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Matthew K C CHEUNG, Secretary for Labour and WelfareIt has always been my personal philosophy to "enrich life through continuous learning". To encourage elders to lead an active and flourishing life, the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Elderly Commission jointly launched a school-based Elder Academy Scheme taken into consideration of the unique situation of Hong Kong in early 2007.

Elder Academies are characterised by cross-sectoral collaboration and inter-generational harmony, and aim to promote continuous learning among elders, encourage them to widen their social networks, maintain physical and mental well-being and foster sense of worthiness while acquiring knowledge. These apart, it also seeks to promote inter-generational harmony, civic education and cross-sectoral collaboration. In the 2016-17 academic year, there are about 130 EAs in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions throughout the territory.

Compared to other elder learning models elsewhere, our elder academies put much emphasis on "inter-generational harmony". We encourage young students to participate in voluntary work for the elder academies, such as acting as young teachers or assisting in the operation of the elder academies. Through participating in elder academies, elders can learn new technology and knowledge to keep pace with the times while young students can get to know more about elders and learn from their valuable life experiences. More importantly, the Scheme can promote mutual understanding to achieve inter-generational harmony.

Elders are valuable assets to our society. Not only do we encourage them to keep abreast of the times through continuous learning and participate actively in society, we also hope that they can further engage in the work of the Elder Academy Management Committees and take up the administration and the planning of the curricula and activities of the elder academies to live up to the concept of "active ageing".

With the support of various tertiary institutions, a number of elder academies have been set up in tertiary institutions to offer elders the opportunities to "study in the university". I am looking forward to the operation of more elder academies in primary/secondary schools and tertiary institutions and the development of different forms of elder academies in other mass media to ensure a fulfilled and happy life for all elders.

Stephen SUI
Secretary for Labour and Welfare