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The University of the Third Age (UTW) affiliated with the University of Wrocław is the second higher school of this sort in Poland, after Warsaw, and one of the first of its kind in the world.

It was established in 1976 (the similar institution in France had only been founded three years before). During the first three years – still as the Third Age Centre – it was located at Mazowiecka Street. Its organiser and scientific tutor was Czesław Kempisty, and head – Karol Węgier. At the end of the 70s the headquarters moved to Stawowa street, to the Medical Vocational Centre, and in the hands of the new head, mgr Alina Woźnicka, the Centre was transformed into the University. Another breakthrough year was 1997, when UTW – under the tutelage of dr Walentyna Wnuk – became permanently affiliated with the Institute of Pedagogical Sciences at Dawida street (two years later it got incorporated into UWr structure). The number of participants at that time was already twice as high as in the 70’s.

Today the dynamic UTW under the supervision of dr Małgorzata Malec-Rawińska is one of the most important centres of senior education and activisation. Classes conducted by this unit allow its senior students to supplement and update their knowledge with particular attention to their needs (a large part of the multidisciplinary lectures is devoted to medicine, but the range of the topics covered is very wide and includes also philosophy, physics, religion studies, art, psychology or classical studies). Seminars develop knowledge of andragogy, sociology, and methodology of scientific research, and workshops provide opoortunities to learn journalism, mnemonics, painting, drama or digital literacy. UTW students can also study foreign languages and deepen their interests in more than ten groups.

Photography: Brian Tomlinson/Flickr/CC BY 2.0