Brits in Europe – a new target group for adult education?

A friend sent me a link to a story from a local newspaper in Westphalia, just to the west of Bielefeld. Reporting on a speech by the leader of the local Volkshochschule (VHS, adult education centre), the headline reads: “Brexit drives Brits to the VHS – course fees becoming more expensive’.

VHS Ravensberg

Senior staff at VHS Ravensberg launch their Easter brochure (image from the Westfalen-Blatt)

Whatever the headline might make you think, the story desn’t seek to blame the Brits for raising course fees. Rather, it summarises Ravensberg VHS’s yearly report, which notes that the reduced numbers of asylum-seekers entering Germany have had an effect on demand for adult basic education, and encouraged the VHS to offer its integration courses in workplaces, so as to reach foreign workers.

In the process, Ravensberg VHS has discovered a new target group. “50 percent of the people who take the naturalization test with us, are currently British,” says VHS leader Hartmut Heinze. In Germany, the VHS are reponsible for administering both the test of citizenship knowledge and the language competence assessment, so I speculated that this growth in British candidates is similar elsewhere as people try to manage uncertainty.

As for the rise in tuition fees, that was a more or less logical consequence of the VHS orgnisers’ decision to raise payments to course leaders. Learners will now have to pay 2,40  per 45 minutes of class time instead of 1,90. That’s quite a hike, but still a lot cheaper than the typical course fee in the UK.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Brits in Europe – a new target group for adult education?

  1. Interesting question John. We will need to look at differences between EU member states as to how the nateralisation process works. I applied in 2018 for Dutch nationality and it was very quick, efficient, friendly and cheap. But, I was told that I could acquire Dutch citizenship and keep my British passport, because I was aged over 65 and not on the labour market. Under 65, and I would have to surrender my British passport, unless I as married to a Dutch citizen. It was also not required to take a language test of answer questions about Dutch history, although this does apply to non-EU immigrants. Indeed, they now have to do this test before they leave their home country. These courses are marketed by commercial providers. Will be interesting to witness how this pans out after a possible Brexit. All UK citizens here have been invited to personally discuss their situation with their local authority and have been granted 15 months to clarify their status. Our kitchen has been frequently populated by uncertain Brits enjoying a mug of strong Yorkshire breakfast tea to sooth their nerves. I will check out the French situation next week, they do have a strong language test. Which raises a quite different issue. 90% of master degree courses and the majority of bachelors here are now taught in English. These is now a major national debate about the Anglo-saxon influence and the decline of the Dutch language and literature.

    On Fri, 29 Mar 2019 at 15:49, thelearningprofessor wrote:

    > thelearningprofessor posted: “A friend sent me a link to a story from a > local newspaper in Westphalia, just to the west of Bielefeld. Reporting on > a speech by the leader of the local Volkshochschule (VHS, adult education > centre), the headline reads: “Brexit drives Brits to the VHS – c” >

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