Evaluation of Third Age Learning

By: Maureen Tam  

Facing the challenges of a fast-growing ageing population – amidst the worldwide trends of declining birth rates and longer lifespans – the Hong Kong government has for two decades developed and implemented policies and plans for senior adults in Hong Kong to engage in third age learning, both formally and informally. This paper first argues for a critical need to evaluate the efficacy, adequacy, and value of the policy and provision of third age learning in Hong Kong. It then discusses the choice between the functionalist approach and the critical educational gerontology (CEG) approach for a critical evaluation of the content and purpose of education for older adults. CEG is conceived to be more comprehensive and robust than the functionalist approach that focuses primarily on learning for self-fulfillment and adjustment to older age. More broadly though, CEG views third age learning from a socio-political perspective and takes into account the empowering and liberating nature of learning for and by senior adults.

Evaluation, Third Age Learning, Policy, Practice, Hong Kong
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Maureen Tam

Professor, Department of International Education, The Education University of Hong Kong