Lifelong Learn. 2022, 12, 33-55

Evaluation of the Studies at the University of the Third Age from the Perspectives of Its Members

Mária Zanovitová, Dominika Kalánková, Martina Lepiešová, Ivan Farský

Univerzita Komenského v Bratislave, Jesseniova lekárska fakulta v Martine, Ústav ošetrovateľstva, Malá Hora 5, 036 01 Martin, Slovensko

Received January 11, 2022
Accepted March 24, 2022

The issue of education for the elderly is one of the current topics and is closely related to the process of active ageing. Its urgency is underlined by the increasing proportion of the elderly in the population. The importance of senior education lies in understanding the tasks of old age, facilitating adaptation to a changed lifestyle, and maintaining physical and mental activity within an orientation in a modern, rapidly changing world. Universities of the third age (U3A) are one of the options to ensure quality education for seniors. The presented study aimed to find out how the U3A members evaluate their study at U3A in terms of their satisfaction with the content, goals, methods, lecturers and course of the study; and to identify differences in the evaluation of the U3A study based on the study programme, age and gender. Through a self-designed questionnaire, the study involved 95 students, the U3A members at the Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Martin (JFM CU), in the two study programmes, namely General Medicine and Senior Care. The bes t-evaluated area was the fulfilment of expectations during the study at U3A. Respondents consider the acquisition and deepening of new knowledge and new experience to be the most outstanding contribution of U3A education. Respondents significantly appreciated the readiness of lecturers and their pedagogical competence and skills. Respondents commented on the situational and institutional obstacles to studying at U3A; for most respondents, the obstacle was the accessibility of the educational institution and the distance to the public transport stop. Significant differences were found between the two study programmes in evaluating the length of lectures; the students of the General Medicine programme were more satisfied with the length of the lecture than the students of the Senior Care programme. Significant differences in terms of respondents‘ age were mainly related to accessibility and barriers in U3A education. In terms of gender, significant differences were noted in several areas; in contrast to men, women better rated the contribution of the UT3 study, the course and length of lectures, and studying at U3A met their expectations more than men. In the following period, based on the analysis and evaluation of the questionnaire, we would like to focus on strengthening the studies at U3A not only from the members’ perspective but also from the lecturers’. The results and findings presented can be a starting point for further research in the field of senior education at U3A.


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