Learning a big focus at 50plus EXPO
C3A announced two learning initiatives that were piloted last year and have since taken off.
Learning opportunities is a big focus at this year’s 50plus Expo, which is being organised by the Council for Third Age (C3A). The show continues till this Sunday. The Council shared during the Opening Ceremony of 50plus EXPO 2015, two learning initiatives that were successfully piloted by them in early 2014 and have since taken off.
One is the Discovery Quest where seniors learn new skills in class in institutions such as ITEs and polytechnics. The other is called Sandbox, a peer learning initiative where a senior volunteer helps seniors to learn a skill or craft they are good at such as arts and craft, painting, singing and IT skills.
During the pilot phase, C3A’s senior volunteers conducted more than 12 courses. And in the Discovery Quest, seniors got to take a workshop on personal finance management at Temasek Polytechnic, coffee appreciation at ITE College West, and basic painting at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA).
What’s to come
Since the introduction of these two initiatives, more than 30 courses involving 263 participants under Discovery Quest and over 12 Sandbox courses with 109 learners have been conducted. Following the pilot projects, more educational institutions and other organisations have come on-board.
In the Discovery Quest courses, which are lined up till end of this year, seniors will get to study side-by-side with younger students. The courses include Internet and social networking by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, healthy diet and healthy ageing by Republic Polytechnic, and Japanese dollhouse miniature by Singapore Polytechnic.
For those looking for non-hobby courses, there will be understanding the 19th century novel, understanding Shakespeare: Plays and sonnets, understanding poems and plays, and cross cultural intelligence – all to be conducted by SIM University (UniSim). There will also be a dozen computer and IT courses, and a spectrum of business and finance topics, Internet marketing and blog creating, management, plumbing maintenance and mobile phone servicing.
Shared C3A’s chairman, Chua Foo Yong, at the Opening Ceremony: “We are fortunate that learning opportunities are aplenty in Singapore for all age groups, and learning is cultivated from young. Our founding Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew emphasised the importance of learning too. He once said, “Our way forward is to upgrade our levels of education, skills, knowledge and technology. Lifelong learning is a must for everyone in this knowledge economy with rapidly changing technology.”
“As a senior citizen, I am enjoying my journey and would like to share the ageing well secret with you! That is having fun in what we do, be it learning new skills, acquiring new knowledge or making new friends,” she said.
The guest-of-honour at the event, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, further highlighted that as part of SG50 celebrations, seniors will be able to sign up for learning courses for free as part of the SG50 Seniors package which the Ministerial Committee on Ageing has put together with various companies and organisations. Courses will be offered by various organisations including voluntary welfare organisations and will run till end of this year. Seniors will be able to choose from over 400 courses across a wide range of topics such as arts and culture, business, IT and culinary skills.