The Federal Government and Federal States have joined forces to instigate a National decade for literacy and basic skills 2016-26, intending to raise basic education levels and to improve adult reading and writing skills. During this decade, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will provide approximately € 180 million of funding for projects.

The measures undertaken include raising public awareness and, especially, addressing both the private and working environment. Since family, friends and colleagues enjoy the trust of those with functional illiteracy, they can encourage them to improve their reading and writing skills. To be successful, learners also need to be given access to sufficient high-quality learning offers. Learning opportunities need to be low-threshold, flexible and individually tailored to their particular learning requirements. Other measures focus on integrating basic education into the context of company-based continuing training provision. The BMBF plans to motivate enterprises by awarding an annual prize to those which display a particular commitment to improving literacy. The challenge will be to transfer good practice nationwide and to make the specific added value even more visible to all involved. Further areas of action include the professionalisation of education staff and further research into aspects such as learning motivation, causes and prevention of functional illiteracy.

The government will intensify its commitment and cooperation over the coming ten years to acquire further partners, particularly from the areas of employment, trade and industry, social services, family, youth and healthcare services, for the implementation of specific measures. Partners in the alliance will receive support from a Scientific Advisory Board.

There is already a broad range of national, regional and local initiatives to improve the literacy and basic skills of adults in Germany. However, these enjoy only partial awareness and are not fully utilised. To secure a synergistic coordinated approach, the ‘decade’ partners have announced that qualified monitoring and effective coordination of the measures will take place. Members of the alliance will draw up a work programme which aligns to the objectives of the decade and defines specific areas of action and measures, to be updated yearly.

BIBB has set up a coordination point for the National decade for literacy and basic skills, on behalf of the BMBF. This will act as a main agency and will foster communication and cooperation with partners. The principal tasks of the coordination point are: monitoring of Federal Government measures and of projects funded by the BMBF; networking of stakeholders and coordination of measures, such as cooperation with the technical and coordinating agencies of the Federal States; sustainable dissemination of examples of good practice for workplace-oriented literacy and basic skills; cooperation and communication with the decade partners and acquisition of new partners; identification of new support and research requirements; participating in measures for raising awareness among the general public, cooperation with the BMBF campaign Reading and writing – my key to the world; promotion of networking at national and European levels; and providing information on the national decade website.

Source: BIBB website revised by ReferNet Germany, January 2017