Older students benefit from University of the Third Age

Université du Troisième Âge – the University of the Third Age – of Mauritius or U3AM was opened four years ago and today has about 500 students, all over 55 years old, studying more than 25 courses.

With the help of a projector, U3AM teacher Ridwan Dilmahomed analyses the workings of a computer’s desktop. His fascinated students scrutinise every detail as he repeats each operation to make sure they understand – for they are a class composed entirely of ‘seniors’, reports L’Express of Port Louis.

One of them, 82-year-old former schoolteacher Guislaine Précieux, says: “There is no one age for learning. I worked for 30 years in education, then four years in administration. Computers interest me and will help me prepare documents for young people.”

Another student, Maryse Zuffour (67), enrolled at the U3AM in September 2016. “It’s a good thing for when one is retired. It’s very interesting because with these courses the university’s students benefit from the guidance of the instructors. They correct us and help us with our actions.”

U3AM was created in 2013 by d'Armoogum Parsuramen, president of the Global Rainbow Foundation. Its headquarters are in Petit-Raffray, but it offers courses in several regions; the only stipulation is that students must be aged 55 years or over, reported L’Express.

The university’s vice-president and coordinator, Marie Hermenne Félicité, told the paper there were about 500 students studying more than 25 courses, divided into four areas: well-being, adaptation to technology, music and arts, and social sciences.

Courses include yoga, swimming, zumba, tai chi, ballroom dancing, cookery, philosophy, psychology, the history of Mauritius, mood management, introduction to violin and guitar, English, French, Hindi, German and Italian. A law course will be introduced soon.

The students want to “keep busy, learn something and not stay idle. Some of them haven’t had the time to study, because they had first to look after their families,” said Félicité.

“Each course lasts an hour and a half; that needs patience. Sometimes it’s necessary to explain two or three times to make sure the students acquire the basic knowledge such as applications, processing of text on Word, email, internet. We adapt the programme to their needs,” said Dilmahomed, who is IT teacher, project director and psychologist at the Global Rainbow Foundation.

At the end of their studies, the students receive their certificates at a ceremony at the University of Mauritius, accompanied by their children and grandchildren.

This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.