Age-friendly university, or a university for all ages - this title applies now even to Masaryk University! Together with more than seventy other universities worldwide, MU is committed to developing and supporting the 10 principles of the age-friendly university and thus becoming a member of the vibrant community of the Age-friendly University Global Network. The network is managed by Dublin City University (Ireland), the University of Strathclyde (Scotland), and Arizona State University (USA).
AFU, Age-Friendly University, is not just a university for older adults. Although the activities under the University of the Third Age belong to its portfolio, the scope of monitored and supported activities is much broader. The ‘10 principles’ concern education, research, personnel policy, and the social relevance of universities.
10 Principles for an Age-Friendly University:
- To encourage the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programmes.
- To promote personal and career development in the second half of life and to support those who wish to pursue "second careers".
- To recognise the range of educational needs of older adults (from those who were early school-leavers through to those who wish to pursue Master's or PhD qualifications).
- To promote intergenerational learning to facilitate the reciprocal sharing of expertise between learners of all ages.
- To widen access to online educational opportunities for older adults to ensure a diversity of routes to participation.
- To ensure that the university's research agenda is informed by the needs of an ageing society and to promote public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults.
- To increase the understanding of students of the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that ageing brings to our society.
- To enhance access for older adults to the university's range of health and wellness programmes and its arts and cultural activities.
- To engage actively with the university's own retired community.
- To ensure regular dialogue with organisations representing the interests of the ageing population.
Activities at Masaryk University
AFU activities at MU are jointly coordinated by the Office for Development, University of the Third Age (U3V), and the working group of the Department of Sociology, the Centre for Research on Ageing (CERA). The aim is to build an interdisciplinary and intersectoral cooperation amongst the university and its faculties and local actors, the public and business spheres, and people living in Brno and the South Moravian Region.
Do you have tips on activities and opportunities for AFU development? Do you want to carry AFU principles further to the university? Write to: email@example.com
Examples of Inspirational Practices at ‘Age-friendly MUNI’
Pedagogical Competence Development Centre (CERPEC) offers education in pedagogical competencies without age restrictions. At the same time, CERPEC develops courses that explicitly address the age-diversity ‘class’ and teaching practices for people of different age groups. (Course: Výuka zohledňující věkovou rozdílnost studentů)
Masaryk University, in cooperation with vaccination centres and regional coordinators, has arranged vaccinations for its senior academics, current and former employees, including professors emeritus, while adhering to the state priority age criterion. More information here.
The Department of Educational Sciences at the Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, participates in the project Strategy of Age Management in the Czech Republic. It maps the position of older adults in the labour market in Finland and the Czech Republic. FF MU has been cooperating on developing the principles of age management alongside the non-profit sector on a long-term basis. More information here.
On the basis of consultations at firstname.lastname@example.org, CEITEC is considering the possibility of conducting an age audit as a part for the preparation of the gender audit. This also includes seeking support for employees at various stages of life and work cycle. The specific structure of scientific teams further highlights the issues of intergenerational skills sharing.
The topic of ageing intertwines as a ‘red thread’ through many scientific projects in basic and applied science addressed at MU. These projects are held at a number of workplaces and in their mutual interdisciplinary cooperation. Some arise ‘from below’ due to the recognition of needs and opportunities within their fields, while others are established as a response to the MU Strategic Plan.
‘Czech society must respond to both the socio-health challenges and the economic issues that come with an ageing population, for example, concerning the pension system’, said MU rector Martin Bareš about the need for interdisciplinary cooperation among experts in the natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. Experts from MUNI will therefore discuss, for example, the possibilities of using information technologies for medical purposes and the overall electronic processes in health care and other areas. They will also be involved in shaping public policies on the sustainability of health, social, and pension systems.
Selected projects from the field of social sciences are presented by the portal of the Centre for Research on Ageing.
Principles 1 & 6 & 7 & 8 & 10: University of the Third Age MUNI and Portal ‘Move with FSpS’ for Older Adults (online)
Traditionally, a number of older adults are involved in MU activities through the University of the Third Age. Its lectures were available online to students even during the time of COVID-19. Popular courses include online exercises aimed at older adults. The courses are prepared by the Faculty of Sports Studies on the ’Move with FSpS’ portal.