Never too late to learn
More than 160 seniors participated in seven ILP workshops and worked with their junior buddies.
Over 300 seniors and youths attended the inaugural intergenerational Learning Programme (ILP) End-of-Course Celebration recently at ITE College West, which was organised by the Council for Third Age (C3A), ITE College West and Family Central. The event, which was graced by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor, celebrated the completion of the seven workshops where youths and seniors worked together in a group-learning environment.
Over the past two months, more than 160 seniors participated in the ILP workshops conducted by 140 students from the different schools at ITE College West from September to October 2016. The seniors shared their life experiences and wisdom to the youths, while the youths shared their skills and knowledge on various topics such as IT, arts and music. At the same time, seniors could pursue new interests and discover new hobbies, as well as make new friends with the students.
The workshops which were run by the ITE College West students were free of charge for the senior learners and included a variety of topics such as gardening, movie making, DIY table lamp sculptures, coffee-art making, and hands-on learning experience of the applications of mechatronics where they built marble machines with mini-electric motors.
Alice Lee, 62, who made a lamp sculpture with her junior buddy, 18-year-old Rathna Charukesi, called the experience working together “memorable”. She shared: “I am energised, and can keep my mind active and feel young again.” Seventeen-year-old Putri Nurhidayah who worked with Nancy Yang, 65, on coffee-art making, said she thought her senior buddy did not know much about Western coffee but discovered that Nancy had borrowed books about coffee, including the history of coffee!
And for 53-year-old Ng How Yin, she shared that through working with her 18-year-old buddy Putri (surname not revealed), she was able to understand the next generation better and how to connect with them. Another senior participant also shared she now knows more about wires after doing the lamp sculpture and doesn’t need to call men if anything goes wrong in the home again.
The ILP, which was started in 2011 by C3A, is one of the learning opportunities under the National Silver Academy (NSA), an initiative under the Action Plan for Successful Ageing. To date, the ILP has benefitted more than 12,000 seniors and students. In addition to the courses under NSA that are available till end of this year, a new batch of courses from January to June 2017 will be released in the middle of November on the NSA website, “adding more than 700 course titles offering more than 14,000 learning places”, shared Dr Khor in her speech at the event. Since the launch of NSA earlier this year, over 4,800 seniors have signed up to learn and stay active.