
- Representation of the interests and the image of the Volkshochschulen at state and national level.
- Advisory service for its members concerning the planning of their programmes, political and financial matters as well as legal issues and business management.
- Conception and organisation of numerous examinations in the fields of languages and occupation.
- Conception and organisation of teacher training and workshops for the over 30.000 freelance teachers and the employed and honorary working staff.