Seniors rejuvenated by exploring university

Regina Lau

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Twenty-eight course participants ranging from their mid-50's to late 80's, explored what it is like to learn in a university environment,16 to 20 August, in a 'Mini-U' programme organized by CityU Professional Services Ltd (CPS) and WiseNet Ltd, sponsored by Po Leung Kuk.

 

“Due to war, poverty or other reasons, many of our parents and grandparents did not have the opportunity for formal schooling, not to mention a university education,” said Director of CPS’s E-Commerce and Internet Consulting Group Mr Lawrence Ma, who initiated the programme. “In a way, our programme fulfills their lifelong yearning—to return to school and obtain what they missed during their youth. Now they can proudly say to their children and grandchildren that they, too, have experienced what it is like attending classes at university.”

 

From the five days of action-packed workshops, the seniors gained both hands-on experience and practical advice, from  how to take better care of their health, and managing their personal finances, to grooming and style. Many of the advanced teaching and learning practices for higher education, such as small-group discussion, and problem-based learning were employed.

 

The seniors enjoyed campus tour including a visit to CityU's Run Run Shaw Library. There was a talk by Mr Tse On, a bookshop owner in his 60’s, who shared his positive approach to how the elderly can contribute to society. There was a visit to a studio where participants got a taste of multimedia technology by recording their singing on a compact disc. There was a session on personal finance management in which participants divided themselves into groups to devise an investment plan. Last, but not least, each participant was videotaped saying their personal motto. They took home copies as souvenirs. 

 

“I came out of the workshop feeling much better about myself,” said Ms Chan Kit-hing, a participant in her 80’s who felt triumphant after overcoming her initial fears. Ms Chan had never before experienced any formal schooling. She was particularly inspired by Mr Tse ’s talk on the role of the elderly. “Now I will not hesitate to contribute  whenever I can,” she said.

 

Mr Lam Fuk-kiu, another participant, was impressed by the vast volume of books and high-tech, web-based operations in the Run Run Shaw Library. He felt re-energized by the programme and had fun in all the sessions. His motto, videotaped at the end of the programme: “Like the setting sun, I feel myself beaming with brightness and vitality.”

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