Graduate at 67, Muslim Parking Attendant Fulfills Life Dream

SINGAPORE – A Singaporean Muslim woman has obtained her bachelor degree in Islamic studies at the age of 67, fulfilling her childhood dream and offering younger Muslims a role model to follow.

“I didn’t want age to be an obstacle to my learning,” Rokiah Omar told Singapore’s Sunday Times on Sunday, April 16.

Fond of reading, Omar said she has always wished she had attended a madrasah, Islamic school, when she was a child.

The retired parking attendant, who did not graduate with O levels, got her first diploma in the Arabic language in her 40s.

With the support of her husband, three daughters, and two grandchildren, she obtained her degree after 11/2 years of part-time study.

Her thesis examined the role of Muslim women in Singapore, and she looked to Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob and family physician Elly Sabrina as examples.

“I hope to be a role model for others my age, to not give up and to pursue lifelong learning,” she said.

In graduation party held yesterday, Omar was the oldest among the Jamiyah Education Centre’s (JEC) 33 graduates.

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman praised her, saying lifelong learning is one of the tenets of Islam.

He encouraged the graduates to take advantage of their SkillsFuture credit to improve their skills and “guarantee a brighter future”.

He asked graduates to use their knowledge to help others get a better understanding of Islam.

“Give guidance to members of the public, especially those who are on the Internet with information that is less accurate, but can become viral quickly,” he said.