Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Albert Einstein wasn't the only advocate of life-long learning. So were Henry Ford and Mahatma Gandhi. These great men died at 76, 83 and 78 respectively - proof that when we stimulate our brain cells by picking up new skills, new experiences and new knowledge, we could extend our life span and keep Alzheimer's at bay.

Higher institutions of learning around the world are reporting an increase in intake from older students. In Malaysia, open universities are offering discounts as high as 75% off course fees to senior citizens born in or before 1957. Life-long learning centres catering specially to older students are mushrooming. In Singapore there is YAH Community College for the young-at-heart, while in Malaysia there is the University of Third Age (U3A). I have completed three semesters at U3A and am looking forward to starting my fourth semester there in September.

From Online Colleges.

Online courses are fast becoming the preferred choice of getting an academic degree for many senior citizens, especially for those who are housebound. Having missed out on an opportunity to further their studies during their youth, these seniors are signing up for courses that would offer them better job prospects. Others view retirement as the best time to go back to school and fulfill their academic goals. For more about this phenomenon, click here to read the article, and do follow the links.

Whatever the reasons, there is a worldwide surge in the number of older students. Unlike employment, there is no upper age limit for admission. The oldest graduate in the world is Chao Mu-he from Taiwan. He was 96 when he received a Masters in Philosophy in 2009. The oldest elementary school student is Ma XiuXian, 102, from China.

As for me, getting a Masters in Gerontology is on my bucket list. The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) offers the course, but at fees that are beyond my budget. I am inspired by Chao Mu-He and others like him. If he can do it at the age of 96, well, there is hope for me yet. After all, I am only a young 64!


tongkk said...

you can get free courses at

seniorsaloud said...

Thanks for the comment. Please read my earlier post in May about free online courses at

Venice said...

Good post el-f! This would be a great news for the seniors to regain or further enhance their thinking ability. Thanks for sharing!