400 free courses, from literature to dance, this year for those aged 50 and above

 An old lady trying out some exercises at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
 An old lady trying out some exercises at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Mr Yoganathan Ratnasabapathy, 68, a retired engineer, at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Mr Yoganathan said he is keen to sign up for IT courses. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Mr Yoganathan Ratnasabapathy, 68, a retired engineer, at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Mr Yoganathan said he is keen to sign up for IT courses. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Tasting time during a crepe-making workshop at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Tasting time during a crepe-making workshop at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Retirees Gan Siew Lim, 75 (left), and Madam Goh Sai Hea, 70, at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Mr Gan said he is interested picking up computer skills. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Retirees Gan Siew Lim, 75 (left), and Madam Goh Sai Hea, 70, at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Mr Gan said he is interested picking up computer skills. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Retiree Madam Ong Beng Kee, 69 (in yellow), and her granddaughter Kristin Lim, 9, trying out Chinese calligraphy at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday May 16, 2015.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Retiree Madam Ong Beng Kee, 69 (in yellow), and her granddaughter Kristin Lim, 9, trying out Chinese calligraphy at the 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday May 16, 2015.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Retired teacher, Madam Kasummah Salleh, 65, (in purple), strumming the ukulele for the first time at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. She bought a ukulele after this crash course.  
Retired teacher, Madam Kasummah Salleh, 65, (in purple), strumming the ukulele for the first time at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. She bought a ukulele after this crash course.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
A ukulele workshop in progress at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
A ukulele workshop in progress at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor (in pink), learning how to make sushi with some seniors at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor (in pink), learning how to make sushi with some seniors at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor (in pink), learning how to make sushi with some seniors at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor (in pink), learning how to make sushi with some seniors at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Seniors playing a game at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Seniors playing a game at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Seniors attending a workshop on herbs at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Seniors attending a workshop on herbs at the 50plus Expo event at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, May 16, 2015.  -- ST PHOTO: YEO SAM JO
Senior citizens taking part in modelling and catwalk classes at the Toa Payoh East Community Club in 2011. Those aged 50 and above will get to enjoy over 400 educational courses for free this year, as part of Singapore's jubilee celebrations. -- PHOT
Senior citizens taking part in modelling and catwalk classes at the Toa Payoh East Community Club in 2011. Those aged 50 and above will get to enjoy over 400 educational courses for free this year, as part of Singapore's jubilee celebrations. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - Seniors aged 50 and above will get to enjoy over 400 educational courses for free this year, as part of a Ministry of Health initiative to celebrate Singapore's jubilee.

From now till the end of the year, they will be able to sign up for free courses on a wide range of topics, from literature and dance to business and culinary skills.

The courses will be coordinated by the Council for Third Age, an agency supported by the Ministry of Health to promote active ageing here. A number of them will be run by various educational institutions and voluntary welfare organisations, and seniors will study alongside younger students.

Other classes will be conducted by fellow seniors. The courses, which were piloted early last year, are part of an ongoing drive by C3A to promote active ageing.

Announcing the free courses on Saturday, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said they were partly inspired by focus group discussions held by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing last year, when active seniors proposed providing more opportunities for older Singaporeans to learn "not just for employment, but for learning's sake".

The free courses for seniors are part of the SG 50 Seniors package, a package presented by the Ministerial Committee on Ageing.

"As individuals, 50 years old can be the start of a period of second growth too, where we learn new things, pursue new careers and experience new things," said Dr Khor, speaking at the seventh annual 50plus Expo at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The three-day expo, which started on Friday and is organised by C3A and Pico Art International, aims to promote active ageing among seniors by providing activities such as forum talks and hands-on workshops. On Saturday, hundreds of seniors learnt how to make crepes and sushi, attempted calligraphy and batik painting, and strummed ukuleles for the first time.

Among them was Madam Pushpa Sundram, 66, and her husband Mr Yoganathan Ratnasabapathy, 68, who cheered the offering of free courses. "We are always looking for things to do. I want to take IT and cooking classes," said Madam Pushpa.

Those interested in signing up for these free courses may visit the C3A website at www.c3a.org.sg/SG50lifelonglearning, or call 1800 232 7450.