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Lifelong learning: Seniors to get boost for health education, other courses


Channel News Asia


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With the new National Seniors' Health Programme, seniors in Singapore will get access to healthy ageing workshops. Additionally, the National Silver Academy will offer more than 10,000 places across 500 courses at a network of education institutions and VWOs this year.


SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will step up efforts to promote seniors' health education, as part of the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor said in Parliament on Wednesday (Apr 13).


At the national level, MOH and the Health Promotion Board will this year start a series of public education campaigns on seniors' health issues, such as nutrition, fall prevention and dementia. This aims to raise awareness among seniors on how they can keep healthy, said Dr Khor. 




MOH will also launch the National Seniors' Health Programme, which is a set of "healthy ageing 101" programmes on health issues that are relevant to the elderly, such as nutrition, exercise, mental wellness and chronic disease management, said Dr Khor.


Under the programme, seniors will be encouraged to go through a series of six basic health workshops, Dr Khor said, adding that they can also attend additional workshops, depending on interest.




Dr Khor also detailed the National Silver Academy, which was first announced in August last year. "We hope that the National Silver Academy can not only fulfill seniors’ aspirations to keep learning, but also help shape a new mindset regarding ageing," said Dr Khor.


At the Academy - which is not a physical campus, but is made up of a network of education institutions and voluntary welfare organisations (VWO) -  seniors can pursue learning in many areas, depending on their interest. This is to help the elderly remain both cognitively and socially active, said Dr Khor.


Seniors will then be able to take selected full qualification courses offered by ITEs, polytechnics and universities - without needing to take exams - all for a "token fee". Seniors will also sit in the same classrooms with the regular students attending the course. 


There will also be a subsidy of up to 50 per cent for those who sign up for short courses offered by post-secondary education institutions and VWOs.


Courses that the academy will offer include those from educational institutions, including the two art colleges LaSalle and NAFA, those from community-based organisations, as well as other ad-hoc learning opportunities, said Dr Khor. 


"For instance, seniors can also attend inter-generational learning programmes conducted by students in school after school hours, on topics such as technology and music," she added.


People aged 50 years and above can register for courses for next month, and the academy will offer more than 10,000 places across 500 courses this year, Dr Khor said.


"I think having seniors learn with younger students in the same classroom will foster inter-generational interactions and also at the same time inspire our younger generation that learning does not stop at any age," said Dr Khor.


Channel NewsAsia

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