Alicante, 15th of May 2007
Since the beginning of the Programmes for Adults, in the early 90s, it is possible to find fifty-three universities which have around 23,000 students over 50 years old enrolled in their specific teachings which are addressed to them. The Spanish University Programmes for Adults (PUPMs) are a social and educational phenomenon which has had specific features in our country, producing, this way, their initial development from the cooperation between universities and civil services.
Their evolution and management are being analysed and taken into account through National Meetings (9 altogether), research projects and, above all, through the official Constitution of the Association of National University Programmes for Adults (AEPUM), in February 2004). It has thirty-one universities in Spain (the 58% which offer university programmes for adults- PUPMs-).
The launching of the Organic Law of Universities reform has promoted a last effort to give reliable data which, from the systematic research of them, give key elements to tackle the institutional recognition and its regulation from the educative system of these teachings. As a result of this, we have the AEPUMA Project (Analysis and Evaluation of University Programmes for Adults), which is presented by the University of Alicante in the call for the National Plan Of Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation (2004-2007); Social, Economic and Legal Sciences (Ageing and Dependency) of the General Subdepartment of Planning, Regulation and Evaluation of the Secretary of State for Social Services, Family and Disability (IMSERSO).
Nineteen universities have taken part in this project, which is managed by the Permanent University of the UA, to carry out an analysis and an exhaustive evaluation of the Spanish learning programmes addressed to the elderly, which are taught under the name of University Studies for Adults.
With the final participation of thirty-one universities of the National Association of Programmes -in tasks such as giving data- and the surveys sent by a some foreign centres, with a previous approach done from the Spanish territorial, administrative and sociological reality, the objectives of the project have been:
All of this with the aim of determining the strong and weak points, the improvement lines of PUPMs and the legal proposals to develop, within the normative framework of the recently reformed LOU, for the competent socio-educative institutions to consolidate these PUPMs.
Once the project is completed, next Thursday 24th of May at the IMSERSO Central Services, a Scientific Symposium is taking place: “LONGLIFE LEARNING IN THE EUROPEAN STRATEGY”, Analysis and evaluation of the university teachings for adults in Spain and Europe. Its aim is to transfer the results of the research to those people who are responsible for education and professors, and also to the managers of both public and private entities so that they can adopt criteria and actions to consolidate, improve and regulate university teachings for adults.
Nowadays, people over fifty years old, those who these university studies are addressed to, are a third of the whole population of our country (33.1%) and, of course, this number exceeds the Spanish scholar and university population. The specific demand of this sector will, undoubtedly, increase in coming years. Although the role of the Universities and PUPMs is mainly educative, cultural and integrative; we consider that they have, in this moment, with the Law on Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent, two key elements which make even more relevant the role of the university education:
Promotion of Personal Autonomy: aspect which promotes lifelong learning by promoting an active citizenship and an active quality of life.
Prevention of dependency: 7,000,000 of Spanish people over 65 years old who are not dependents yet, require a prevention policy (educational policy of lifelong learning) to delay as much as possible their situation of dependency.
Specially, the educative policy is essential in a preventive system and it constitutes a palliative solution of the ageing symptoms, within the oldest country of all Europe. In this regard, AEPUMA project evidences that the lifelong learning perspective, from the point of view of the PUPMs, has no big relation with the proposals done by different national and international bodies and institutions, in which a practical and mercantilist point of view of the knowledge, more addressed to the formation of quality labour than to an educational project for citizens and personal fulfilment, prevail, according to the line followed by national and international bodies (ONU-II International Plan of Action on Ageing –MIPAA-; by the European Union, with the Recommendations and Reports of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union on lifelong learning in the European Strategy, which has a gerontological Plan and in which each of the Spanish Autonomous Regions have their own projects for the elderly).
The Universities, together with the PUPMs, have answered this demand and have opened their doors for adults in a more institutional way, with diverse specific programmes, which are not to be considered “exclusive” or competitive with the pre-existing ones, but additional. To conclude, a new area of integral learning addressed to adults has been opened. This type of learning has nothing in common with the “professionalization”, nor the “competitiveness” of the labour market, although we must never dismiss this possibility, according to the way that it works and the transformations that the labour market and the social context may suffer. The regulation of these specific teachings is an initiative which has already obtained results in other European countries, in those which have added these teachings to the educational legislation and, for that, we must tend to develop convergent actions in this regard.
In the light of the previous paragraphs, we consider that taking place in this Scientific Symposium may be interesting, so we cheer our professionals and people responsible for institutional issues to attend this symposium.
Jesús Pradells Nadal
Campus de San Vicente del Raspeig
Apdo. Correos 99 - 03080 - Alicante
Tel: +34 965 90 94 54Fax: +34 965 90 98 12