On 28-31 October, OLDER project partners held their first study visit in Lithuania and Latvia.
The first day kicked-off with a visit to the headquarters of Medardas Čobotas Third Age University in Vilnius, which is also the coordinating partner of the OLDER project. Guests had a chance to attend an English language lecture, engage with elderly students and teachers, and get to know traditional Lithuanian crafts and national costumes, worn by representatives from handicrafts faculty.
Later on, a panel discussion with Judita Akromienė, Director at the National NGO Network for Education, and Gediminas Kuliešius, a member of the board at Senior Society “Bočiai,” ensued. Project partners had a chance to hear more about education of older adults and the role of NGOs within the Lithuanian education system.
The next day, study visit relocated to the north of Lithuania, where Third Age University of Panevėžys and representatives of the City Council, Municipal Education Department and Non-formal Adult Education Council warmly greeted the guests. Presentation and discussion about mechanisms for municipal support and volunteering at the Third Age University was held afterwards.
Project partners spent the rest of the day in Naujamiestis, where they met with members of a Third Age University, functioning as a programme of the Education Department of the Panevėžys District Municipality. Not only the partners had a chance to compare cases of older adult education in urban and rural contexts and different Third Age University models, but talked with and received first-hand insights from open-hearted and curious senior students.
The third day started in the Latvian capital Riga with welcoming remarks by the Latvian Adult Education Association. Project partners also met with representatives from different institutions and target organisations. During the two working days meetings with Latvian Employment Agency, Riga Stradinš University and members of active seniors alliance “Rasa” took place. An important part of the Latvian visit was a presentation and discussion on quality standards in adult and older adult education. Many reactions were also provoked by Dr. Iveta Cirule presentation on recently established Senior University in Latvia, based on a model of social business.
Since project partners were also interested in getting to know practical examples of older adult education in Latvia, a trip to Aizkraukle was also organized, where participants met with representatives from the Municipal Education Centre and a Senior Club, hosted by it. After an enlightening discussion on national, municipal and European input into development of older adult education in Latvian regions, seniors of Aizkraukle invited project partners for an immersive look at their daily activities, doing handicrafts, having a snack and simply enjoying good company.
The 4-day study visit allowed the partners to familiarize themselves with the best older adult education practices in the Baltics, as well as to identify some of the key challenges remaining.
The next study visit in Denmark is foreseen to take place on 9-13 March, 2020.
OLDER is a project, funded by the NordPlus Adult programme, aiming to to prepare a research study, comparing coordination and financing frameworks of older adult education in Baltic and Nordic countries and formulate country-tailored recommendations. In 2019-2020, it is implemented by a well-equipped consortium: Medardas Čobotas Third Age University (Lithuania), Latvian Adult Education Association, Interfolk, Institute for Civil Society (Denmark) and The Agricultural University of Iceland.
Contact details: Žilvinas Švedkauskas Lithuania (email@example.com), Sarmīte Pīlāte Latvia (Sarmite.Pilate@laea.lv), Hans Jørgen Vodsgaard Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gudrun Larusdottir Iceland (email@example.com).
Photos from the trip: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1e9AmtHzCWpyfot96ql-vaVdWlTOpkjLP