Turkey’s first “Senior Citizen University” gives start to academic year

emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

Students studying at Turkey's first "Senior Citizen University," which accepts only students over the age of 60, have started their first year of education after attending preparatory class.

The education center was founded by Akdeniz University as part of Professor Ismail Tufan's project on Turkey's Gerontology Atlas, which was launched in 2000.

The project addresses the development and improvement of aging and will continue until 2023. Professor Ismail Tufan, head of the Gerontology Department at Akdeniz University, has been doing research in seven different regions of Turkey over the past 16 years and underlines the great need of lifelong learning in Turkey.

With the philosophy of "A rolling stone gathers no moss" the project aims to put aside the "I'm too old" feeling.

Elderly students do pysical exercise before attending classes at Turkey's senior cititzen university. (DHA Photo)

Running under the motto, "Learning for an Active and Meaningful Life," the center is free and open to the public. The education program will last for four years.

Elderly students can attend weekly or monthly classes and take courses in various departments including philosophy, history, technology, communications, chemistry, biology, health, sociology and psychology. All classes last for 40 minutes and there is compulsory attendance.

So far, the education center has been a great success. Last year 385 elderly students enrolled. They all seem very pleased to have a change in their lives.

They do both physical and mind exercises exercise before attending classes in lecture halls, and they eagerly listen and take notes during classes that are given by volunteer teaching members.

This year, some extra classes are offered. For example, male students will learn how to knit their own sweaters whereas female students will take repair classes. These extra classes aim to improve the daily life of elderlies who live alone.

74-year-old Sevinç Turan Öner, who is one of the students, stated that she loves her teachers and is happy to stall aging. 62-year-old student Habibe Kalyoncuoğlu is also pleased to be an elderly woman who can overcome obstacles and doesn't only sit at home looking after her grandchildren.

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