Need for senior citizens’ access to digital literacy voiced at international forum

Kathmandu, Sept 9 

Krishna Murari Gautam (pen name Chatyang Master), the founding president of Ageing Nepal, has voiced in an international forum that the senior citizens should not be denied their right to digital literacy.

Ageing Nepal has been conferred with the UNESCO International Literacy Award 2020. Gautam voiced this as the special speaker in the virtual programme organised last night by the UNESCO Headquarters on the occasion of the International Literacy Day.

“Denying access to basic and digital literacy to older adults also means denying them the benefits of technological innovations; and leaving them to suffer isolation, abuse, early dependency and ill-health in their old age,” Gautam said, adding that today’s youth will also need a robust education system that will enable them to benefit from new technologies in the future when they grow old. So, we argue for the proportionate share of resources for lifelong learning.

“The present day society functions as if illiterates do not exit. This mindset leaves behind the millions of illiterate older adults across the globe. It goes against the UN call for “leave no one behind”. Denying the basic human right to education for older adults would be ageism in practice that we all stand against.” Stating that it is still very rare to find targeted education and training for the aging population in national education policies and programmes of most countries, including Nepal, he said Ageing Nepal was striving to change this.

On the occasion, he also appealed to provide a due share of priority to the lifelong learning needs of the ever-growing aging population of today and tomorrow in pre or post pandemic situations of all types at all times. Ageing Nepal is working for the basic education for the older people above 60 years in the urban areas since the last one decade. The UNESCO Headquarters has been presenting various prizes to the organisations selected from around the globe on September 8 every year.

The Ageing Nepal was selected for this prestigious prize carrying a purse of 20 thousand US Dollars this year. The award would be soon handed over to Ageing Nepal in coordination of UNESCO Kathmandu an UNESCO Nepal Commission, Dr Baburam Adhikari, assistant secretary general of the Commission, said. This year, the award is being presented to the winner virtually. Ageing Nepal has been running the Basic Literacy Class for Older illiterate adults with support of many organizations and individuals since the programme started in 2016.

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