Source: Original caption: Berlin – From the work done by the Adult Education Centers, 1977. Photo: Landesbildstelle Berlin. German Information Center.
In the mid-1960s, there was a paradigm shift in West German adult education—the so-called realistic turn. Courses emphasizing occupational training assumed greater significance and became an increasingly important component of the curriculum, taking their place alongside classes that aimed to enhance students’ general education and their understanding of the political system. Adult Education Centers [Volkshochschulen] still stand at the heart of the adult education system today. In 1977, the year these photographs were taken, there were a total of 1,933 Adult Education Centers in the Federal Republic, 503 of which benefitted from community sponsorship. Today, Adult Education Centers usually receive the majority of their funds from the federal states and municipalities in which they are located. This allows their courses to be affordable to nearly everyone. The four photographs in this image carousel point to the breadth of offerings at Adult Education Centers. They show (from left to right) working adults studying for their Abitur (the type of diploma required for university admission), a multi-part course on “Artistic Design and Craft” (the double image), and a sewing class.