What is U3A?
U3A is an international movement which provides low cost educational activities, in a relaxed environment, for people who are retired or semi-retired. The third age (3A) is said to commence after ‘active employment’, and is the time to pursue those ambitions and dreams for which there has been no previous opportunity, and to enlarge personal horizons.
U3A was founded in Toulouse (France) in 1972 based on academic programs run by the University. The concept was modified in Cambridge UK in the 1980s by Dr Peter Laslett, to harness the experience and skills of older people who ran the programs independently of academic involvement. U3A reached Australia in 1984.
In Australia and other countries, U3A has developed along the lines of a ‘community of students’ who seek learning for its own sake and for the satisfaction it gives. It offers retired people the chance to participate at an affordable outlay. Where possible, course leaders are from within U3A’s own membership.
There have been a number of research papers produced about U3A. Links to these reports are available on the U3A Online website.