On a Mission to Bring 'Seniors' Back to College
By Babu K Peter | Published: 28th February 2016 04:51 AM |
KOCHI: Imagine attending college after retirement and being instructed by youngsters who are of your grandchildren’s age.
In a novel initiative claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, Sacred Heart College, Thevara, is all set to launch an ‘Age-friendly College.’ Under the social initiative, special courses will be offered to senior citizens to equip them to meet challenges of the modern world, especially those associated with the technological advancement in the first decade of the 21st century.
The project will start in the next academic year with a batch of 25 ‘students’. Though there is no age barrier for joining the course, persons aged above 50 will be given preference.
“Age-friendly College is a concept wherein educational institutions offering conventional courses to the young generation give access to senior citizens for continuing/vocational education and to obtain life skills. The highlight of the programme is its inter-generational nature. Teaching and knowledge-sharing between different generations will be given importance. For example, a student with an aptitude for teaching may get opportunity to teach an older person how to use a computer, a smart phone or a gadget to access a bank account - an idea suggested by doctors in the Dept of Geriatrics at Lakeshore Hospital,” said SH College principal Fr Prashant Palajapilly.
The training programmes envisaged under the initiative include Basic Computer Training, Introduction to IT, Inter Generational Picnics/Study Tours, Discussion Forums for Elderly Persons and Retirees and Setting up of a Knowledge Hub. The ‘senior students’ will be taught by Graduate/PG students of the colleges.
“We received a tremendous response from the public when the programme was announced. Many senior citizens, both men and women, who hold high academic degrees do not know how to use technology, which could have eased the difficulties in retired life. The technological advancement and their influence on the day-to-day life are things that happened very recently,” said Abin Ambily, student development officer at SH College who coordinates the programme.
The college has formed a core group of 45 students as volunteers to teach the seniors.
“I was part of a tour organised for senior citizens. They appeared to be very happy and relieved during the trip.
“While interacting with them, I could understand the issues faced by them. This prompted me to volunteer for the Age-Friendly College when it was launched in the college,” said Anil Soorya, a student volunteer.