Dec 25, 2012

Brunei - Retirees to tutor underprivileged kids

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THE Community Development Department (JAPEM) will establish its pioneer tuition programme with retired teachers and volunteers for underprivileged children who need help with their studies.

JAPEM's Deputy Controller for Pensions, Rostinah POKSSP Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Tahir in an interview with The Brunei Times said the idea for the programme came after they discovered some of the welfare children have problems in their studies.

"(We) found out that some children of the welfare assistance recipients do not do well in schools and they could not afford to attend tuitions," Rostinah disclosed.

She added, "We have people from our flat at Jalan Sentosa (in the capital) interested to join."

The registration forms are available at JAPEM.

"So far, we have 11 participants who want to join. This number is good enough. We will start small first."

They plan to hire retired teachers and volunteers to teach the classes.

Rostinah said, "We have a lot of volunteers, not only from the senior citizens. We also have responses from younger teachers who wanted to teach.

"We (plan to) pay minimal (fee) to the teachers and the classes are free for the children."

The Deputy Controller for Pensions said that the classes will be held at Pusat Bahagia, an organisation under JAPEM set up for special needs individuals.

"InsyaAllah (if Allah is willing), we will start by January or February (next year)."

The tuition is still in the planning stage. They have not decided who their target students will be.

Rostinah said, "This depends on the participants. If we have many primary students, then we will start with primary level tuition classes. Our programme is very flexible".

By inviting the retired teachers into the programme, it will offer them the opportunity to continue to contribute to the society.

Earlier this week, Rostinah spoke of the possibility to offer employment opportunities to able and retired senior citizens at the Senior Citizen International Day Forum on Thursday (December 20) at the International Convention Centre in Berakas.

She said in order to increase the opportunities of employment for senior citizens, the Senior Citizen Action Plan is currently being drafted.

More discussions with the Ministry of Home Affairs are under way to provide a work quota for able senior citizen to continue working.

The training to equip them with the skills needed for their new jobs are also going to be discussed.

Employment opportunities is one of the issues identified under the plan.

The plan is intended to be a guide in building senior citizens' potential so they could continue to be active and productive in their family, community and country development.

While Brunei is not classified as an aging society yet, preparations are being done for its eventuality.

A country is said to have an aging population if 10 per cent of its population consist of ageing society.

"So far Brunei's ageing population is around three per cent. In terms of our infrastructure we are well in place, such as our social safety net and health care.

"However, there are still a few things that we need to fine tune such as senior citizen user friendly facilities and transportation."

The other issues which would need attention include policies and law to protect senior citizens from exploitation, violence and neglect; elderly friendly facilities and more research to anticipate their needs and requirements.

She pointed out, "Once the society reached the ageing population, it will be a burden, so we need to prepare ourselves now. Do not wait until the phenomena is here.

"This is what is facing other countries now. They are not ready but ageing phenomena already there."

The tuition for the underprivileged children is one step to incorporate the retirees back into productive fabric of the society.


The Brunei Times

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