This Chinese grandmother has spent the last 32 years at university. She still isn’t ready to graduate

At the age of 97 ‘Grandma Peng’ is still taking up to three courses a day and says it’s a better way to pass her retirement than sitting around playing cards

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 6:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2018, 1:10pm

A 97-year-old grandmother in central China is taking the concept of lifelong learning to extremes by refusing to graduate despite spending the last 32 years taking university classes.

Peng Nan, was described by a local newspaper as the oldest student in Wuhan, in Hubei province.

Despite taking more courses than any other student in the city, she told Changjiang Daily News she does not want to stop her studies.

Known as Grandma Peng, she said she would not have been satisfied passing her time playing cards after retiring more than 30 years ago, so enrolled in a university for older people.

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“Playing cards isn’t good for your health,” she was quoted as saying. “University is a way not only to pass the time, but also gain knowledge and make my brain more active.”

Since then she has completed over 20 courses, including painting and calligraphy, and shows little sign of slowing down.

This year Peng has signed up for 10 subjects, and attends up to three classes a day.

Her artworks have featured in many national and provincial-level exhibitions, the report said, winning her over 70 awards.

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“As long as I am able to move, I must continue to learn,” she said.

For the past four years, Peng has worn a white sign around her neck encouraging others of similar age to study. It reads: “Elderly people’s brains need to be active, you must go to university every day.”

“Many people think my mother is crazy for wearing a sign around her neck, but actually her health is good and her train of thoughts are clear,” her son, who attends some classes with her, was quoted as saying.

“She is making a stand to tell them of the benefits of going to university and persuade them to do the same.”

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Peng’s daughter also accompanies her to some classes.

Wuhan offers special courses for over-45s, although there is no upper age limit, and offers facilities that are specially equipped with handrails and lifts for its elderly students.

“Elderly education is a way for old people to re-enter into society,” Peng Kemin, director of the centre for elderly education in Wuhan, was quoted as saying.

“Peng Nan’s spirit of studying is worthy of recognition, but if students are too old there can be a risk for the school, which is responsible for their safety.”