Sunday, 31 July 2016

People's Association unveils advanced courses for seniors

Programme includes cooking, craft or staying healthy, as well as community work
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 30 Jul 2016

The People's Association (PA) is stepping up its efforts to help senior citizens stay active as they age.

From September, it will offer a dozen advanced courses for seniors to learn more about cooking, craftwork or staying healthy. They will be available over six months and add to a total of 36 hours of lessons.

The programme includes doing community service as well and is open only to those who have completed the basic programme.

Those who finish the programme will get an Advanced Certificate in Senior Wellness, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Some of the courses are tie-ups with institutions of higher learning and industry associations, like a course on problem-solving by the National University of Singapore.

The new programme was unveiled by Mr Lee, who is also PA's chairman, at a ceremony for seniors who had completed the basic level.

The 375 seniors are the second group to complete the PA's Senior Academy basic programme. Last year's batch had 250 people.

The academy, which opened its doors in February last year, has seen over 6,000 people sign up for courses as diverse as cooking, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and playing the ukulele.

The new programme is available at 20 community centres and open to Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 50 and older.

PAssion Card members pay $50 and $80 for the basic and advanced courses respectively, while non-members pay $62 and $92.

Seniors can also use SkillsFuture Credit for the advanced courses.

PM Lee said he was encouraged by the seniors' enthusiasm. He quipped: "Normally when I attend graduation ceremonies, they are for kindergarten pupils."

He added: I hope everyone will continue their learning journey."

Mr Ng Hon Wing, 81, who finished the basic programme, said the TCM massage class was his favourite. "If you don't learn, you'll be left behind," added the part-time senior radiographer at Singapore General Hospital,

Housewife Suriati Budiman, 53, who also got her basic certificate yesterday, was thrilled at donning the graduating gown and mortarboard for the first time.

The O-level certificate holder had seen her two children, aged 33 and 30, graduate from university several years ago. "I feel so proud that it is my turn now," she said.

Her biggest takeaway from the programme: "I made new friends."

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