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Monday, 17 April, 2000, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
90-year-old takes degree
older people learning at computers
Many people now choose to study later in life
A 90-year-old care home resident has become one of the country's oldest students after starting a degree with the Open University.

Dr Frederick Steiner decided to embark on his psychology course to "exercise his brain", and believes 80 is the ideal age to start studying.

"I have always been interested in psychology and how people's minds work," he said.

"My family and friends probably think I'm crazy taking this work on at my age, but they also see it as an achievement that I'm still able to study."

Magnifying glass

Czech-born Dr Steiner, who became a Doctor of Law in 1934, and is a former RAF squadron leader, is able to carry out his studies from the Wilmington Manor BUPA care home in Dartford, Kent.

But although the Open University sends him course material, his task is made more difficult, as he has poor eyesight, and can only read textbooks with the help of a magnifying glass.

The university has presented him with an award in recognition of his efforts, and he is being put forward for a competition for England's oldest learners being run by the Department for Education.

Open University spokeswoman Jan Steadman said: "He's taken on a real challenge by doing a full degree course, and is a very conscientious, cheerful student who we wish all the best."

'Amazing'

Wilmington Manor manager Pat Wakefield said: "We're very proud of Frederick - what he's doing is amazing."

The Open University's oldest graduate on record is a Mr R T Gage, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974 at the age of 94.

At the other end of the scale, its youngest current student is 10-year-old Samuel Solomi, who is studying for a maths degree.

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23 Feb 00 | Education
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30 Dec 99 | Education
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