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Cook, Alice Hanson / Workers' education in the U.S. Zone of Germany
(1947)

Labor education,   pp. 5-15 PDF (6.4 MB)


Page 10


But the organization of a residence school today presentedifficulties not
just in finding te3..cners and materials but in providing sufficient food,
o'ddin~
taxls ware, light bulbs, coal and note paper to make it bearable for people
to
come~, to say nothing of creatinig an atzaosphere which encourages leahrin-
In 5oi
places, the, prob2em is being appPacned ~boldly and. aggressive and the difficalt~
sougeh?'; overe ce. In othersthe.problems presented seem to be cumb.rsome
to coj
with and the uaions have not bean able to solve them.
The best solution which has been. found is tn set up short courses; some
as
short an, a wekend or four days, others lasting as long as two to foPur.
weeks,
whre young p. oplo get at least a look at a different and bigger world than
the~
have seea -fCre, and whera they can beginr to understand .h~t the~ tasks
are whic
face them as young workers.
Af.1JULT EEDUCTION; .T0
Thv Germaan Volksnochs.chule was a liberal answer to a German school system
which limited workers to an elementary education. PeoplQ as people had a
right
to become acquainted with the main stream of modern.and classical thought.
The
very name of the German adult education institution - Peoples' ColLeges --
,carries this idea of giving tha p.ople an opportunity to share in the higher
-i tellectual pqrsuits which w    're in effec t.a mo=opoly of the privileged.
The
unionist especially in the dJ-umar Republic, supported the Volkshochsohule
movmez
and the labor parties ware instrumental in .seeing that the schools were
supportc
by the city or state without necessarily becoming part of the public school
system..
Out of these evening schools have :.een reaerganized again since the occupati
usually oft much the-same pattern ns they had before Aiitler. The courses
they
offer reflect the changed spirit of the preset situttion -- there is little
or
no rjea6mcto coUrses offered ;n po itical end social subjects. Vocational
courses on-the other hand heave to close their registration before the-dc-and
is
satisfied. However, literature, art, and philoc3ophy offerings get considerable
responses
- h, need for specific functional training in the unions is so great that
little energy or interest is left for more general edu'cetional interests.
Where
a close cooperation exists bet'.een thle unions and tha. V     it usually
results
in the inclusion of more vocationa:l subjects in the V1S curriculum. Some
unions
have reaehed al agre-2ment'with the ViS by -which the evening.. school provides
space and business management, aad the unions provide tiecahers for specific
trade union.subjects and aid in recruiting students for all the classe's.
Lost
'BM have union representatives on the board of directors. In Iahmaburg, the
union
teachers represent the unions in discussions of curriculum, :nenagement,
student
recruiting, etc.
There is still the possibility in !aernaany today of keeping open channels
.between groups and 'classes of the Garman populnation. One of these channels
should' be the 'Volkshochschule, partly .cauee a tradition lready exists
here
on which present developments can build; partly bhc'use. the stark necessities
of the present situation press for a coordination of all educational re-
sources: partly because the VHS can provide a center for liberal educational
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