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Catalogue of good practices from first edition of ASOS Programme
Universities of Third Age
Webpage information materials about projects performed as a framework of the Government Programme for Social Participation of Senior Citizens
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Catalogue of good practices from first edition of ASOS Programme Universities of Third Age Universities of Third Age
Universities of Third Age

Recently, the most famous way of education for the senior citizens in Poland are before-mentioned Universities of Third Age, which give the opportunity to self education, rising awareness abut current social environment and idea how to full free time. Their also give a possibility to intellectual, social and physical development, help senior citizens to contact with institutions, like: health service, community centers, rehabilitation resorts. However the most significant role of those Universities is the action to protect elder people before social exclusion, because contact with the other people is essential to keep mental health of seniors citizens in a good condition as well as for aware them of their own value.

The first University of Third Age was lunched in 1975 in Warsaw. The propagator of this idea in Poland was professor Halina Szwarc. The rapid growth of those Universities in Poland started in 2002 but the real boom on the market started in 2007 and since then it still have been going on.

The main causes of growth the number of Third Age Universities in Poland are the number of retired senior citizens in the country, governmental backup for this kind of actions and the new generation of senior citizens, whom, because of the fact of living for the most part of their life in the capitalistic environment, have different needs, expectations and lifestyle. Most Universities have been lunched in voivodeships like: Mazowieckie, Śląskie, Dolnośląskie, Wielkopolskie.

The Universities of Third Age in most of the examples take the following forms like:

  • independent non-government organization;
  • units of the other public or private university;
  • independent entities of other non-government organization;
  • entities which act in the structures of local government (houses of culture, social care resorts).

As a part of lifelong learning programme The Universities of Third Age offer a plenty of activities for senior citizens, such as:

  • workshops;
  • seminaries;
  • IT courses;
  • sport activities.

The Universities of Third Age caring out the function of cultural and educational centers for senior citizens. Thanks to them they can acquire the new skills and competences as well as actively participated in the social and local community. The status of retired person and the relevant age are the major requirements to gain a status of Third Age University student. Those organizations are based on many institutional models of activity. Firstly those are the Universities, which serve education of senior citizens and secondly they create a space to develop the passions and interests of senior citizens. Their activity is similar to local government institution, school, non-government organization or informal social company groups. Owning to the fact of connection of many ways and forms of running educational activity the Universities of Third Age are more flexible in fitting the educational offer to senior citizens needs. Those actions, especially in the time of aging population are extremely important.

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