'Ransacker' - the Gaelic word rannsachadh meaning search, explore, scrutinise, discover, plunder etc - originally Old Norse.
is the official name of a bold educational opportunity for Older
People. The proposal - 'an educational adventure for Older People' was
launched by BGOP as a UK pilot in Plater and Ruskin adult residential
colleges in April 2004.
The idea and the implementation proposal were approved unanimously
at the BGOP Conference in 2000. The older people there emphasised that
maturity and experience are assets, which a fresh educational approach
could develop to the benefit of all.
The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation support the initiative, where
approximately 30 people spend a preparatory weekend, followed by a term
in residence at one of the four colleges. Each college has full support
services, including IT, literacy and numeracy skills teaching.
The central principle of the scheme is that the Ransackers students,
choose, with the help of tutors, a project of their own design. The
idea for a project, question, or topic will come from the individuals
own thinking and reflection on their experience of life and work, and
their concerns and interests in today's world. There are no
examinations or tests and each student has an individual supervisor who
encourages development. Ransacker students live side by side with
younger adults and this in itself is an enriching education from which
both young and old benefit - a genuine intergenerational learning
The project is open to people over the age of 50 who have not
previously benefited from further education. Potential students need to
have a commitment to learning and feel they have something to
contribute to benefit the community.
Government for Older People (BGOP),
25-31 Ironmonger Row, London, EC1V 3Q