A 91-year-old woman became the oldest person to graduate from university in Thailand on Wednesday, receiving her bachelor’s degree from King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Kimlun Jinakul who was accompanied by her proud family ,travelled more than 700 km from the northern province of Phayao to Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, near Bangkok, to receive her bachelor’s degree in human ecology.
“It has always been my dream to continue my studies,”
If we don’t learn, don’t read and know nothing, how can we talk with someone else? If we always read — be it a newspaper or listen to news broadcasts — we will be kept abreast with the goings-on in the world, in our country and in the society,” Grandma Kim-lun told local station Thai PBS.
It was her girlhood dream to advance her studies but life got in the way.
She she applied to STOU in 1998, when she was just 70 years old. But, again, life got in the way and she was needed to help out in the family’s business. In 2011, she returned to STOU and has now completed what is designed to be a four-year program, but can really be done as slowly as the student wants.
“When I was young, I actually received good grades.
“I have always enjoyed reading. I even bought manuals to educate myself so I could help my children with their homework.”
Kimlun said she became inspired to continue her formal studies in 2011, once her children and grandchildren had received university educations and found decent jobs.
“It’s never too late to study,” she said.
“She is a very determined person,” said Bhum Juasiripakdee, one of Kimlun’s grandchildren.
The university said Kimlun had not received any special treatment in terms of grading.
In fact, she failed half of her courses and had to retake examinations several times.
“The university provided me with a lot of convenience,” Kimlun said.
“They allocated rooms on the ground floor for me so I did not have to climb the stairs.”
The university is the first in Thailand to offer distance learning to elderly people. Almost 200 people older than 60 have enrolled.