Young teachers and elderly students
Over a thousand pensioners take part in state programme: All Ages Can Master the Internet
Pensioners who have successfully mastered Internet literacy recently competed in a Republican tournament, following ‘brain ring’ rounds across regional cities. The final saw pensioners fight for the title of ‘best senior citizen IT and Internet expert’.
Launched in autumn 2013, the state programme All Ages Can Master the Internet has allowed 2,000 Belarusian pensioners to learn basic principles of computing, the Internet, and useful programmes, services and social networks. On ‘graduating’, each is able to independently make phone calls online, book appointments with doctors, and locate medicine in local pharmacies, as well as pay utility bills, and find bus and train timetables. Booking tickets, communicating on Odnoklassniki, reading blogs and finding information on Yandex are also covered.
Training methods are adapted to reflect each group’s age and experience, with a 14-week course of lessons, held once a week. Volunteer teachers are drawn from various professions: programmers, doctors, economists, accountants, marketing specialists, journalists, students and, even, schoolchildren (aged 12 to 15). The average age of volunteer teachers is 28, while that of students is 65.
The project will continue in late March, with around 550 more pensioners sitting at computer desks this spring, in Minsk. Meanwhile, 650 are ready to start their studies at regional centres. Bobruisk and Novopolotsk have just joined the project.
By Boris Svetlov