91-Year-Old Thai Woman Gets Bachelor's Degree

She was enrolled in the university for over ten years.

Kimlan Jinakul obtained a Bachelor's degree from the Sukothai Thammathirat Open University near Bangkok, Thailand at the age of 91.

By Daniela Cobos, International Business Times

A 91-year-old Thai woman completed her Bachelor’s degree Wednesday after over ten years of studies.

[post_ads]Kimlan Jinakul obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in human and family development from the government-run Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University near Bangkok. Jinakul, originally from the Lampang province in northern Thailand, attended one of the best schools in her province as a child. She was unable to attend university. Jinakul married after her family moved to Bangkok and did not finish her studies.

She always encouraged her children to further their education. Four out of five of her children earned a Master’s Degree and one obtained a Ph.D. in the United States.

“I have always wanted my children to be able to study,” she said to BBC Wednesday. “So I encouraged and supported them when they wanted to go to university.”

When one of her daughters took a course at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Jinakul decided to continue her education as well. She enrolled in the university at 72, but dropped out when the daughter she was studying with died.

“After recovering from the loss and sadness, I pushed myself to finish. I’m hoping my daughter’s soul would be pleased to see this,” she said. “It’s never too late. My mind is always awake and sharp for learning.”

Jinakul returned to university at 85. The Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University offers classes geared towards the elderly. This year the university had 199 students over the age of 60. Students are allowed to study part-time and remotely.

“For the elderly, we focus on practicality rather than the academic aspect, so the subject can be studied and put to use immediately,” acting dean of the university, Professor Panumas Kadhgaongnam, said.
Jinakul and her family traveled 450 miles to attend the graduation. Her diploma was presented to her by King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. Thailand’s public universities usually have members of the royal family hand out diplomas.

“I am happy and honored that the king has graciously shown such limitless mercy,” Jinakul said.

Jinakul said the process to obtain her degree was difficult. While she was enrolled in university, she would wake up each morning to give alms to Buddhist monks, visit a temple in her neighborhood and then study.

“When I told myself to finish one chapter, I would try my best to do so. I underlined all the key points I needed to memorize and that’s what helped me during my study reviews,” she said. “I was glad when I passed and sad when I failed, so I retook the exam until I passed.”

Her son Mongkol Jinakul told Thai PBS Wednesday his mother “sometimes felt weary because of her body.” He added, “We as her children tried to cheer her on and mom studied until the end and it was a success.”


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Daily News: 91-Year-Old Thai Woman Gets Bachelor's Degree
91-Year-Old Thai Woman Gets Bachelor's Degree
Daily News
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