Mr Joseph Doyle on the front page of our state newspaper this morning. Mr Doyle is a student at Marden Senior Secondary School. Mr Doyle is not just sitting in class and listening. He is preparing to do the examination in history. Good on you Mr Doyle. If I ever reach the age of 94 I hope my brain is as agile as yours obviously is and that I too can do something like that. It is not likely but it is something to aim for - perhaps the publication of a book on my 90th birthday would do?
My father will be 88 next birthday and his mind is, thankfully, still very agile. He reads widely. I know a number of other elderly people who are the same. I know a woman who is 101. She
'phoned me yesterday to say that she approved of my latest letter to the editor. About ten years ago she went to a computer class for 'seniors' and has her own computer, linked to the internet, in her room in the nursing home in which she lives.
There are also, it is reported, 133 people over the age of 71 doing examination subjects at school this year. This has to be a good thing. For example - Mr Doyle is studying the history he has also lived and he apparently has the capacity to discuss this with his fellow, but much younger, students. It will give them a much better understanding of history. In other places simply having an older student in class can be a helpful influence. They are there because they want to be there, often because they had no opportunity to be there earlier.
The government wants to cut the re-entry programme. It says it is a waste of money. Yes, it could be argued that Mr Doyle is never going to 'use' his history studies for direct taxpayer benefit but he is assisting those who will enter the workforce. The same can be said of other elderly students. Why should they be denied the opportunity to learn? Why should they be denied the opportunity to set an example?
It is almost, but not quite, enough to make me want to go back to school - just to show 'them' I can do it. The problem is I really do not want to do any more exams and, why waste all that effort if I don't do the exam? I am with Mr Doyle on that one too.