Tasks (PAS Report 1959): Basic steps for the development of an institute for the

  • scientific research on adult education,
  • work development, and
  • systematic development and continuing education of staff.

During the first years, the focus is on the quality of the programmes, as well as on the instructors‘ approaches and their qualifications at adult education centres in Germany.

Establishment of a library and documentation work conducted in adult education centres.

Director: Dr. Willy Strelewitz


The publication programme is initiated; several publication series are established (Theory and Practice of Adult Education - Theorie und Praxis der Erwachsenenbildung, materials for adult education, bibliographies on adult education).

Development and introduction of statistics on adult education centres: The first official statistics refer to 1962.

Support of adult education centres and professional exchange by developing working and teaching material (specifically loose-leaf manual for directors and staff of adult education centres “Handbuch für die Praxis des VHS-Leiters und Mitarbeiters“) as well as the development and support of special commissions and working groups for various thematic fields.

Expansion of library and development of documentation and archives. Acquisition and reconditioning of estates by significant adult educators. Establishment of archive for work plans of adult education centres.

Support of academic research on topics of adult education.

Initial steps for international cooperation.

Director: Dr. Hans Tietgens (since 1960 after Dr. Strelewitz vocation to professorship for sociology at the Pedagogical University of Hanover, later University of Hanover)


Suggestion and support of professionalization attempt by adult education centres with the development and introduction of a certificate programme (for languages as well as mathematics and science) as well as a programme for the professional introduction of educational staff and the development and publication of differentiated autodidactic material.

Development and operation of an examination centre for certification programme.

Support of research in the field of adult education; support of research projects particularly historical research.

Beginning of institutional funding by Federal Ministry for Education and Science (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft) in 1971 and the joint research funding by the federal government and the states – the so called “Blue List” (1976). During that decade, the institute gains political support and is able to grow significantly in terms of personnel and funding. Internal reorganization of management and system: separation of institutionally funded tasks and projects, systemization according to programme areas, certificate departments and examination centre.

Board of Directors:

Director: Prof. Dr. Hans Tietgens (since 1978 professor at University of Marburg)

Vice Director: Dr. Volker Otto (1974-1976), Albert Pflüger (1977-1978), Gabriele Kallmeyer (1979)



The Advisory Board recommended the institute’s extension (1984) based on the essential impulse and catalytic effects by the PAS for adult educational research.

Development of publication programmes (series “Theorien und Praxis der Erwachsenenbildung“ and „berichte-materialien-planungshilfen“, documentations on the history of adult education, lose-leaf collection “Die Volkshochschule - Handbuch für die Praxis der VHS-Leiter und –Mitarbeiter”, lesson media service, service for programmes at adult education centres, course materials, certificates).

Development oriented research on educational issues concentrated on marginalized groups such as foreigners, unemployed and illiterates. By focusing its research on health and environmental education, the institute responded to social developments and challenges.

Development of library and documentation.

Board of Directors:

Director: Prof. Dr. Hans Tietgens

Vice Director: Gabriele Kallmeyer (1980), Herbert Bohn (1981 - 1982), Dr. Monika Völker (1983 - 1986), Klaus Pehl (1986 - 1987), Klaus Meisel (since 1988)



Dissemination of work and services for all institutions of adult education. Renaming of Institute for Didactics of Adult Education (PAS) to “German Institute for Adult Education” (DIE). Intensification of networking activities in the German continuing training sector as well as in the international activities.


Research focus:

  • professionalization of operational structures in the field of continuing education (topics: organization, efficiency and financing, quality);
  • professionalization of staff in continuing education by developing a training programme;
  • new media in continuing education.

Organizational and educational counseling: development of material, training and immediate local support.

Fundamental revision of DIE publications (new structure of series: Theorie und Praxis der EB, Perspektive Praxis, Studientexte für EB, Länderportrait Weiterbildung). Two new magazines: „REPORT Zeitschrift für Weiterbildung“ and „DIE Zeitschrift für Erwachsenenbildung“.

Introduction: Innovation Prize for Continuing Education.

The DIE is evaluated by Advisory Council, which recommends “continuing the institutional development which was introduced successfully”.

The institute becomes constitutionally and organizationally independent of the German Adult Education Association; founding of the association “German Institute for Adult Education” (1997); establishment of a full-time association board (members: Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Nuissl von Rein, Dr. Klaus Meisel). Outsourcing of Central Examinations Office into WBT Weiterbildungs-Testsysteme (non-profit limited liability company).

Member of Leibniz Association (formerly Blue List). Prof. Dr. Nuissl von Rein is scientific Vice-President (1998 – 2004).

Board of Directors:

Director: Prof. Dr. Hans Tietgens (until 1991), Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Nuissl von Rein (1991 – 1997, since 1998; the scientific director is also full professor at the University of Marburg), Prof. Dr. Günther Dohmen (provisional director 1997)

Vice Director: Dr. Klaus Meisel (since 1988)



Intensified research; focus:

  • professionalization of staff in continuing education
  • competence assessment
  • inclusion by continuing education
  • change in organization and structural data on continuing education.

Development of statistics on providers as well as information and evaluation services for educational institutions. Data supported reports on continuing education, preparation of data concepts which are control relevant (educational monitoring). Programme support by the federal government and the federal states (Laender) for “Lifelong Learning”. Certification of informal learning (ProfilPASS), development of procedures for quality testing (LQW).

Extension of international network i.e. assistance in the development of institutions of continuing education in Rumania and China, as well as the coordination of a ASEM network for the Professionalization of Learners.

Relocation from Frankfurt am Main to Bonn (2002). Successful evaluation of institutional work by the Leibniz Association (2004).

The institute celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Organizational adjustment to current challenges (i.e. relocation) and the complex sphere of action through organizational development, budget management, business accounting, programme oriented research structures and a cybernetic organizational model.

Board of Directors:

Scientific Director: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ekkehard Nuissl von Rein (Director of Board)

Director (until 2005): Prof. Dr. Klaus Meisel (Board)

Director (since 2002), Business Director (since 2006): Hans-Joachim Schuldt (Board of Directors)


2011 Institute’s successful evaluation by Leibniz Association

2012 Prof. Dr. Josef Schrader appointed as Scientific Director

2013 Bettina Pröger appointed as Business Director

2014 Prof. Dr. Esther Winther appointed as Scientific Director

Letzte Änderung: 28/06/2017