January 18, 2012

CZECH REPUBLIC: 22,000 attended third-age varsities in 2011

PRAGUE, Czech Republic / Prague Daily Monitor / January 18, 2012



Some 22,000 people studied at Czech universities of the third age in the 10.5 million Czech Republic last year, Petr Vavrin, chairman of the Association of Universities of the Third Age (AU3V), told CTK on the sidelines of a conference on active aging held in the Senate yesterday.
He said the people attended 912 courses that some 20 public universities and faculties offered them.
Vavrin said elderly people's interest in education is rising, yet they only constitute 1 percent of 2.4 million old-age pensioners.
He said third-age universities registered a total of 33,712 students in the past academic year 2010/11, but the real number is lower because some of them attended two and more branches.
Vavrin pointed to the need to spread seniors' education from large towns to the countryside.
He said some universities have workplaces in regions where third-age university courses could also be organised.
Another opportunity is e-learning that has already started to be applied at the universities of the third age.
"Politicians should realise that the seniors sitting in university benches cost the state less money than those who are sitting at the doctor's," Martin Solc, from the AU3V, said.
Experts say investment in elderly people's education benefits the state because it keeps them fit and encourages their activities.
Besides, they are capable of using Internet banking, mobile telephones, digital photo cameras, and other modern equipment.
The first universities of the third age were opened in the Czech Republic in the academic year 1986/87.
Copyright 2011 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). 
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