At school for a reason

Mature students show dedication and help their classmates

by Andrea Iseman
Life Reporter
Published: February 28, 2008

Humber’s mature students are more committed and passionate than younger students, according to Muthana Zouri, program co-ordinator of the school of information technology.

“For mature students, coming here is by choice,” he said. “All the students coming have made a commitment for success.”

The Ontario college graduate certificate programs, such as those which are technology-based, have the highest number of full-time students over the age of 35. Eighteen per cent of enrollment population is 35 and older, compared to diploma programs, which only hold three per cent.

Zouri said this is not surprising because most of the older students leave their jobs, countries and families to upgrade their education and earn a better living.

“They are all coming with a background, seeking better opportunities,” he said. “They have to make sure this is what they are looking for, because it is a choice for life, not experimental.”

Lynda Hausman, a teacher in the post-graduate enterprise software development program, said mature students come to class, concentrate and do the work.

“They are here and have a vested interest here,” she said. “Usually you just see high school kids playing video games on the computer.”

Teaching both older and younger students in the program has never been a problem for Housman because students can compare experiences and share insight.

“They have an open mind,” said enterprise software development program student Svitlana Protas, 37. “They want to learn from us, and are more funny and relaxed.”

Protas also said that younger students sometimes ask her for tips on how to use the programs and on how they manage to complete everything on time.

Classmate George Sayegh, 35, said he felt the same way and added the different backgrounds everyone has is a positive thing, and does not create conflict between students.

“I like it because it is a family here,” he said. “We are in a humorous environment and are getting more experiences.”

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