Mobile Literacy Training Programme for Senior Citizens

India is fast moving towards a cashless and digital economy. The use of the mobile phone/cell is increasing rapidly and with a view to making its usage, elder-friendly, this training programme was organised.

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has opened up an economy that would be cashless and digital. For this, he has advocated the use of the mobile phone as a ‘personal banker.’

The President of ILC-I, Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, himself a scientist and technocrat of international repute, and Mr. Jayant Umranikar, Chairman, ILC-I, who also believes in dynamic innovation, propounded that ILC- I should help seniors gear up towards such an economy and make the mobile/cell, a ‘friend’ of the elders.

Taking up on this concept, ILC-I, arranged four half-day training programmes with the support of Gharda Chemicals on the 16th of January, 20th of January, 8th of February and 15th of February 2017 to make the seniors become more comfortable with their mobile phones and use its different features to make life more qualitative.

A professional software and technical expert was engaged to train the seniors in batches of 15 to 17 elders. Some of the young ILC-I team staff members, all of whom were adept in mobiles and the related technology, also pitched in to assist and aid the senior citizens.

The training programmes were completely a hands-on experience for the seniors who were given basic information of the uses of a mobile, the various apps, how to download them, how to create a g-mail address, typing in the regional language (Marathi), using of the various apps, especially for making online payments of utility bills like the electricity and telephone charges, using Facebook, What’s App, Skype and You Tube, amongst the many other features that a mobile phone has to offer.

The phobia that quite a few elderly had towards the mobile phone was completely wiped off by the end of the training and the senior citizens were quite happy to use their mobiles for services other than just making and receiving phone calls.

ILC-I also distributed complimentary copies of a book on ‘Smart Phones’ written by the technical expert for them to refer to whenever in doubt.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable learning experience for the senior citizens, and their child-like enthusiasm and energy as they learnt how to use the mobile with all its different features was truly exciting.

A seven days certificate course on “Gerontology” of UN INIA(United Nations’ International Institute on Ageing), Malta, was organized by ILC-I in collaboration with the Dr. D. Y. Patil University, Pimpri from the 19th to the 25th of January 2013 at the Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical college, Pimpri. Twenty-six participants from different professions and occupations attended the course. The faculty included Dr. Joseph Troisi, Director, UN INIA, Malta, Dr. RajgopalDharChakraborty, UN INIA , Malta and Prof. Dr. Siva Raju, Prof. &Dean, School of Development, Dean,Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Certificates were given to the participants for successfully completing the course.

Under the aegis of the YashwantraoChavan Birth Centenary Celebrations three lectures on “ Revitalising the Higher Education in Maharashtra- An engine for Socio-economic growth” by Dr. Arun Nigavekar, Former Chairperson, University Grants Commission & Vice President, ILC-I on the 3rd of August 2012; “India’s Financial Policy- Then and Now” by Dr. R. S. Deshpande, Director, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore on the 11th of October 2012; “Defence of India in relation to Pakistan and China” by Air Marshal B. N. Gokhale (Retd.) on the 3rd of January 2013 were organized by ILC-I in collaboration with the BharatiVidyapeeth University.