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Illiteracy in Germany

According to official figures, the number of functionally illiterate adults in Germany is around 7.5 million. But as Andreas Brinkmann from the German Federal Literacy Agency (Bundesverband Alphabetisierung und Grundbildung e.V.) explains, ”this is actually a very conservative estimate.” Brinkmann was at the Hotel Concorde Berlin last week to give a talk on this taboo subject to the staff, since the hotel is a long-standing partner of the agency. Read on to find out what else we learned.

Presentation at Hotel Concorde Berlin on illiteracy in Germany

Staff at Hotel Concorde Berlin learning about illiteracy in Germany

  • illiteracy is not black and white, and affects people to varying degrees. The figure above – 7.5 million functionally illiterate adults – is based on the number of people in Germany who do not have sufficient reading and writing skills for ordinary practical needs. Some can recognise letters, but cannot read. Some can understand simple sentences, but cannot write. In addition to this figure there are still many more people who struggle, but are not officially classed as illiterate, and those aged 65 and over were not included in the study.
  • For a long time, politicians and authorities insisted that the German school system was not to blame, and that adults affected by illiteracy had simply “unlearned” the skills they had been taught at school. We now know that this was not the case for most people affected by illiteracy; most were able to hide their problems, and passed through the school system without mastering these basic skills. It is hoped that in the future, more will be done to tackle the problem earlier.
  • Another false assumption is that most people affected by illiteracy are unemployed, although this is not the case. Many fear, however, that their secret will be discovered by their employers, and they are less able to accept promotions.
  • More and more jobs nowadays rely on employees using computers and technology.
  • The work of the German Federal Literacy Agency is financed through donations and membership contributions.
  • The General Manager at Hotel Concorde Berlin, Carsten Colmorgen, who has been an ambassador for the agency since 2007, has this to say: ”As a new generation luxury hotel, we have a high level of social responsibility. Supporting the incredibly important work of the German Federal Literacy Agency is the best way to get involved and make a difference.”

The whole team at Hotel Concorde Berlin would like to thank the German Federal Literacy Agency for their informative presentation!


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