A Decade of LearningWebmaster
Changes to my life are sparked by dreams. At 80, I can truly say that I have always tried to act on those dreams, even in retirement.
In the early 1960s, I worked as a teacher. After spending years teaching school students, I was reassigned to the State Resource Centre, where I finally retired. In 2007, at the age of 67, I decided to do something about my dream – to continue learning. So I enrolled at OUM and there was no turning back.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 2011, and a Master of Education three years later. Last year, I completed my Doctor of Education. Having experienced two convocations in my 70s, I had been looking forward to donning the mortarboard again for the third time as an octogenarian. However, this was not possible, as the University had to shelve convocation ceremonies due to the pandemic.
The early stages of pursuing my dreams were not a bed of roses. I was unfamiliar with the blended learning approach, so my study was punctuated with triumphs and disasters. I realised I lacked computer skills and immediately looked for ways to remedy this. Eventually, with support from various quarters, I managed to bridge this gap and soldiered on with greater conviction.
I owe my academic journey to the support I received from OUM. Where innovations underpin teaching and learning, flexible approaches are widely utilised to enable learning anytime and anywhere, synchronously and asynchronously. The curriculum is structured to facilitate information processing while critical learning experiences emphasising key skills are often included.
I was impressed with the study approach, particularly the scope and depth that matched my interests. It made it easier to pursue my goals with greater determination and discipline. I tried my best to be diligent in completing my tasks and also learnt presentation techniques based on facts, as well as critical and creative reasoning. I feel that my efforts have led to a more satisfying and exciting experience.
Something else that made me happy to study at OUM is the attention that goes beyond learning. One example is the tuition fee waiver, which I enjoyed during my bachelor’s and master’s degree studies. In addition, I was also given senior citizen discounts. I appreciated these benefits and they strengthened my resolve to strive even harder.
The Kuantan Learning Centre is also a source of inspiration. Staff are supportive and handle learner concerns very well. They earned my trust and confidence through their commitment and friendly approach. As a result, visiting the learning centre was always a pleasant experience.
In 2013, I was appointed as an OUM icon, which gave me the chance to share my experiences with fellow learners. I also added another feather in my cap when I was honoured with a national award for outstanding academic performance in higher education institutions for senior citizens aged 65 years and above.
My decade of learning was a dream made possible by a combination of fortuitous events and motivating factors. The toil of so many years holds a special place in my memory, and I often look back to relive the golden moments with gratitude. Although those years have enriched my life, I remain a learner at heart, always seeking to discover something new.
To everyone in OUM, I have one final message – pursue your dreams. If I can do it, so can you.
Dr Koh Kwang Meng is a three-time OUM graduate. He graduated from the Doctor of Education programme in 2020 and lives in Kuantan.
By Dr Koh Kwang Meng