In a bid to engage the senior citizens and make them more productive, The University of Third Age Nigeria (U3A), an online non-conventional university, was on Saturday evening launched in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that U3A Nigeria was chartered by the Association of International Universities of the Third Age (AIUTA) in France.
NAN reports that the first university of U3A was established in 1973 in France with the cooperation of International Labour Organisation (ILO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNESCO.
It has since been established in more than 75 countries across the six continents of the world.
In his remarks at the launching,
Mr Babajide Afolabi, the U3A Coordinator for U.S and Canada, called for collaborations from the government and private sector.
Afolabi said: “We are looking forward to a very successful entrepreneurship or partnership with various arm of the private sector.
“This is to help push the programme in the form of humanity support for elders to enjoy their prime years.”
He said that establishment of the online academy was to enable the senior citizens to have easy access to further learning through their mobile phones and Internet.
“The platform is designed for easy use. It is designed so that our seniors will have access with their mobile phones and Internet.
“The beauty of this platform is the simplicity of usage. Even, on it, you can form community of like-minds to interact and share ideas.
“It gives us and government the opportunity to have a very decent community where our elders are not forgotten,” he said.
Afolabi said that interested Nigerians of any age could register with U3A online to learn from over 300 courses with just N5,000 membership fee per annum.
Also, the U3A President Nigeria, Dr Charles Afolabi, said that the institution being a non-conventional university, has its spread in over 75 countries, adding by 2023, it would mark its 50th anniversary in Nigeria.
Afolabi said that the money invested in the university was sourced from individuals within the organisation.
“There is no job for life. It is either the job leaves you or you leave the job; so, we continue to learn forever. Nigeria has a reservoir of elders with brains and vocations.
“We want them to pass these to our youths for better engagement and we want to help UN to reduce poverty level comes 2030,” he said.
Commenting, Arvind Betala, the Edusity Co-Founder, said that one of the fundamental principles of U3A was the need to remove the boundaries.
“One of the fundamental principles of U3A is that we need to remove the boundaries.
“The boundaries can be estimated that they have to go to school, there is a boundary of communication,” Betala said.
Prof. Francois Vellas, the U3A President worldwide, who joined the session through a virtual platform, recounted how the university was brought to Nigeria.
Vellas said the development of U3A with the support of AIUTA was important for senior citizens to be proud of longline learning anywhere.
In his remarks, Mr Ademola Babalola, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council, urged Nigerians to support the institution, being a first full online university to be established in Nigeria, through U3A.

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From Left: Mr Babajide Afolabi, U3A International Coordinator; Mr Ademola Babalola, Oyo State NUJ Chairman; Dr Charles Afolabi, U3A President Nigeria and Mr Arvind Betala, Edusity Co-Founder, at the official launching of the online University of the Third Age (U3A) on Saturday evening in Lagos.

Babalola said: “I implore Nigerians to embrace this new reality in the area of learning and research innovation.
“The good thing about it is that it has no age barrier.
“This is a non-conventional university sponsored by some kind-hearted people across the globe.
“I want to urge the Federal Government to key into this project since they are making efforts toward digital literacy.”
Commenting, Mr Tunji Ajibade, the General Manager, Soul FM, Ibadan, said the meeting thought him that it was good to take care of the senior citizens and the need for them to relate with others.
“You can’t just say because you are old, you are tired. It is when you relate with others that you will be able to learn new things from them and be able to do other things for yourself,” Ajibade said.
Among the guest lecturers at the workshop proceeding the launching were Mrs Bolatito Joseph, the Zonal Director, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria(FRCN), Ibadan; Mr Kayode Odedokun, the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Oyo State and Dr (Mrs) Abimbola Afolabi, from the University of Ibadan.
The event was also attended by the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun, represented by a Senior Chief Ademola Odunade, the Ayingun Olubadan of Ibadanland, among others.
NAN reports that U3A also have a Nigeria Television, which offers contents designed for the elderly in the areas of health, education, sports, religion, entertainment and news.

Sun News Online team

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(NAN) In a bid to engage the senior citizens and make them more productive, The University of…

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