VHS Hannover (Volkshochschule Hannover), founded in 1919, is a non-profit adult education institution affiliated to the municipality of Hannover, capital of the province of Lower Saxony, Germany. With a salaried staff of 100 (about 75 FTE), plus about 800 freelance teachers, it offers a programme of 115 000 teaching hours per year, attended by 30 000 participants.
The main objective of VHS Hannover, laid down in its statutes, is to help citizens of Hannover (500 000 in the town itself, about 1.2 million in the wider metropolitan area) to actively participate in society and to develop their skills and personality.
The programme includes a wide range of subjects of general, vocational, social and cultural education. They are grouped into the areas of:
- Society, environment, education,
- Culture, creativity, design,
- Health, nutrition, well-being
- Foreign languages
- Basic skills, school-leaving certificates,
- Work, vocational training, career development, IT skills
- Integration and German language courses for immigrants
Courses are offered in VHS Hannoverâ€™s main building in the city centre, in a number of other dedicated locations in various other parts of the city, as well as in neighbourhood schools. Courses include daytime and evening courses, weekend courses and block seminars in accordance with the provincial regulations for â€śeducation holidaysâ€ť.
VHS Hannover also organises public events, exhibitions, panel discussions on topics of public interest etc. It cooperates with a large number of other public and civic organisations in fields such as culture, social inclusion, and popularisation of education.
One line of activity that distinguishes VHS Hannover from similar organisations is that is responsible for providing Second Chance basic and secondary education to school drop outs (young adults who left compulsory school age without having achieved any degree). There are about 10 classes for such learners on a continuing base, with 20 full-time teachers employed only for this. This activity is commissioned to VHS Hannover by the Hannover municipality.
VHS Hannover is financed through course fees and public subsidies (both from the municipal and the provincial budget). Fees are purposefully low in order to make education accessible for everybody.
VHS Hannover is a member of â€śDeutscher Volkshochschulverbandâ€ť, a national umbrella organisation of 900 â€śVolkshochschuleâ€ť type adult education centres. â€śVolkshochschulenâ€ť are regarded as Germanyâ€™s most visible non-profit providers of general adult education including continuing and vocational training, second-chance education, and all sorts of activities in the field of culture and health education. VHS Hannover is part of the administrative structure of Hannover municipality. Its learning offers are however independently designed, without interference from overall municipal administration.
Quality management certificates issued to VHS Hannover are ZAZAVplus (a quality management system specialized on adult education institutions), and for its vocational further education department also AZAV which entitles VHS Hannover to provide vocational further education by order of the National Employment Agency.