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Schermafdruk 2018 12 02 17.11.52Several times a year, groups of silver-haired Chinese people camp out overnight. They do so in order to get prime spots to register for places at the country’s universities for the elderly. Since 1983, when China’s first such school opened, 70,000 more have cropped up across the country. They offer courses in pursuits like dancing, online shopping or English for would-be-travellers, as well as in more traditional academic disciplines. Last year these universities enrolled a combined 8m students—just over 3% of China’s cohort of over-60s. At the Shanghai University for the Elderly, the average age of students is 65-70

The idea of a university for the elderly is not new. The University of the Third Age movement, named for the final third of life, began in France in 1973. It then spread across Europe and became especially popular in Britain. China’s first elderly universities were aimed at veteran Communist Party cadres. Today some of the schools are reserved for retired civil servants, but others are open to all. Most are government-funded; the average cost of fees is 200 yuan . . . . read more in The Economist

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