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U3A Proved Successful in Keeping Retirees Active

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U3A Proved Successful in Keeping Retirees Active

27 Mar 2012

The findings of a recently conducted social impact assessment show that the U3A (University of 3rd Age) Network of Hong Kong is enabling more than 90 per cent of its retiree students to stay socially and mentally active as well as increasing their confidence and self-esteem.

The U3A project, co-organised by HK Electric and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) since 2006, aims at encouraging local retirees to pursue lifelong learning and to volunteer for community services.

The assessment invited about 250 U3A committee members, teachers and their family members to answer questionnaires and attend focus groups. The survey showed that U3A has enabled participants to be actively engaged in society and to maintain regular contact with people, thereby increasing retirees' sense of achievement and fulfillment. 

The assessment also found that the U3A model -- unlike other traditional learning programmes for the elderly -- encourages participants to learn, teach and operate their own learning centres, rather than relying on social workers to organise courses or provide services.

This creative model has increased the confidence and self-esteem of retirees and provided the opportunities for them to continue contributing to society by using their experiences and skills. As a result, respondents agreed that their teaching and organisational skills have been enriched after joining U3A.

Speaking at today's "Completion Ceremony for U3A 2011-2012", Managing Director of HK Electric, Mr. Tso Kai-sum, said he was most pleased with the findings of the assessment. "It is most encouraging that the project has addressed the needs of both local retirees and of society at large," he added. 

The Chairman of Elderly Commission, Professor Alfred Chan , who was an officiating guest, said he was happy to see that U3A shares similar objectives with the "Elder Academy", which was co-organised by the Commission and the Labour and Welfare Bureau. He hoped that the two could work together to enrich the lives of Hong Kong retirees by providing them with social and learning platforms.

At this year's ceremony, an award scheme was introduced to recognise outstanding students, teachers and centres. Chief Executive of HKCSS, Ms. Christine Fang, hoped they would set good role models and attract more retirees to join U3A. She also said that a forum would be arranged later this year to invite awardees to share their success stories.

Attending today's function were about 600 students from 46 U3A centres under 17 elderly service agencies. These centres organised close to 600 classes, providing more than 8,000 learning opportunities for local retirees last year. 

The U3A project is sponsored by the HK Electric Centenary Trust and co-ordinated by HKCSS. Elderly service agencies receive funding to run self-learning centres that provide courses conducted by the elderly for the elderly. Since its inception, more than 2,000 such courses have been arranged, providing nearly 32,000 learning opportunities for retirees.

For more details on U3A, visit www.u3a.org.hk, or contact HKCSS at 2876 2446. 

Ms. Christine Fang (left) and Mr. Yuen Sui-see (right), Director of Operations of HK Electric, present the “Outstanding Student” award to Tse Yow-fong (centre) of Hong Kong Caritas Sha Tin Elderly Centre.

Ms. Christine Fang (left) and Mr. Yuen Sui-see (right), Director of Operations of HK Electric, present the "Outstanding Student" award to Tse Yow-fong (centre) of Hong Kong Caritas Sha Tin Elderly Centre.

Professor Alfred Chan and Mr. Wan Chi-tin, Director of Engineering (Planning & Development) of HK Electric, present the “Outstanding Teacher” awards to U3A teachers. (Second from right) Champion: Yip Pang Wai of Hong Kong Caritas District Elderly Centre – Yuen Long; 1st Runner-up: Sy Ching-tam of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Wilson T.S. Wang District Elderly Community Centre; 2nd Runner-up: Ku Tak-kuen, representative of Law King-yee of Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong Social Service Company Limited Fuk Hong Social Centre for the Elderly.

Professor Alfred Chan and Mr. Wan Chi-tin, Director of Engineering (Planning & Development) of HK Electric, present the "Outstanding Teacher" awards to U3A teachers. (Second from right) Champion: Yip Pang Wai of Hong Kong Caritas District Elderly Centre – Yuen Long; 1st Runner-up: Sy Ching-tam of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Wilson T.S. Wang District Elderly Community Centre; 2nd Runner-up: Ku Tak-kuen, representative of Law King-yee of Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong Social Service Company Limited Fuk Hong Social Centre for the Elderly.

Mr. Tso Kai-sum presents the “Outstanding U3A Centre” awards to Champion: Hong Kong Caritas District Elderly Centre-Yuen Long; 1st Runner-up: Cybersenior Network Development Association; 2nd Runner-up: Christian and Missionary Alliance Church Union Hong Kong Ltd .

Mr. Tso Kai-sum presents the "Outstanding U3A Centre" awards to Champion: Hong Kong Caritas District Elderly Centre-Yuen Long; 1st Runner-up: Cybersenior Network Development Association; 2nd Runner-up: Christian and Missionary Alliance Church Union Hong Kong Ltd .

Performers from Christian and Missionary Alliance Church Union Hong Kong Ltd. come first in the “Outstanding Performance” award.

Performers from Christian and Missionary Alliance Church Union Hong Kong Ltd. come first in the "Outstanding Performance" award.

Students from Cybersenior Network Development Association take home the second prize with their energetic guitar dance.

Students from Cybersenior Network Development Association take home the second prize with their energetic guitar dance.

Performers from Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Chuk Yuen Canon Martin District Elderly Community Centre are crowned third in the “Outstanding Performance” award.

Performers from Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Chuk Yuen Canon Martin District Elderly Community Centre are crowned third in the "Outstanding Performance" award.

Performers from Hong Kong Caritas District Elderly Centre –Yuen Long wins merit of recognition with their Tai Chi Fan Dance.

Performers from Hong Kong Caritas District Elderly Centre – Yuen Long wins merit of recognition with their Tai Chi Fan Dance.

U3A students and guests wave their certificates to celebrate the completion of a year of fruitful learning in U3A.

U3A students and guests wave their certificates to celebrate the completion of a year of fruitful learning in U3A.

A group photo of guests and all performing groups.

A group photo of guests and all performing groups.