The Universitat per a Majors (in English, Senior Citizens' University) is a range of studies created by Jaume I University for those people who are older than 55 and are willing to continue their studies and widen their general knowledge. By means of this university programme, the University wants to contribute to the improvement of the human abilities in the field of adults not only by giving them academic training but also by enabling their integration and their social development. That is why they are provided with reflection and freedom spaces which make possible the exchange of knowledge and experiences.
In our society, characterised by its dynamism and its capacity for changing continuously, education and learning during life are necessary if you want to understand what is happening nowadays. They have become a chance to participate in a responsible way in the historical and social context we are living in. The university education for adults does not aim to train students to become professionals. The main goal is to encourage the personal development of the students and contribute to the cultural development of our society. In the Universitat per a Majors two important branches can be distinguished: teaching and research. The quality of our teachers is the base for programming the studies of "University Senior Graduate". Research is promoted and developed by means of projects, publications, conferences and university exchanges, at national and international level.
The University, as an institution based on the generation and transmission of knowledge, fosters the development of science and makes a key contribution to the social progress and cultural development of persons and peoples. Universities should be viewed as a strong intellectual space for reflection on the reality of our time so that we can understand it better and shape it in accordance with human dignity. All citizens, having equal opportunities, should have access to the courses taught at universities and, provided they meet the required conditions, to higher education. Formerly, however, access to university life was very restricted and was virtually inaccessible to the elderly. Universitat Jaume I has been sensitive to the reality of our time since it was established not so long ago. So it opened its doors to elderly people by setting up the academic programme called ‘Universitat per a Majors' (literally, University for Seniors) in 1998. This programme includes specific courses taught to students over 55. Its direct purpose is not to offer retraining or career reorientation to senior students, but to contribute to the improvement of their human capacities both in terms of their education and their integration and participation in social development. In our society, so dynamic and subject to changes, education and lifelong learning have also become a necessary condition for the elderly to understand present events, as well as an excellent stimulus to participate responsibly in the social and historical context in which we live.
Our age is witnessing a substantial increase in human life expectancy, a social fact that has been rightly regarded as the great revolution of our days. To analyse the effects of an ageing population more precisely, it is useful to consult the statistics found in the population census of advanced societies, as is the case of Spain. For example, in the past hundred years the total population of Spain has doubled, but the elderly population has multiplied by seven. In absolute terms, Spain is ranked among the first positions in the European Union as regards population ageing. Old age, however, is much more than a demographic and statistical fact - it is the conclusion and extension of a life process with important economic, social and cultural implications. At present, the elderly not only live more, but age with a better quality of life, and have strong training needs to exercise their social responsibility with dignity. It is very interesting to discover the senior citizens' social potential as a sound basis for the future development of our society. The full integration of older people into our culture, their social commitment and the enhancement of intergenerational relationships within and outside the University are the main purposes of the courses taught in our Senior Citizens' University educational programme.