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UNESCO praises Germany for adult education

December 5, 2019

Too few adults have access to education and governments worldwide aren't spending enough to redress the problem, says UNESCO. With one exception: Germany is bucking the trend

Adults on computers in a lesson
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/U. Baumgarten

Germany's adult education provision is among the best in the world, according to a UNESCO report published Thursday.

The UN's education and culture body singled out both the quality and financing of Germany's adult education system as particularly good.

The German government invests more than 4% of its education budget in adult education. This is compared to a fifth of all nations spending less than 0.5% of the education budget in this area.

"We have already achieved a lot in Germany, but in a period of constantly changing workplace requirements, lifelong learning will become increasingly important," said Maria Böhmer, President of Germany's UNESCO commission.

In the future, more money must be invested in education, she added.

Read moreA life without reading or writing?

Key findings

UNESCO warned that, worldwide, investment in adult education was declining and that too few adults have the opportunity to access education.

  • One-fifth of all countries spend less than 0.5% of their education budget in adult learning
  • A further 14% of countries invest less than 1%
  • Germany was one of 19% of countries that spends more than 4% of its education budget on adults
  • While there has been progess in vocational education, there are still great deficits in political eduction worldwide

The elderly, disabled, refugees or migrants face the biggest barriers to continuing or entering education as adults, the report warned.

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kmm/rt (dpa/kna)