Foreign experience of the Universities of the Third Age

Abstract.

International practices of the University of the Third Age (U3A), which function as educational institutions, social, cultural and leisure centers to encourage older people to active life by engaging them in studying, sharing life experience, developing new abilities or improving present skills, communication and organization of leisure, etc., are presented in the article. The notion ‘the third age’ is interpreted as well; social advantages of the Universities of the Third Age for the society were defined, and their influence on the development of favorable conditions for the elderly’s life was determined. The main models of the University of the Third Age were specificated. They differ in ways their activities are arranged and purpose and types of the educational programs offered, forms and methods of training and education, participation of the third agers in their facilitation and functioning, relationship with traditional universities, etc. The authors determined the models of the University of the Third Age all over the world: French model, which is based on the concept of expediency of close relationship of the Universities of the Third Age with the established traditional universities; British model, which is the dominant concept of organization and functioning of the Universities of the Third Age by self-arrangement, self-financing, self-help and shared learning; Chinese model contains preservation and development of the society, cultural consolidation and philosophical reflection, and maintaining and development of natural harmony; French-speaking North American model follows close relationship with established universities, lectures by university professors, but the students facilitate daily management by themselves; and South American model that is close to the French one deals with a variety of educational programs and care for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable social groups and the elderly. 

Keywords: the University of the Third Age, the third age, models of the University of the Third Age (French, British, Chinese, French-speaking North American and South American), essence, forms and methods of the Universities of the Third Age