This chapter describes how Italy has recognised the need for continuing educational opportunities for its ageing population with the creation of Universities of the Third Age (U3As), especially encouraged by precedents in France and England during the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. The term ‘university’ is used in the medieval sense, denoting member students engaged in the selfless pursuit of knowledge and truth as an end-in-itself. U3As constitute settings where older persons participate in cultural projects that augment both self-awareness and social responsibility. In Italy, there are five organisations which run recognised U3As: Unitre (250 branches), FederUni (250 branches), Uniauser (120 branches), Cnupi (40 branches), and Unieda (34 branches). Although all U3As share common objectives such as a lifelong learning ethos that considers some form of gerotranscendence as essential, there are also significant differences in structure and organisation between them; these vary according to the particular features of each U3A and the ways in which they are accessible at local level. The continuous ageing of Italian society throughout the current century (Italy is the second oldest country in the world) suggests that more older adults will join U3As in the near future, and thus, will require more varied continuing educational programmes, putting on more logistic and financial pressure on the U3As. The fact that U3As rely on their members’ voluntary work may actually be turning against the interests of this movement, as governments tend to take this global and national initiative for granted.

The University of the Third Age in Italy: A Dynamic, Flexible, and Accessible Learning Model

Baschiera, Barbara
2019

Abstract

This chapter describes how Italy has recognised the need for continuing educational opportunities for its ageing population with the creation of Universities of the Third Age (U3As), especially encouraged by precedents in France and England during the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. The term ‘university’ is used in the medieval sense, denoting member students engaged in the selfless pursuit of knowledge and truth as an end-in-itself. U3As constitute settings where older persons participate in cultural projects that augment both self-awareness and social responsibility. In Italy, there are five organisations which run recognised U3As: Unitre (250 branches), FederUni (250 branches), Uniauser (120 branches), Cnupi (40 branches), and Unieda (34 branches). Although all U3As share common objectives such as a lifelong learning ethos that considers some form of gerotranscendence as essential, there are also significant differences in structure and organisation between them; these vary according to the particular features of each U3A and the ways in which they are accessible at local level. The continuous ageing of Italian society throughout the current century (Italy is the second oldest country in the world) suggests that more older adults will join U3As in the near future, and thus, will require more varied continuing educational programmes, putting on more logistic and financial pressure on the U3As. The fact that U3As rely on their members’ voluntary work may actually be turning against the interests of this movement, as governments tend to take this global and national initiative for granted.
The University of the Third Age and Active Ageing
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/5003271
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