Sunday, October 21, 2007

YAH Graduation

Singapore saw another group of citizens, mostly the aged, graduating from the YAH Community College today. The YAH (Youth At Heart) programme was a brainchild of the community institution with the aim to promote livelong learning among the senior citizens. Its other thrust is to render learning opportunities to those who were not privileged to attend schools in their younger days.

The objectives of the programme are noble. For this programme, though the graduates don a mortar board and receive their scroll on stage, much alike the graduation ceremonies in the universities, they did not graduate with a bachelor in any discipline. Critics were quick to jeer at the senior citizens for donning a fake mortar board, wearing an inauthentic graduation gown and wasting time to earn a useless certificate. Some critics went as far as to suggest that this programme was a money spinner to generate mileage from this group of learners.

What these critics fail to recognise is that the graduates of the YAH programme are not merely graduating with a certificate that will render them skills and knowledge to secure job in this new era; the graduates are graduating today with a certificate that marked a milestone in their learning. It is celebration of life! The causes are much worthier than what the common layman thinks.

Of the suggestions that the programme is a money-spinner, one should look at the costs of the programmes and be discerning enough to note that the fees for the programmes are actually very low. It may be unprofitable to a certain extent in the eyes of the common man if he calculate the revenue and expenditure of the course provider carefully.

This programme is more about the journey than the destination of life. It is sad that in this instant-gratifying society, many Singaporeans tend to emphasize on the tangible, the material aspects of life and neglect the worthier, intangible and more meaningful aspects of life.

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