Meet some of the UK's oldest university students

What does a pupil seem like?

Neglect the stereotypes. Consider variety another way. And meet a number of the nation’s oldest undergraduates.

Maureen Matthews is beginning a three-year legislation diploma on the tender age of 79.

She’s not even the oldest pupil on her new course on the College of West London in Brentford.

Sitting subsequent to her in lectures is 84-year-old Craigan Surujballi.

This is not dabbling in studying with a night course – it is an intensive, full-time diploma, finding out alongside individuals with ambitions to change into legal professionals.

“It’s possible you’ll have a look at me and see an older face – as might many younger individuals,” says Maureen.

“However via my eyes I am experiencing the identical aspirations that I had earlier than.

“It is at all times been to interact in involving myself in schooling,” she says.

Maureen says older individuals shouldn’t be intimidated by the prospect of studying in an atmosphere historically related to the younger.

Consider the legislation college movie Legally Blonde, however when it comes to overturning ageism moderately than sexism.

“All older individuals are able to being up for a problem. They have been via life the place they’ve needed to meet many challenges,” says Maureen.

If there are sensible issues, similar to mobility, she says they’re by no means insurmountable and assist is obtainable.

“I’d say to older individuals, recognise the truth that your listening to might have decreased, your eyesight might not be nearly as good because it was earlier than, possibly you possibly can’t use the pc very effectively, however take into consideration methods that can allow you.”

This prolonged to collaborating within the freshers’ week occasions for brand new college students, which she says gave her an opportunity to socialize with different new college students on the college.

However this isn’t a sugar-coated story.

Craigan got here to England from the Caribbean within the early 1960s, after a protracted journey by sea.

He says it was a time of a lot discrimination, in housing and work, however he had a deep starvation to maintain finding out and educating himself.

He was in his 30s earlier than he studied for his A-levels – however his ambition to change into a lawyer eluded him.

At the least till now. Even when he does not get to practise as a lawyer, he says he may be capable of assist with authorized issues at a Residents Recommendation workplace.

When about half of younger individuals now go into increased schooling, it is simple to neglect how a lot college was as soon as out of attain for the overwhelming majority of individuals.

Within the 1950s, when Craigan and Maureen have been of their 20s, there have been fewer than 20,000 pupil locations annually.

Regardless that the variety of older college students has elevated, it is nonetheless solely a comparatively tiny quantity grabbing this second likelihood to study.

The newest figures from the Larger Training Statistics Company present there have been 25 college students beginning full-time undergraduate levels after the age of 70, out of a cohort of virtually half one million.

Nonetheless, the charges system is in some ways extra beneficiant to older college students. There is no such thing as a higher age restrict on loans to cowl tuition charges – and with repayments based mostly on earnings, it is unlikely that many pensioners will ever pay again what they’ve borrowed.

The College of West London is uncommon within the extent of the variety of its consumption. It is a good distance from the Pimms and ivy-clad-buildings finish of upper schooling.

Virtually three-quarters of scholars listed here are over the age of 21 after they enter.

It has one of many highest proportions of state college pupils – 98% – and greater than half of scholars are from ethnic minorities and from households the place no-one has beforehand been to college.

The college has different college students starting diploma programs at a time of life when a few of their age group could be interested by early retirement.

Rita can be finding out legislation – and is a college pupil concurrently two of her daughters.

She desires to check legislation due to the injustices she says she has seen dealing with girls in her neighborhood, notably over points similar to home violence.

Clifford, sitting along with her within the college cafe, labored when his son was going via college.

Now it is his flip and he desires to have the ability to perceive the legislation in order that he can get up for individuals extra successfully as a union consultant.

Legislation lecturer Mike Derks says the vary of ages “match collectively fairly seamlessly”.

Educating older college students may be very rewarding. “They appear to get extra out of it. It is uncommon, however they’re nonetheless very engaged.”

However what do the younger college students make of discovering themselves alongside classmates sufficiently old to be their grandparents?

“At first it was fairly bizarre. But it surely was really fairly good, since you admire them,” says Patrice Murdoch.

“It exhibits you can begin schooling at any age and you’ll at all times return. It is loopy how a lot they know. It makes us look not so up with it,” she says.

“If something I really feel it is inspirational that they will come again into schooling they usually at all times appear to have extra information,” mentioned Millie Mbabazi.

“I haven’t got any destructive stereotypes about older individuals. It’s actually simply me, however older.”

Omar Idrees says: “Maureen and Craigan are an inspiration to all of us.

“They’ve proved to us that regardless of how outdated you’re, it doesn’t matter what life has put you thru, you possibly can stroll in and say, ‘That is what I’ve at all times needed to do. I am nonetheless younger, I can nonetheless do it.'”

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Revealed at Fri, 13 Oct 2017 23:18:26 +0000