Tertiary Higher Education for People in Mid-life (THEMP)
What is the meaning of university education for lifelong learning? In a knowledge economy people are continuously expected to keep up and develop their knowledge and skills. This helps to prevent that people in midlife drop out from employment or that their careers come to a deadlock. That is also a social loss.
Universities in the Netherlands (except the Open University) seem, however, next to research, to focus on initial education for younger students. It may be questioned if this does not imply a loss of opportunities to support people in their course of life and their professional development. Many professional practices now require a scientific way of reflection and action. So why could universities not develop programs and activities that advance these practices. And how could these programs and activities best be designed?
PLATO participates in a European study that focuses on such questions. The project is called “Tertiary Higher Education for People in Mid-life” (THEMP) and will run till the end of 2012. In a number of European countries the state of affairs regarding such programs and activities is investigated. In each country a number of cases will be further explored. The project also involves workshops aiming at the exchange of knowledge and experience. The ultimate purpose of the project is to reveal the various opportunities for this type of university programs and activities.