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Age is Just a Number: Learning Never Ends2 min read

January 23, 2023 2 min read

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Age is Just a Number: Learning Never Ends2 min read

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The trend of life-long learning is becoming increasingly popular, with older adults breaking social barriers and pursuing education in modern technologies. According to statistics from the EU, 7% of older adults aged 50-64 participated in education and training over four weeks in 2016. Among the highest participation rates were the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, all with rates well above 15%. However, the rate of participation in lifelong learning among older adults in the EU is rising very slowly: between 2013 and 2016 the number of elderly people participated in trainings has risen only by 0.3%.

Furthermore, the percentage of people aged 65 and older who completed a bachelor’s degree or higher in the USA has risen from 5% in 1965 to 29% in 2018, which indicates an increase of 24% over 53 years. One example of an older adult who has pursued further education is 81-year-old Eulinda Antonette Clarke-Akalanne, who graduated with a master’s degree in Black Humanities from the University of Bristol, despite her severe visual impairment. Antonette is a strong advocate for adult education and has helped eight friends to go back to university. She encourages others to “have courage and go for it” as achieving goals at any age brings contentment and happiness.

Another example is 72-year-old Congressman Don Beyer from Virginia, who has been pursuing a master’s degree in machine learning at George Mason University while balancing his duties as a congressman. He is fascinated by machines’ ability to extract meaning from large data sets and hopes to apply his knowledge of AI to his legislative work as the technology evolves. Despite the challenges of studying while working, Beyer sees the benefits of having an AI master’s degree and plans to begin the actual graduate work by 2024.

As we already wrote, neuroscientists claim that incorporating education, learning, and training new skills into daily routines is one of the best ways to keep the brain young and healthy for many years to come. It is never too late to start learning and breaking social barriers, as older adults are proving by pursuing education in modern technologies.

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