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Monday, July 22, 2024

53-year-old mother bags masters degree 22 years after earning her bachelors, wins best student award

A 53-year-old woman named Hafizah Osman has bagged a master’s degree from Griffith University,Queensland, Australia  21 years after she earned her bachelor degree. She also graduated as the univeersity’s best graduating student.

Hafizah worked as a  multimedia producer and news editor for 21 years before she moved to the education sector in 2017 as the head of e-learning at the National University of Singapore.

To perform better in her new job, Hafizah went back to school in 2021, 22 years after she earned her bachelors degree. She enrolled for  master’s degree programme in learning and professional development (MLPD) at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

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She earned her master’s degree at Griffith University in partnership with the Institute for Adult Learning in Singapore. Hafizah topped her class and was the overall best graduating student of her cohort.



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Talking about how she juggled work and studies, Hafizah said before she fully committed to something, she usually has some doubts, particularly regarding the amount of time it would require but because she had previously been a part-time student before she married and did not have any family responsibilities, so she was aware that it would be difficult.

“Before I took the plunge, I had some reservations, especially in terms of time commitment. Having had experience as a part-time student when I was single and had no family commitments, I knew it was… a challenge,” she said.

Hafizah said when she worked as a multimedia producer in Singapore Press Holdings from 1996 to 1999, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Language and Linguistics from the Open University in the United Kingdom.


Hafizah said she initially doubted whether she could study again at a much older age but she was motivated by the fact that the further studies would be directly linked to her work, in an area where she started her career.

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She said in 1991, she became a teacher after completing her A levels and getting a teaching diploma from the National Institute of Education. Hafizah also mentioned that her family supported her fully, and reassured her that she was capable of doing her master’s degree.

“My husband is definitely my biggest supporter, cheering me on. And my children were my inspiration as they studied through Covid-19,” she said.

She began her master’s program first-year learning online due to Covid-19 restrictions. Hafizah said as the appointed cohort leader, she found it challenging to maintain connections online to ensure that everyone had the information they needed when they needed it.

She said it was only in their second year that she and her coursemates were able to effectively share ideas with and learn from each other.

Hafizah stated that she hopes to continue her learning, even if it is not through formal pathways. “You have to continue learning because the world is changing. It’s evolving every single second, and you cannot afford to be left behind,” she said.

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