• Mariano Sánchez-Martínez
  • Juan Sáez
Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 22)


In Spain, long-standing adult and older adult education traditions in the country now co-exist with other more recent ones within a network of institutions in which older adult education – both formal and informal – has slowly gained ground until fully emerging and becoming consolidated in the Spanish educational scene. Nobody doubts that the education of older adults is a relative common phenomenon. However, it is argued that the existence of a specific older adult education based exclusively on age is not justifiable, because age alone cannot be the criterion that legitimises this type of education. A summarized account on how Spanish Adult Education Centres, Popular Universities, Mature Learning Centres, and University Programmes for Older Adults approach their particular educational endeavours for/with older adults is presented. Finally, and aiming at the promotion of research in an area in which there are many issues to be explored yet, the chapter puts forward some reflections on challenges in the field. In Spain, the need for older adults themselves to play a more active role in their educational process; the dismantling of prior categorization and labelling that announces how, where, when and why an older person should learn; and a stronger awareness of the huge diversity of voices, opinions, and perceptions behind older adults as an age group, are some of these current challenges. To date, the fact that older adults decide to seek education because of their own decision to learn has not been given enough value at the time of arranging educational initiatives specific for older adults in the country. Generally speaking, the education of older adults in Spain is somehow buried in a mimetic routine and lacks a truly innovative educational model yet.


Adult Education Cultural Knowledge Popular Education Basic Reading Skill Adult Education Centre 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Department of Sociology in the University of Granada supported translation into English of this chapter.


  1. Bru, C. (2007). Older adults university programmes in Spain: A socio-educational and political challenge in the context of lifelong learning. In V. Bissland & B. McKechnie (Eds.), Proceedings of the international conference on learning in later life (pp. 28–38). Glasgow: University of Strathclyde.Google Scholar
  2. Confederación Española de Aulas de Tercera Edad. (2008). Manifiesto de Santiago de Compostela [Manifesto for Santiago of Compostela]. Accessed 15 Nov 2013.
  3. España. (2006). Ley Orgánica de Educación [Spanish Organic Act on Education]. Accessed 18 Nov 2013.
  4. Federación Española de Universidades Populares. (2012). Las universidades populares. Bases conceptuales y marco general de programación 2012–2015 [Popular universities. Conceptual foundations and general programming framework 2012–2015]. Madrid: Federación Española de Universidades Populares.Google Scholar
  5. Instituto Nacional de Estadística. (n.d.). Estadística del Padrón Continuo a 1 de enero de 2013 [Continuous census statistics as of January 1, 2013]. Madrid: INE. Accessed 3 Oct 2014.
  6. Lenoir, R. (1993). Objeto sociológico y problema social [Sociological object and social problem]. In P. Champagne, R. Lenoir, D. Merllié, & L. Pinto, Iniciación a la práctica sociológica (pp. 57–102). Madrid: Siglo XXI.Google Scholar
  7. Ministry of Education. (2011). El aprendizaje permanente en España [Lifelong learning in Spain]. Madrid: Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Formación Profesional. Accessed 15 Nov 2013.
  8. Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. (2013). Las cifras de la educación en España.Curso 2010–2011 (Edición 2013) [Spanish education in figures. Academic year 2010–2011 (2013 edition)]. Madrid: MECD. Accessed 15 Nov 2013.
  9. Moreno, P. L. & Sebastián, A. (2010). Las universidades populares en España (1903–2010) [Popular universities in Spain (1903–2010)]. CEE Participación Educativa, Número Extraordinario, 165–179.Google Scholar
  10. Pérez, J. (2011). Demografía, envejecimiento y crisis.¿ Es sostenible el Estado de Bienestar? [Demography, ageing, and crisis. Is the welfare state sustainable?]. In Federación de Cajas de Ahorros Vasco-Navarras, El Estado de bienestar en la encrucijada:nuevos retos ante la crisis global (pp. 47–62). Accessed 15 Nov 2013.
  11. Rodríguez, A., Mayán, J. M., & Gutiérrez, M. C. (2010). Intervención pedagógica en gerontología [Pedagogical intervention in Gerontology]. In A. Cabedo (Coord.), La educación permanente:la Universidad y las personas mayores (pp. 231–262). Castellón: Universitat Jaime I.Google Scholar
  12. Sáez, J. (Coord.). (2003). Educación y aprendizaje en las personas mayores [Older adult education and learning]. Madrid: Dykinson.Google Scholar
  13. Sáez, J. (2005a). La intervención socioeducativa con personas mayores: Emergencia y desarrollo de la gerontagogía [Socioeducational intervention with older adults. Emergency and development of gerontagogy]. In M. da Graça & J. Veloso (Eds.), University programmes for senior citizens: From their relevance to requirements (pp. 19–83). Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto.Google Scholar
  14. Sáez, J. (2005b). Gerontagogía. Intervención socioeducativa con personas mayores [Gerontagogy. Socioeducational intervention with older adults]. In S. Pinazo & M. Sánchez (Eds.), Gerontología, actualización, innovación y propuestas (pp. 289–336). Madrid: Pearson Educación.Google Scholar
  15. Sáez, J. (2010). La educación de personas mayores:de la lógica disciplinar a la lógica profesional [Older adult eduation: From the disciplinary logic to the professional logic]. In A. Cabedo (Coord.), La educación permanente:la Universidad y las personas mayores (pp. 263–302). Castellón: Universitat Jaime I.Google Scholar
  16. Sánchez, M. (2005). Los programas universitarios para mayores en España.Algunas reflexiones para aprender de los errores ajenos [University programmes for older adults in Spain. Some reflections to learn from other people’s mistakes]. In M. da Graça & J. Veloso (Eds.), University programmes for senior citizens. From their relevance to requirements (pp. 1–18). Porto: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto.Google Scholar
  17. Sánchez, M. & Sáez, J. (2007). Bases pedagógicas de la educación de las personas mayores [Pedagogical foundations of older adult education]. In A. Escarbajal de Haro (Coord.), Educación y personas mayores (pp. 13–63). Murcia: Diego Marín.Google Scholar
  18. Velázquez, M. & Fernández, C. (1999). Aprendizaje universitario y personas mayores. El Aula de la Experiencia de la Universidad de Sevilla [University learning and older adults. The Aula de la Experiencia in the University of Seville]. Escuela Abierta, 3, 33–54.Google Scholar
  19. Vila, A. (2013). La formación: Un valor en expansión entre los mayores españoles [Training: An expanding asset for Spanish older adults]. Entre Mayores. Accessed 15 Nov 2013.
  20. Villar, F., Celdrán, M., Pinazo, S., & Triadó, C. (2010a). The Teacher’s perspective in older education: The experience of teaching in a university for older people in Spain. Educational Gerontology, 36(10–11), 951–967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Villar, F., Triadó, C., Pinazo, S., Celdrán, M., & Solé, C. (2010b). Reasons for older adult participation in university programs in Spain. Educational Gerontology, 36(3), 244–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Universidad Nacional de Aulas de Tercera Edad. (2013). UNATE. La Universidad Permanente. Memoria 2011–2012. (UNATE. The permanent university. Memory 2011–2012). Santander:UNATE.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Theory and History of EducationUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain

Personalised recommendations