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CE officiates at Elder Academy Commencement Ceremony

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (September 29) officiated at the Elder Academy Commencement Ceremony 2008-09 to mark the start of the new academic year with more than 300 representatives and students of elder academies.

     Jointly launched by the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Elderly Commission in 2007, the Elder Academy Scheme aims to encourage elders to continue learning so as to maintain their physical and mental well-being, foster a sense of worthiness, and promote intergenerational harmony, civic education and cross-sectoral collaboration.

     Also present at the ceremony were the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, and the Chairman of the Elderly Commission, Dr Leong Che-hung. They appealed to the participating organisations, elders and young people to continue to work together to promote the development of elder academies.

     Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Cheung said that pursuing continuous learning enabled elders to keep pace with the times, take part in community service and continue to contribute to society. They could also share with the younger generation their valuable life experience.

     He said, "Apart from encouraging elders to continue to shine, elder academies serve as a platform for welfare organisations to better understand the elders' talents and needs, for young volunteers to benefit from sharing elders' valuable life experience and for the educational institutions to better identify the young volunteers' potential, so as to nurture better citizens."

     Jointly established by schools and welfare organisations, 78 elder academies across the territory will offer about 10,000 places to elders this academic year.

     The University of Hong Kong and the Open University of Hong Kong are actively organising elder academy programmes following the footsteps of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the City University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Education, Hong Kong Shue Yan University and the Lingnan University. The seven tertiary institutions offer altogether about 1,000 places for elders to pursue learning at universities.

     All elder academies will set up management committees to involve elders in the administrative work and planning of programmes and activities and engage elders and young students in volunteer work assisting the operation of the academies. Some tertiary institutions arrange elders to sit in on undergraduate courses so that youngsters can interact with elders to share their life experience and enhance mutual understanding and communication towards the promotion of  intergenerational harmony.

     At the ceremony, 38 elder students who have attained more than 50 hours of study in the last academic year were presented with the Study Awards, while 14 elder academy volunteers were presented with the Service Awards in recognition of their contribution.

Ends/Monday, September 29, 2008
Issued at HKT 17:20


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