80-year old Thai primary student aims high
80-year-old Grandma Khlong has her eyes set on first completing her primary schooling and, eventually, maybe even getting a degree
By Methee Muangkaew
Grandma Khlong is setting a fine example for others – that learning is not limited by age – and at 80 years-old has her eyes set on first completing her primary schooling and, eventually, maybe even getting a degree.
”Grandma” is Khlong Faikhao, a resident of Yan Ta Khao district in Thailand’s Trang province. She went to Thetsaban 2 School in Muang district on Sunday to sit her primary school exams, along with about 10 other (much younger) students.
The 80-year-old has attended a programme provided by the country’s Office of Non-Formal and Informal Education, part of the Education Ministry, that gives people a chance to improve their level of education and get basic qualifications, degrees and vocational certificates.
It is based in offices in tambons nationwide. More than 1.2 million people attended the basic education programme last year, according to the annual report.
Grandma Khlong said after sitting the tests on Sunday that she decided to join the programme to fulfill her desire to complete at least Prathom 6 (Grade 6). She had dropped out of school when she finished Prathom 4 many years ago.
She had learned to read and write, but one thing that lingered in her mind throughout the years was the lost opportunity to gain a better education, more knowledge.
Returning to the classroom also gave her a chance to meet new friends, she added brightly.
Prapasri Paowal, chief of the Non-Formal and Informal Education Office in tambon Kuan Pring, where Grandma Khlong lives, said her oldest student is living proof that age is not a barrier to learning – as long as the will is there.
Anybody who left school early can take Grandma Khlong as a role model. It’s never too late to get an education.
She has two more semesters to go before she completes Prathom 6, according to Ms Prapasri.
And that will not be the end of the elderly lady’s re-awakened thirst for education.
”I’ll keep on learning until I finish high school levels, or until I can no longer draw a breath,” said Grandma Khlong. Even a degree, maybe.