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Brandenburg expands help for reading and writing problems

Tens of thousands of adults in Brandenburg find reading and writing really difficult. Educational opportunities are becoming increasingly popular and are to be expanded.

Letters and words at a course for people with reading and writing difficulties.
Letters and words at a course for people with reading and writing difficulties.

Education - Brandenburg expands help for reading and writing problems

For people in Brandenburg who cannot read and write properly, the state wants to expand educational opportunities in the future. According to a study by the University of Hamburg, this affects up to 180,000 adults in Brandenburg. For them, the adult education centers in the districts and independent cities offer help and learning opportunities, which are known as basic education centers.

"Since September 2023, Brandenburg has been the federal state with the most basic education centers," said Friederike König, project manager at the Federal Association for Literacy and Basic Education. "Thanks to the good interlinking of the services offered by the state, districts and municipalities, the number of funded basic education centers in Brandenburg is currently the highest among the federal states at 14," confirmed Antje Grabley, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education in Potsdam. This means low-threshold offers and comparatively short distances.

The state is planning to set up four more basic education centers. These would be financed from state funds and funds from the European Social Fund.

According to project manager Maria Schulze from the Brandenburg Adult Education Association, the number of courses and teaching units in this area has risen by up to 33 percent since 2021. In the courses held from January 2021 to March 2023, courses that explicitly dealt with writing and reading skills dominated with 51 percent. The 1,711 participants included 800 new participants, 94 of whom came from prisons.

"The number of courses will probably also increase in the coming years," said Schulze, referring to the expansion of the basic education centers. A large number of additional basic education courses and the expansion of open courses are planned for 2024. However, the project manager criticized the large administrative burden associated with the funding conditions.

In Brandenburg, between 175,000 and a good 180,000 people are unable to read and write correctly. Another group are people who write incorrectly. "That's 20.5 percent of the adult population in Germany," said Friederike König from the federal association.

According to Antje Grabley, 52.6 percent of people with low literacy skills have learned German as their first language. The highest proportion of adults with low literacy skills are in the age group born between 1973 and 1982.

According to König, there are no differences between the federal states. One in eight German-speaking adults have major problems with reading and writing. Most of them are able to read and write individual sentences. "But they fail with entire texts," says the project manager.

According to König, modern technology often makes everyday life easier for these people. "As part of accessibility, there are now many digital assistants that help people with reading and writing problems to read aloud or fill out forms." Voice messages or dictation programs are used just as much as social networks.

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