University of the Third Age, an International movement launched at MGU

The University of the Third Age (U3A), a programme that seeks to guide those aged above 55 years into a happy third phase of their life, began at the Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU), Kottayam, on March 11.


University Vice-Chancellor Sabu Thomas inaugurated the programme at a function at The Assembly hall. International Association of Universities of the Third Age president Francia Velas attended as a special guest via online.


Around 300 people from different walks of life participated in the event. The U3A is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community. It provides a platform for people over 55 to come together, have fun, and stay active. They will also get an opportunity to share their knowledge, experience and skills for the benefit of society and acquire new knowledge.


The movement, which started in France at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Toulouse in 1973, is now active in over 20 countries. It is for the first time that U3A is being conducted in a university in India. U3A will function as an extension programme of MG University, which will establish a special mechanism called Secretariat for coordinating its activities.


The project seeks to utilise the services of members of the U3A community as resource persons in various activities of the varsity.


The programme also envisages various activities to ensure the physical and mental health of the elderly, their lifestyle modification, and formulation of welfare schemes. “The U3A will help build confidence among members and make effective communication between generations,” Prof. Thomas said.