A 76-year-old man sat for China’s Kaoyan, i.e. National Postgraduate Entrance Examination (NPEE) which kicked off last weekend. It was Zou Weimin’s fifth time to do so in an admirable bid to get a postgraduate qualification, according to CGTN.
Zou took the exam at the test centre of Jiaxing Technician College in east China’s Zhejiang Province – after a lifetime of different jobs such as sales, warehouse management and teaching. Growing up poor, he had to forego his love for reading and chosen to work instead. But he kept his dream of going to college.
“If you stop reading, you will feel empty,” Zou said.
“People must have ambition. It is never too old to learn.”
Zou sat for the gruelling Gaokao, China’s national entrance exam to join undergraduate courses in its universities when he was 63 years old. He was then enrolled in the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences and became the country’s oldest college student.
Zou then joined the Environmental Engineering Department at Jiaxing University in 2012 and graduated in 2014. His next challenge after that was to pass the national postgraduate entrance exam.
CGTN notes that 2.38 million Chinese will sit the national postgraduate entrance exam, an increase of 370,000 from last year, citing Education Ministry’s figures.
Zou joins the likes of other senior citizens studying towards their degrees and doctorates in their late years. Earlier this year, Britain’s 86-year-old Peggy Styles received her EdD – the educational equivalent of a PhD after leaving school when she was 15 without any formal qualifications.
At Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, online History MSc Matthew Lynas became the School of History, Classics and Archaeology’s oldest graduate this July. Lynas had left school at 16 to practice agriculture and estate management, which took him to places as far as Papua New Guinea. Upon return to the UK, he pursued a different career in the ceramic, glass and mineral industry.
It was only after he had retired that he returned to education and attained a PhD in Non-metallic Materials, a History PhD and a Postgraduate Certificate in Global Development.
“To me, it is a continuous search for finding out how much I have to learn, in the knowledge that the task is unending,” Lynas said.