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Cross-Ministry Roundtable for the “Ten Years of Gleaning Senior Citizens’ Learning: Senior Citizen Active Learning and Aging”

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Population aging has become a trend all over the world, and Taiwanese society has to be more proactive about facing these challenges. Since 1994, the population of people over 65 years old has increased by 7%. With the arrival of this aged society, the percentage has increased further to 14.06% at the end of March, 2018, which indicates another peak of this age group.

The Ministry of Education proposed the “Medium Range Development Plan of Senior Citizen Education” in January of 2017. Four goals for the aged society include: (1) the improvement of senior citizens’ educational system and to popularize senior citizens’ learning opportunities; (2) the innovation of senior citizens’ learning content and the promotion of literacy for active aging; (3) the cultivation of professional educators and the enforcement of senior citizens’ educational quality; (4) the strengthening of the integration of cross-territory resources and the construction of friendly environments for senior citizens. That is, the learning and empowerment of senior learners has transformed into a critical strategy of development in aging societies.

The purpose of implementing this roundtable is to collect the traits and highlights of Senior Citizen Active Learning Centers, Senior Citizens’ Active Life Long Learning Universities, and older adult self-directed learning groups. The research was located in different countries over the past ten years. Through the retrospection and prospect of senior citizens’ learning, the theme of this roundtable applies the homophonic sound “gleaning” to refer to “ten-years” in Mandarin. The metaphor indicates not only the harvest and accomplishment of the past 10 years, but also the development and innovation for the future. We have invited approximately 30 representatives from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, as well as non-profit organizations to discuss various issues concerning services, welfare, employment, security, and health, in hope of crossing the territories to synthesize the resources from the government and private organizations, so as to launch another 10 years under the charge of the Ministry of Education.

With approximately 150 participants attending this roundtable, the main axis of this event provides a holistic perspective centering on senior citizens to examine government policies and their practices. A nexus of the government and universities has been explored in order to pinpoint the highlights and futuristic trend of senior citizens’ services, and encourage more cooperation among the government, universities, and private industries. Through the building of the “Combination of Industry, Government and Academia,” we anticipate the coming of the next “Ten Years of Gleaning Senior Citizens’ Learning.”