Dr. Dusana Findeisen, Head of the Institute for Research and Development of Education Slovenian Third Age, Vice-President of DANET e.V.
Carmen Stadelhofer,Academic Director ret., President of ILEU e.V., President of the Association “Danube-Networkers for Europe (DANET) e.V.
Longer and healthier life, more informal and formal learning opportunties, social bonding, as well as advanced technology enable older people - and indeed all generations - to live fuller and more integrated lives.The level of (older) people’s integration reveals both, to what extent their life is connected with the life of others, and how well their village, town, region or countries are connected among themselves. The number and quality of learning structures and the quality of educational provision are fundamental for productive and innovative social interactions, whether along inter- or intra-generational lines.
Against the backdrop of major economic, social, financial, scientific, technological, demographic and other changes, no segment of population in Europe can be left behind as Europe increasingly depends on the contribution of its well informed and knowledgeable citizens. Older people -and indeed all generations- should continue developing competencies and capacity to change together with the changing world.
Social and educational inclusion of all citizens need good and stable infrastructures, well educated and trained educators and trainers, advanced equipment. Moreover, research, guidance and counseling are required to this end.
To empower older and younger citizens in the Danube Region, universities of all ages (UAA), third age universities, community centres, associations and other structures should provide for
- topic or individual and social problem orientated learning as well as acting possibilities in different fields (from health, cultural heritage, financial literacy, to digital future, etc. ),
- connecting older people with most up-to-date knowledge, taking into account their motivation (needs, wishes, aspirations) as well as the needs of their environment,
- training for taking over new social roles and tasks,
- maintaining older people’s employability,
- preparing citizens for voluntary work and active citizenship,
- fostering intergenerational learning,
- creating new knowledge and bonds together,
- diminishing digital divide,
- skills supporting the use of new technologies,
- knowledge about the past for the benefit of the future.
Moreover, the use of new technologies in health care enables and supports independent living in later life as well as prolonged mobility, interactivity, communication and taking the burden off the shoulders of the busy and overloaded generations in the middle.
General questions: How can capacity building and general (older) adult education as well as intergenerational learning be fostered for building prosperity in the Danube Region.