Silver Academy courses: 15,000 seniors prove age is no barrier to learning

For Madam Rajam Sadanandan, the learning never stops.

A fall last year might have put her studies at the Singapore University of Social Sciences on hold, but the 71-year-old former administrative executive plans to resume her Bachelor of General Studies course as soon as she recovers.

Madam Rajam has also taken courses in psychology and Western art offered by organisations under the National Silver Academy (NSA).

"Age is not a barrier, so I want to continue as much as I can, as long as my health permits," said Madam Rajam yesterday at the NSA Roadshow, held in conjunction with the Positive Ageing Conference organised by the Council for Third Age at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

Some 15,000 seniors have benefited from NSA courses since the academy's launch in 2015, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor at the event.

The NSA is a network of post-secondary education institutions and community-based organisations which offer seniors educational and recreational programmes. SkillsFuture credits can be used for the courses, which are subsidised.

In her speech, Dr Khor stressed the importance of active ageing and lifelong learning.

"Together, we can redefine the notion of ageing, broaden our horizons through lifelong learning, and make Singapore a nation of all ages," she said, adding that various online courses for seniors have been launched.

The NSA Roadshow, held thrice yearly in the heartland, offers a glimpse into courses and volunteering opportunities for seniors.

Mr Tan Eng Cheow, 65, who was at the roadshow, is one active volunteer.

He helps out with the Community Befriending Programme, visiting four fellow seniors twice a month to chat and play board games.

Volunteering has made him feel more "happy and carefree", he said in Mandarin.

"Otherwise, I'd just be bored and lonely at home," he added.

The NSA Roadshow is on from 11am to 8pm today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2018, with the headline 'Silver Academy courses: 15,000 seniors prove age is no barrier to learning'. Print Edition | Subscribe