Retired Agricultural officer and mature GATE student, Yolanda Morean, shares her concerns on the new GATE changes with Wired868:
GATE must be fair to all genders and age groups. Many middle aged and elderly persons have lived lives of sacrifice taking care of others instead of themselves. It is my—albeit unsubstantiated—belief that females are the majority who sacrifice their young years when need arises, but a significant number of males also forego personal development to take care of others.
Such persons should not be denied GATE if they need it. Instead, some sort of insurance stipulation might be arranged the way it is done for bank loans.
Perhaps the average 50+ persons do not need GATE because they would be winding down a successful career and have provided for their upcoming retirement. However, others may be less fortunate.
Some have denied themselves educational advancement to take care of disabled charges; while others may have lost everything due to some misfortune. An elderly person who is now in a disadvantaged situation should be applauded if he/she wants to raise his/her quality of life by pursuing an education.
There are 50+, 60+ and 70+ individuals who are fully productive, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life as a result of education, whether or not it was GATE-funded.
One 50+ individual, Mrs Patricia Joseph, who recently completed a GATE-funded Bachelor’s degree in music continues her regular employment in the music department of the Nazarene College in Santa Cruz and has also had more lucrative offers elsewhere as a result of the completion of her degree.
The degree has not yet resulted in salary increase—largely because the institution is more-or-less a not-for-profit one. However, attaining the degree has expanded her worth and job satisfaction as a result of being upgraded from just a piano instructor, to a qualified music instructor who now lectures in music theory and can teach a range of music subjects when the opportunity arises.
At 60+, one senior librarian—not GATE-funded—continues to perform satisfying senior librarian duties at a middle management level on contract as a benefit of academic qualifications in the field of library studies.
Mr Nervin Saunders, over 70 years-old, performs a great voluntary service at the Eastern School of Pan Music in Arouca, which he himself founded to provide steel pan and basic music theory instruction to students of all ages.
It is unfair to tell an elderly person who needs GATE that it is unavailable on the single criterion of age.
GATE should be open to persons of all ages who need it. It should be a loan with insurance to cover recovery from at risk groups.