Similarly to many other universities, VSB - Technical University of Ostrava offers a lifelong learning by means of the University of the Third Age. The first faculty which has organized the education of elderly students in this way was the Faculty of Mining and Geology.
The education started here in 1991 and soon became an inseparable part of the life-long education at the faculty. Whereas the initial number of participants was 18 back then, this year, which marked the 28th anniversary of the life-long learning, nearly 200 students have taken part in the education. The faculty offers seven study programs – six of them focus on environmental issues, one of them is devoted to anyone interested in IT.
All programs cover four semesters and comprise classes derived from the usual full-time study subjects in the faculty. The subjects are adapted to this particular form of study and the professors do their best to adapt the lecture to the target group of students. The lectures take place once a week in the lecture rooms of the Geological Pavilion which is part of the VSB-TUO campus. The advantage of the venue is that the professors can make use of the vast geological collections which are located in the pavilion. The study groups are comprised of no more than 40 participants. Smaller groups are ideal for the University of the Third Age. The participants can get to know each other better, they get in touch with each other and the relationships often turn into friendships. Thus, another goal of the elderly education is fulfilled, namely the social aspect.
The high quality of the education is provided thanks to very helpful tutors. For many of them, teaching at the University of the Third Age is a very interesting experience. Senior students who dutifully attend the lectures are often more curious than the usual students and they are very interested in the study field as well as in gaining new knowledge. Frequently, they are very experienced in the given fields which can be seen in the discussions.
One of the popular parts of the U3A at the FMT are specialized excursions which take place mostly at the end of the summer semester. The topics follow up with the contents of the study programs. Thanks to the visits to the manufacturing or laboratory sites, industrial monuments or places that are interesting for their mineral, deposit, engineering-geological or hydro-geological qualities, the students complete the theoretical knowledge they have acquired in the classrooms. The U3A offers several excursions to make sure every participant has the opportunity to take part in it while at the same time respecting the differences in their physical and health condition. Some of the students take one-day trips to the neighbourhood, others participate in two-day excursions to more distant locations in the Czech Republic or Slovakia. To accomplish the study responsibilities of an academic year, students must attend the classes regularly as well as pass the final test.
After finishing the two-year study, the participants acquire a final certificate. The final gala with the university and faculty representatives takes place in the auditorium of VSB - Technical University of Ostrava.
It seems that the elderly students are very satisfied with the education at the Faculty of Mining and Geology since they repeatedly come back again and apply for further study programs or ask for opening new study programs. The faculty is trying to meet the requested demand and constantly comes up with new programs and updates the existing ones.
The Faculty of Mining and Geology is not the only venue where the University of the Third Age takes place: the applicants may choose from study programs at other faculties as well – Faculty of Materials Science and Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Economics or Faculty of Safety Engineering. VSB-TUO makes it possible for a truly wide spectrum of students to take up further education thanks to the U3A.