October 12, 2021

The Institute of Labor Studies (ILS) in partnership with Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. (COSE) and Department of Education (DepEd), conducted an Online Webinar Session on #engAGED: Lifelong Learning for Senior Citizens, on October 5, 2021 via Zoom. This activity is geared towards promoting awareness of the issues and developments of Senior Citizens’ access to learning during their sunset years.

The discussion during the webinar was facilitated by the following Resource Speakers:

Ms. Cha Satumba, Executive Director of ILS; Ms. Christine B. Banzuela of DepEd; Ms. Emily Beridico, Executive Director of COSE; and Ms. Mary Grace L. Riguer-Teodosio, Deputy Executive Director of the ILS. The speakers as well as the moderators of the webinar shares the need to express gratitude and love to the elderlies and must regard them with utmost respect and importance.

Executive Director Satumba of ILS emphasizes that the webinar aims to promote awareness to the general public that senior citizens must not be disregarded but must be given equal importance as they are the forerunners of our society that we now enjoy.

Ms. Banzuela explains the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education which makes available to senior citizens the opportunities for learning, to continue and ultimately finish their study without any discrimination and unjust treatment. Banzuela adds that the epitome of education is not constrained on one’s age for learning is boundless. But, the first step is to allow oneself to be immersed in the beauty of education and learning despite one’s old age.

ALS seeks to relinquish self-doubt and firmly ground the elderlies of self-belief driven by faith that they can still do it.

Executive Director of COSE Ms. Beridico identifies two major problems in delivering programs to senior citizens. First, the lack of willingness of the senior citizen to allow themselves to access the learning programs thinking that it is already too late for them. Second, that aggregate data is not available for institutions to analyze and further formulate necessary programs gauged in realistic and present needs of the senior citizen populace. She counters these problems by sharing that it is never too late to learn and reiterates that learning knows no barriers and is not hampered by age.

Finally, Deputy Executive Director Teodosio of ILS shares that in this difficult times of pandemic, the government through the dissemination of timely learning intervention, seeks to promote to the general public the importance of our elderlies and be more mindful and extend our helping hand to them in order to make their last moments here on earth memorable, fruitful and purposeful.

The capacity of the rational mind is beyond comprehension, and can be boundless like the infinite if we allow ourselves to openly embrace the opportunity of knowledge. Thus, there is no doubt that fruitful learning can be wielded as a weapon to grasp certainty in times when adversities seem to be so difficult to overcome. Let the years that pass by become a realization of our elderly generation on how they can still transform intellect into wisdom that the future generations can pay forward and maximize.