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Pursuit of knowledge doesn’t have age limit

Anthony Alphonse Xavier who did his MA in Sociology (2015-17) from Goa University securing grade A and also earned the late shri Dilip Kumar Rayu Prabhu Mhambre gold medal and Fr Victor Joao Ganlberto Anes and Arnaldo Tome Berta Epifanio Abez prize at the recently held convocation ceremony, speaks to TGLife about the reason to pursue studies at this age

11th July 2018, 02:29 Hrs

BHARATI PAWASKAR   

   

TG LIFE: How does your family look at your pursuit for knowledge at this age?   

My parents could not complete even schooling and I was the first graduate in my family however my children have high respect for education. My daughter has done UG and PG in Audiology and Speech Pathology and is pursuing her PhD in Speech Science at Graduate Centre, CUNY, New York in USA. My son has studied Visual Communication and Western Dance and is a choreographer in Chennai. Both of them are amazed and are proud of my studies at this age.   

TG: Please share your special experience at Goa University while you registered for MA in June 2015   

I had returned from my US trip on June 3 in 2015 and went to Goa University the very next day to find out about admission formalities. I was not aware that it was (June 4) the last date to apply online. I did not carry my degree mark-sheet so I rushed home and got the documents. Then as the university staff assisted me in filling the details online. But while entering my date of birth the system rejected. It could accept applications only from people born 1960 onwards whereas my birth year was 1952. I had to meet the officer-in-charge who took me to the Vice Chancellor and at VC’s request, the registrar made the necessary alteration in the age criteria. The system was modified to accept applicants born from 1950 onwards. This entire episode took place on the eleventh hour and thus I am the first and oldest admission given after online admission process started at Goa University. 

TG: After post-graduating in Sociology at Goa University, do you intend to study further?   

Yes, I am preparing for my PhD in Sociology in the Western countries (USA/ Germany). Currently I am short listing the Universities, identifying the mentors and their area of specialisation (Topics are to be finalised after the discussion with the mentor), scholarships and other financial assistance, aiming for admission Fall 2019. For Graduate Schools in USA application process starts from Mid-August 2018 and for Graduate Schools in Germany process starts from the last week of October 2018. So yes, I will be enrolling for PhD at the age of 66 as I will be completing 65 on October 2.   

TG: What makes you join 

universities to study further at this age?   

In December 2014 I visited my daughter, a PhD student in Speech Science at Graduate Centre, City University of New York. That six months stay, put me in touch with various academicians and international scholars of different nationality in the age group of 75 to 85 (in regular service). They enlightened me and inspired me to proceed with my PhD to give back to the world the knowledge and experience I have gained over sixty years. This required a stepping stone, MA in today’s system of the curriculum. Also it is self-analysis, how my 65-year-old brain can cope-up with the brains in the age group of the 20s.   

TG: How do you feel attending the classes with younger students?   

Being a man of adaptability and adjustability and having been working with a team of youngsters in my area of social work in Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Goa and various others states, did not find any difficulty in mixing with the younger students who are younger than my own children. The teething period was two months in the beginning. Ultimately, I have learned a lot from them.   

TG: What made you choose 

Sociology?   

 My attachment to humanity and humanism in relation to nature and environment from my school days, and so it is intrinsic! My college days at Nagpur exposed the grass-root levels of various Indian societies. As a subject my exposure to Sociology is only after joining Goa University. Sociology teaches a person humanism, to be more humane. It should make a crying society laugh, laughing society to think and make the thinking society act.   

TG: You graduated in 1973 from 

Nagpur University and post-graduated after a gap of four decades. Why?   

 The gap between 1973 and 2015 (42 years) was my learning period. My stay and work over 10 states of India and over 16 countries overseas has taught me much. There is time for everything. 

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