University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation
(Registered: Court of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County, No. 15.Pk.60.069/2010/2.)
Creation of the organisation, international antecedents, goals, activities and successes
Life Long Learning (LLL), adult education is one of the biggest social challenges of the XXI. Century for the counties and nations of the world. During the past decades LLL has become a social service in the countries of the European Union –„from cradle to grave” – for every age group. The third millennia requires cultured and educated people in accordance with the requisites of the job-market in all aspects of life – with the third age included.
The Hungarian Parliament has introduced several laws from the 1990s to help in the development of human resources management (education, vocational and higher). The law about adult education came into order in 2001 – to achieve life long learning for all age groups, with special attention to the labour-market’s needs „across generation” – third age included.
In the lives of seniors (aged 45-59), older and elderly (60-74, 75-89 and above – according to WHO classification) the paradigm shift, its acceptance and implementation of the XXI. Century means that instead of the previous deficit model (concentrating on losses) it is necessary to think about an advancement model (preservation of existing skills, revival of slumbering ones) regarding the care of the older and elderly population, institutionalised and common.. The most important field of this philosophy is „Life Long Learning” – providing activities, recreation and rehabilitation, extending the employment period and creating an old age which is productive and graceful.
International and national professionals alike differentiate between two meanings of geroeducation in studies. The first meaning is „we are learning from the elders” the other one as follows: „we are teaching the elders”. In Hungary the former is more pronounced, however we should learn from the elders in order to be able to teach them. In the international practice there are two adult education types: cultural and market-oriented. According to studies conducted by the EU the combination of the two types can be found in LLL. The cultural education of elders is practiced commonly in Hungary, but there were steps to develop market-oriented practice.
The foundation of the University of the Third Age Miskolc was preceded by the study of european experiences, positive and productive practices (between 2001-2009). The not-exhaustive overview of LLL in three european countries and Hungary:
Great-Britain: University of the Third Age (U3A) Headquarters in Bromley are especially for the age group of pensioners (1982) . The cultural and market-oriented geroeducation practices are prominent. In Great-Britain U3A is voluntary and first cost, in France however is financed by the state.
Germany: General Scientific Continuing Education was created by the University of Ulm in 1994. German professionals call the pensioner years a „late leave”. The main goals are to avoid the isolation and segregation of the elders and to counter the negative aspects of pensioning. Specialised educational care is present in the german practice too, considering personal and adult educational demands.
Finland: The U3A was founded in 1985 by support of the University of Jyvaskyla. An independent studies group was founded to help achieve its goals – named Life stages „From life experience to knowledge and learning”.
Hungary: There were no records of U3A in our home country until 2010 -aside from some adult educational forums and professional studies- as an independent organisation, legal entity. The South-Borsod Medical and Social Cluster – which main goal is the improvement of life regarding elders and the reinforcement of the paradigm shift- initiated and created the University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation (3. KEMA) – first in Hungary. 3. KEMA was registered under No. 15.Pk.60.069/2010./2.  by the BAZ Court.
The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation -as stated in its base philosophy for the target group- provides all those adult educational, professional and vocational services that are stated in the adult educational law without the help of the educational or school system. Local employment opportunities are taken into account.
In accordance with the foundations goal – it conducts educational courses within and outside of adult education – in all professional aspects of the field.
The organisation studies Life Long Learning, adult education, medical – social, crime prevention, employment, quality of life focusing in applicational approaches and themes. Elders participate voluntarily in the researches.
The foundation initiates and organises international professional visits, conferences, exchanges, and cultural/sports programs. (see: www.harmadikkoregyeteme.hu)
We support and reinforce the „Master and pupil” movement, presentations, exhibitions and knowledge transfer across generations.
The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation is unique because the courses and educational work are initiated by volunteers/activists, the elders are both the teachers and the students, the training of trainers, the system is flexible, competency based.
Unfortunately, the Life Long Learning is not present adequately in the everyday practices of the adult and elderly education. The age group specified educational, qualificational and training programs -its organisational, personal, methodical and financial sources- are missing (even if there are endeavours).
Challenges, future plans:
Challenges of the University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation (3. KEMA):
- Preparing the elders who were born and lived in the XX. Century to the technical issues, employment problems and social challenges of the XXI. Century during graceful aging.
- Viewing the demographical explosion of the XXI. Century as a natural obstacle, introducing and preserving the elders in and to the work market by instutializing age management (paying special attention to the particularities of the century).
- To help and ensure the personal and financial protection of elders and their homes by conducting ongoing and planned research activities. Providing opportunities of employment and activity in and outside of the family circle.
- Finding answers with the help of partners, such as universities, churches, civil organisations and the state for the elders -with the cooperation of generations- to develop practical methods for adult education regarding special, organisational and personal aspects.
- Finding answers by the Aging Research group, mapping the elders’ employment opportunities in enterprices, social and economical markets. (with the help of: National Alliance of Entrepreneurs, National Alliance of Craftsmen, Alliance of Merchants and Tradesmen, etc.)
- Introducing elders to the dual education programs in high schools and universities- conducting mentor activities.
- Building models of the aging process and the life plan of old age, creating the technical methods of the „senior human management” vocational training, helping to promote and advance its ideology.
- Conducting the education and training of the service personnel, medical and social human resources to answer the issues of the XXI. Century’s paradigm shift.
Main representatives of University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation (with photographs)
Dr. Dobos László
President of the Curatory
Secretary of the Curatory
Dr. Török Pál
Contact regarding business across borders:
Spark Foundation Miskolc
Logo of University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation (the organization)
Why has the organization joined the age management project? Future plans regarding the topic
„Elders are handy to have around” – according to an old Hungarian saying, which contains eternal truth, because they possess knowledge and experience, which implies that this intellectual treasure to be put to more effective uses.
There are only a few solutions in Hungary to solve the problems of the XXI. Century’s demographic explosion, and those in the field of age management are quite weak and inadequate.
2012 was Europe’s year of generational solidarity and active aging. The primary goal of the movement is to focus attention to the demographical trends and find solutions to its challenges. Especially to activities of the elders – across generations.
Nowadays people born in the Ratkó-era (1950 – adoptions were banned in Hungary) will reach pensionage (also the baby-boom generation). The demographical explosion also carries quality changes next to quantity. The number of educated pensioners rises. This means new challenges, issues and demands. But it also means the revision of the theoretical and practical policies regarding pensioners.
Keeping the elder workers on the market is presented as a dilemma in a social and economic level, in order to preserve and use the knowledge and experience of the elders.
The higher social and economic assets of the elders: „owing to the higher professional competence, implicit knowledge, promptness to cooperate, the developed relations and structural knowledge, moreover their positive responses to environmental changes help to surface (surfaced) the elders employment opportunities, those affects and researches regarding the individual, family, society and economy. In the second of the XXI. Century (taking into account the currently present and predicted demographical changes) the theoretical and practical questions of age management are pressing – which are present directly or indirectly in the beginning steps and research of the University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation since 2010.
The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation has joined the age management project – as in written above. The decision was made primarily because of the reinforcement of the foundation’s base philosophy and hypothesis in the participants of the V4 project, anticipating excellent partners and cooperation to help develop the common topic of age management, to share common practices and theories in order to spread the V4 in the countries of the EU.
Shortly about future plans -some of which are already in motion- continuously mapping the prospects of age management and employment of society, economy regarding elders in the job market’s differentiated perseverance. (more in supplementary material, research in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016).
Along the research activities – we created the following concrete plans about the present topic (and of course by taking our experiences into account):
- The training, vocal training for elders’ project’s contents and methodical development via the intellectual and professional help and support of the University of Miskolc Faculties of Medicine, Philosophy, Economy and Law. The gerontological and geriatric scientific cooperation will be provided by the Gerontology Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen.
- In order to further reinforce the age management ideas we made a cooperational agreement with the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Miskolc in 2012 to start an Aging Research Group by June 30. 2016. (note: two research surveys are already developed)
- The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation has prepared the U3A network activities since 2013 in and outside of the Carpathian-Basin. An agreement was made between the 3KEMA, Spark Foundation Miskolc and the University of Debrecen in October, 20. 2015 to develop the network of the University of the Third Age (see: harmadikkoregyeteme.hu).
- The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation with the partnership of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Miskolc helped the Spark Foundation to win a project given by the Ministry of Human Resources (Budapest) in 2015: „A spark to cooperation between young talents and elders”. The project elements included the creation of a database about the U3A in Europe, which was conducted by professional translators from the university. With the help of the database containing U3A information and the cooperation of the sixth International Gerontological Symposium of Miskolc during the project closing ceremony in May 30 2016 we announce the creation of the Universities of the Third Age Network in Miskolc, Hungary. The U3A network will provide opportunities to further enhance the age management project in a European scale.
Currently running age management tasks, our visions and activities about elders and the labor-supply
- Our plans, tasks mentioned in the previous section (1/f) forebode our answers to g.
- The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation -as we have noted before – would like to prepare its target group to regular activities, self-care and self-appliance by practicing the intellectualities and mentalities of Life Long Learning. In order to do this the foundation is constantly upgrading and enhancing its training, communications and self-improvement programs.
- Within the confines of LLL we would like to spread its influence and practices into the smallest of villages. We hope that EU projects will provide opportunities to develop our methods and trainings in foreign and Hungarian languages to elders in and outside of our borders.
- The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation founded in 2011. the Elders Touristic Centre (SZTC) with the help of EUROMiskolc Travel Agency because of the elders’ requests. For five years the SZTC provides travel opportunities to pensioners for reasonable prices (1000-1200 person/year). The agency uses trained guides to take care of pensioners.
Building upon the experiences with the agency the University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation developed TOURaging Miskolc cluster’s contents, organizational and personal bases in 2015. The creation of the cluster is in its preparational stage; it is estimated to begin operations in 2017. The training and employment of elders as guides, senior touristical advisors and attendances are prime principles with senior-friendly work environments.
The TOURaging Miskolc Cluster wishes to maintain a close cooperation with the project organizations of V4 and the members of the Carpathian U3A network.
- In order to make society and economy more sensitive towards age management we are planning to cooperate and to develop professional connections with the following organizations: (Statewide Alliance of Hungarian Enterpretours (MVOSZ), National Alliance of Manufacturing Industry Professionals (GYOSZ), National Alliance of Artisans (KIOSZ), Chamber of Industry and Trade (KIK)).
We would like to provide job opportunities to people near the pension age barrier in cooperation with the University of Miskolc. The development and practice of dual training forms would be the main achievement of this joined effort. We see multiple opportunities for cooperation with Bosch, Tataka Miskolc and Kandó Kálmán High School.
The senior hand-guide wishes to collect the knowledge, information,, advice and opportunities about quality, active aging – the art of aging- with the help of elders, and to publish it as a good and effective practice collection, It would include the most important laws and regulations (work rights, health care, social care, consumer protection, criminal law, financial and family laws), which could be applied to everyday life as an „Ageing codex”. The acquirement and interpretation of the hand-guide would be assisted by retired lawyers, judges and other peer elders.
- The International Gerontology Symposium Miskolc (planned June 2017. University of Miskolc). Topic suggestions: „The international experiences of age management, introduction of effective practices.” We would recommend the discussion of the details about symposium (if accepted by members; how many days, content of sections etc.).
- The University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation participates in the IT (information technology) education of elders since 2010. Our primary goal is to reduce the generation gap, to keep the elders in social life and to provide basic computational competences.
Miskolc City won 17 thousand notebooks on the Eu’s „Digital Miskolc Community” project, from which a thousand was given to the elders. The basic education to adequately use the tech was provided by the University of the Third Age Miskolc Foundation. For the first time in Hungary, the 50 hours of mandatory social student work was organized into courses in order to educate the elders in the use of computers during a 20-hour long training run. The cooperation of students and elders was exemplary.
Based on our experiences of the past five years and taking into account the increased number of higher educated elders in our community we would like to start computer technology courses for elders to adjust to the requirements of the XXI. Century.
 Elder Care National Strategy Parliamentary Decree (81/2009.(X. 2.)OGY)
 Hungarian Gerontology Survey 2010. 2. szám (Dr. Dobos L.: 2010 Tanulmány)
 Universities of the Third Age Great-Britain professional experienses (Dr. D. L. Study)
 Universities of the Third Age Germany professional experienses (Dr. D. L. 2009. Study)
 Hungarian Gerontoloy Survey 2010., No. 2. (Dr. Dobos L. Study)