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Pilot Elder Learning Scheme launched
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Elders will have a better chance to acquire new knowledge and skills to cope with the advancement of our society through Elder Academy to be set up in various districts later this year.

The Elderly Commission (EC) and the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau jointly launched the Pilot Elder Learning Scheme.  Today (February 3), the pioneer "Elder Academy" at Yan Chai Hospital Chan Iu Seng Primary School in Tseung Kwan O was prepared to set up.

The chairman of the EC, Dr Leong Che-hung, gave a lecture at the Seminar on the Pilot Elder Learning Scheme cum Launching Ceremony of the Elder Academy entitled "the basic laws on how to care for life".  It covered how to maintain good physical and mental health and to attain physical, mental and social harmony.

Before the lecture, Dr Leong and the Permanent Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food (Health and Welfare), Ms Sandra Lee, gave out spring onions and Chinese sticky bread to wish them clever and stick to the chair so that they could concentrate to study.

Dr Leong said the EC had embarked on a plan to promote a proper perspective of ageing and to implement the Pilot Elder Learning Scheme to put forth the philosophy of active ageing in view of Hong Kong's ageing population and the challenges that associated with it.

"Without any academic prerequisites, the Academy allows more elderly to engage in and enjoy activities that foster their physical and mental well-being and enhance their sense of achievement and self-confidence through learning," he said.

Ms Sandra Lee said in her address that today was a milestone in elder learning in Hong Kong as age would no longer be a barrier to learning.  Elder Academy was a pioneering attempt in fostering inter-generational harmony and cross-sectoral collaboration.

"Let us join hands to create a new platform for the elderly to acquire knowledge and share with the younger generation their valuable life experience," she said.

The Seminar on Pilot Elder Learning Scheme was held immediately after the Launching Ceremony of Elder Academy to explore the way forward for elderly learning in Hong Kong, including the challenges and experiences in the development process.

The EC intended to launch a self-help form of elderly.  After informal discussions with many schools, volunteer organisations and Radio Television Hong Kong, and taking into account the characteristics and needs of our elders nowadays, ECíŽs Working Group on Active Ageing has decided to launch a school-based Pilot Elder Learning Scheme.

Education organisations and school/organisation partners may make joint applications for setting up an elder academy to the Commission between February 3 to March 3.  The EC hopes to disburse grants of $50,000 as seed money to elder academies before the end of 2007/08 financial year to enable them to commence operation by September 2007.

The guidelines can be downloaded from www.elderlycommission.gov.hk.  For enquiries, please call 3150 8925 during office hours.

Ends/Saturday, February 3, 2007
Issued at HKT 13:42

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