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Franz Pöggeler, PhD

Franz Pöggeler, PhD

Hall of Fame Class of 2006 - European

Franz Pöggeler, PhD, has been a distinguished pioneer of adult and continuing education both in Germany and in Europe since after the Second World War. He is one of the founders of andragogy/adult education as a scholarly discipline in Europe, and he engaged in the study of adult education as early as 1945. 

From 1962 to 1992 he was chair of pedagogic at Aachen University in Germany. In 1953, at age 26, he founded the first research institute for adult education, the Institute of Adult Pedagogics, in Münster, Germany. 

He has a rich publication record, including more than 60 books and numerous articles. His books and essays, dealing with the basic questions of adult education, are published in 17 languages and have had a massive influence on theory, practice and political and administrative decisions.

In 1954 he started the monthly periodical Erwachsenenbildung (Adult Education) and served 10 years as its chief editor. Book titles such as Introduction in Andragogy, Anthropology of the Adults, Methods of Adult Education, Adult Education and Legislation and New Buildings of Adult Education document his range of contributions to andragogical knowledge. Additionally, he served as editor of Handbook of Adult Education and is chief-editor of Studies in Pedagogy, Andragogy, and Gerontagogy. 

The Pöggeler-Handbook, edited between 1974 and 1984 in cooperation with 128 authors of 27 countries, represents an incredible achievement in scholarly adult education. This handbook even today is a source of knowledge. Pöggeler not only built a body of knowledge with this handbook, he also brought together scholars of countries around the world. 

Pöggeler also initiated the “Standing Conference on the History of Adult Education,” known also as “The Pöggeler Conference.” Through his iniative, researchers from across Europe meet every two years, with Bamberg, Germany in 2006 being the 11th conference in this series. 

As an academic teacher, he developed a system of training students as adult education professionals. In cooperation with EU and the universities of Aachen, Barcelona, Montpellier, Leuven, Surrey and Nimwegen, Pöggeler initialized a first European study course for international adult education with students and professors from the mentioned universities.

Pöggeler served as an advisor in the ministries of education in Germany and in other Europoean and non-European countries for over several decades, and he has received honors for outstanding achievements in adult education from German and foreign institutions.

Before the end of communism in Eastern Europe, he cultivated contact with democratic colleagues behind the “Iron Curtain.” His influential role at ministries and foundations enabled meetings between East and West Europe, building a scientific community of andragogs without borders. Similarly, he supported the dissertations of foreign students from Korea, Yugoslavia and other countries, thus seeding a next generation of andragogs in several countries.

Pöggeler is a passionate collector of pictures, artifacts and documents related to education. He has donated more than 23,000 of his collected schoolbooks and children’s books to a museum of school history.