Addressing refugees and non-refugees in adult education programs

A longitudinal analysis on shifting public concerns


  • Bernd Käpplinger Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen



Refugee, Adult Education Centre, Program Analysis, History, Program Planning


The paper analyses mainly non-vocational courses offered by a sample of 47 out of the approximately 900 public adult education centres (Volkshochschule - VHS) in Germany. The focus is on courses, events or other learning forms dealing with refugees in Germany from 1947 to 2015. Refugees can be taught in all-refugee or in mixed-groups, but it can also mean that flight and refuge is an educational issue for non-refugees. The method of program analysis is used. The results demonstrate changes over time. German adult education centres have partly turned into language schools for refugees and migrants. Civic or liberal education courses have lost importance. Refugees and migrants are addressed more than in the past when mainly non-refugees were informed about the reasons why people become refugees. Finally, ideas for courses are put forward. They are related to past practices and other studies.


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Author Biography

Bernd Käpplinger, Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen

Prof. Dr.


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How to Cite

Käpplinger, B. (2018). Addressing refugees and non-refugees in adult education programs: A longitudinal analysis on shifting public concerns. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 9(2), 161–177.