Sunday, 27 April 2014

Age should not be a barrier to learning.

Former Radio Malaysia broadcaster Elisabeth Kirkby became Australia’s oldest graduate in Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) when she received her degree from the University of Sydney at age 93 recently.

Her thesis was a comparative study of the Great Depression and the Global Financial Crisis, both of which she lived through.
The former Member of Parliament for the Democrats, who was born in Lancashire, England, in 1921, has a diverse and varied career, including as soapy star “Lucy Sutcliffe” in the risque 1970s hit TV show, Number 96, a sheep and wheat farmer, and a journalist.

The great grandmother had worked as broadcaster in Malaya/Malaysia  and Singapore for 15 years after World War 2 before arriving in Sydney in 1965 and joining ABC as an on-air presenter.

In an interview with The Australian newspaper recently, she said: “A love of learning is essential.

“I say that to people, that you really have to have an enthusiasm or passion for something. You can’t believe that when you retire, you just play golf or bowl or sit round with your mates.

“You always have to do something,” said the wife of 1970s feminist health warrior and gynaecologist Derek Llewellyn-Jones, who authored the book Everywoman.
This is certainly inspiring. To excel in one's pursuit is certainly gratifying but to do it at 93 years of age, is far out awesome! 

Believe it or not, age is no barrier to learning.  I have been a part-time lecturer for many years and on two occasions, there was one intake which has a student who was the sales manager of a drink company and he was 52 years. He later went on to obtain his MBA from an UK university. 

At another intake, there was this student, aged 55 years and was the sales manager of a tyre company. He obtained the degree I was lecturing in and subsequently, went on to pursue his MBA. 

I guess the learning process does not cease when one reaches 55. It is on-going till the day we draw our last breath.

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