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Two Senior Graduates Share Their Convocation Insights

Age Not a Barrier to Learning as Dr. Khalidah and Rahim Uncover Fresh Opportunities


The ability to engage in lifelong learning is fast becoming a critical component of preparedness in today's age of disruption. Education and technology, taken together, can foster collective impact that can be felt across various social and economic spheres.


As an education innovator, at UTP, we are constantly seeking creative ways to tear apart the barriers to learning. With the right education support, we believe everyone can thrive and augment their contribution to the community. Significantly, above the glamour of doctorate titles, research awards and professional careers, education is powering people from all walks of life and ages—reinvigorating careers and harnessing talents.


Dr. Khalidah-min.JPGThe author of two business management and business ethics books for higher learning institutions, Dr. Khalidah, A PhD in Social Science and Humanity graduate says, "It's been a long time coming. As a single mother, I did not want the pain of guilt for the time spent on my PhD which would otherwise have been spent with my children, rob them of the chance to do well in their lives."


After her children have scaled the heights of education, with three of them making the grade as medical doctors, Dr. Khalida is contented to have finally finished her doctorate degree. She shares that the last few years have been a revelation as she was able to give full commitment to her PhD research endeavours.


"I feel blessed and thankful to Allah for giving me the drive to complete my PhD. It had taken me 6 years to finish it." According to Dr. Khalidah, a senior lecturer at the Department of Management and Humanities, UTP, her hectic schedule as an academician and a writer forced her to put her PhD study on hold, as prioritisation and sacrifices needed to be made for her children.


Decidedly, after obtaining her PhD, Dr. Khalidah wants to broaden her career in the fields of academic and writing. She says, "I'll be retiring this February, but I won't stop there. I'd like to carry on and I will be looking out for more avenues to impart the experience and knowledge I have. I want to help the nation in the development of business ethics and social responsibility."


Being the most senior to graduate at UTP's recent 19th convocation at the age of 63, Dr. Khalidah says, "One of the reasons why the number of women doctoral students is on the decline in Malaysia owes to the fact that employers are not very supportive of women at work who want to further their education."


"Within organizations, HR systems need to be realigned to support women at work in view of the nation's ambitions." Consequently she says, many women choose not to do it. Urging a change in perspective, she says, "It's time for Malaysia to seriously look into this as we have so many talented and smart women in the country."


En Rahim-min.jpegMeanwhile, Abdul Rahim Md Arshad, 55, an MsC in Petroleum Geoscience graduate says, "I've been in the geoscience industry for 30 years. Two years ago, my former colleague who is now with CSI (UTP's Centre of Excellence in Subsurface Seismic Imaging and Hydrocarbon Prediction) offered me a role as an adjunct lecturer for two years between 2014 and 2016 while I was still working. Along the way, I've learned that the post-graduate programmes here are really good."


From the visits, Rahim has grown familiar of the university's research expertise. After receiving his graduation scroll at UTP's recent 19th convocation, he says, "Because of my passion for research and the quality of the lab equipment they have here, I was able to enhance my knowledge in seismic data processing."


As he has a wealth of working experience, Rahim says, he has often become a reference point for other petroleum geoscience students at the university. He says, "Previously, one foreign student from Sudan came here for an internship programme and I willingly obliged to tutor him along with three other local students."


Besides outlining industry opportunities and challenges for his fellow course mates, going forward, Rahim will be pursuing multiple interests in teaching and research. "I have already started my PhD in geoscience here to further my research," he adds.


In a nutshell, lifelong learning is a theme that is widely practiced at UTP. Regardless of age, our profound role in education is helping our people to create the opportunities they need to reach their potential. In addition, from the work we do, we foster long-term relationships with our global social-impact partners to prepare our students, people and researchers as global citizens.


As a leading university in engineering, science and technology, our graduates are driven to exceed their professional objectives and contribute towards overcoming capability deficit across all sectors and industries.


Published on 3 December 2019