Back to School Starts Now – Adult Education Reinvigorates Lifelong Learning
If you thought your education ended on the day you graduated from college, think again. More and more adults are returning back to school to learn, well, just for the fun of learning.
Adult education programs are on the rise in Pennsylvania. In Fox Chapel Area and Mt. Lebanon high schools, desks, worktables, kitchens, swimming pools and gymnasiums are filled with folks who pay to attend night classes—not because they are required to learn but because they want to learn. The courses are open to adults who live outside the district, with their fees slightly higher than the tuition paid by residents. Courses are noncredit, meaning they lead to no degree, with the exception of classes in Fox Chapel Area that help adults earn high school diplomas. The age of participants ranges from early 20s to senior citizens.
Some of the hot favorites include watercolor painting and other crafts, cooking and gardening, while fitness classes like swimming, basketball, dance and yoga are usually packed to capacity. For those seeking more cerebral courses, there are an array of foreign languages and classes such as Windows to Ireland. Course offerings in both districts are open to suggestions from instructors who may wish to teach a certain course, such as the Clutter and Time Management course offered in Fox Chapel Area. If people sign up, it stays in the curriculum.
Fees are nominal and teachers are paid, but some donate their time. The adult education programs in both districts don’t cost taxpayers a dime. According to Hamsini Rajgopal of Fox Chapel, who has been teaching Indian cooking classes for 14 years, “I think this is important,” she said. “It’s what schools should be doing—educating students to be lifelong learners.”