Political advisor suggests to expand channels for investment in elderly education

(Global Times) 16:57, March 04, 2024

Senior citizens exercise in a fitness club for elder residents only, in Hongqiao subdistrict, Changning, Shanghai. Photo: Chen Shasha/GT

Senior citizens exercise in a fitness club for elder residents only, in Hongqiao subdistrict, Changning, Shanghai. Photo: Chen Shasha/GT

As the scale and proportion of elderly population continue to rise, the aging process is accelerating significantly, and the degree of aging is constantly deepening, China should actively expand the channels for investment in elderly education in urban communities, increase investment in various education funds and ensure the development of elderly education, a political advisor proposed on Monday.

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that by the end of 2022, the population aged 60 and above and 65 and above in China were 280 million and 209 million respectively, accounting for 19.8 percent and 14.9 percent of the total population, indicating that China has become a moderately aging society. Against this backdrop, the country should attach significant importance to active aging and the protection of the rights and interests of the elderly. Elderly education is considered an effective way to improve their quality of life and maintain social participation.

Currently, most of China's education funds are used for youth education, with limited investment in community elderly education, leading to significant challenges in the development of elderly education in some areas, Gan Huatian, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and professor of West China School of Medicine, said on Monday.

At the same time, there is a lack of understanding of elderly education across the society, combined with insufficient attention from local governments, and a poorly targeted funding mechanism, Gan pointed out.

Through his research, Gan found that the 34 provincial-level administrative regions all have adopted laws or policy provisions related to elderly education, with more emphases on promoting lifelong education through the establishment of community colleges, sharing learning resources, and building elderly-friendly communities. With the effective implementation of proactive aging policies in the new era, the content of elderly education regulations needs to be timely updated and improved to activate its underlying legal vitality, Gan told to the Global Times on Monday.

To address these issues, Gan suggested that elderly education should be supported by the government with special funds and increased investment in education expenses to ensure its development.

At the same time, efforts should be made to actively expand the channels for funding elderly education in urban communities, by establishing community elderly education foundations in communities, encouraging and supporting donations from enterprises, individuals and other organizations to raise funds for community elderly education through multiple channels. These funds can be used for social activities, personnel support, training expenses and other daily services needed for community elderly education, providing economic resources for future community

Besides, the role of law in guiding social development should be emphasized, by enacting national legislation to clarify the legal status of elderly education, streamline the management system of elderly education, define departmental responsibilities, facilitate inter-departmental cooperation, and promote institutional development from top to bottom to achieve the legal and sustainable development of elderly education.

Furthermore, the leading role of the education department in the management system of elderly education should be further clarified.

Given the relatively lagging legislation on elderly education in China, it is important to focus on formulating a series of specific policies and regulations with scientific and operational feasibility, such as ensuring funding mechanisms for elderly education, building and managing the teaching staff for elderly education, providing an effective supply of elderly education resources, and promoting the diversified development of specialized elderly education institutions, Gan added.

For senior citizens who are not familiar with the internet or smartphones, computer training courses and smartphone training courses should be included in elderly education programs to enhance their ability to use smart technology and integrate them better into the smart society, allowing them to enjoy the convenience brought by the information age, Gan stressed.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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