M’sian Grandfather Of 17 Earns PhD At 79, Overcame Struggles With Vision & Studying Online

79-Year-Old Malaysian Grandfather Earns PhD In Malay Literature From National University Of Malaysia

Time and time again, seniors have proven that age is not a barrier when it comes to furthering one’s education.

The latest addition to this esteemed club is a Malaysian grandfather of 17, who recently completed his PhD at 79.

Source: Sinar Harian

As if his age was not impressive enough, he also had to overcome struggles with his vision and studying online in the process.

He cited the support of his family and university supervisors as the main reasons that kept him going.

79-year-old PhD holder suffered from cataracts & travelled interstate for studies

According to Sinar Harian, the man, Dr Muharam Awang, earned his PhD in Malay Literature from the National University of Malaysia aka Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

The father of seven and grandfather of 17 joined 7,255 fellow graduates in November at the university’s 51st convocation in receiving their scrolls.

Source: Fakulti Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan UKM on Facebook

His age presented a host of issues, one of them being cataracts which affected his vision.

“My eyes were blurry and I was not able to read while finishing my thesis,” he recalled.

Fortunately, he was able to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery last May.

Being from Malacca, he also had to travel interstate frequently as the university is located in Selangor.


The journey takes two hours by car on average.

At the start, Dr Awang also had difficulty studying online as he lacked computer skills.

79-year-old grandfather motivated by thirst for knowledge to pursue PhD

As for what drove him to study for a PhD at his age, Dr Awang said he has a deep love and thirst for knowledge.

This motivated him to complete his studies despite the lofty task of writing a thesis.

In the early days of his career, he was a primary school teacher.

At the time, high school teachers were regarded more highly, which led him to develop a sense of inferiority.

Spurred on by someone who challenged him, Dr Awang then decided to pursue a diploma in 1965.

Prior to his retirement, he taught General Studies to Form 6 (Malaysia’s equivalent of A-Levels) students and became a college lecturer.

PhD holder sought help from son to type out thesis

In the process of pursuing his PhD, Dr Awang was able to lean on those around him for support.

Source: Kosmo

For instance, he sought the help of his son, who lives in Johor, to type out his thesis.

Before that, he had received guidance and support from his university supervisors in conducting proper research.

He also acknowledged the support of his wife, 71-year-old Madam Fuziah Md Taha.

Besides that, seeing his children take on their tertiary studies motivated him greatly.

Speaking about his feelings on receiving his PhD, Dr Awang said he now feels a sense of satisfaction that is hard to put into words.

Anything is possible with determination & the support of loved ones

At almost 80, Dr Awang has shown that nothing is impossible if you want it enough and have loved ones to rally around you.

MS News congratulates him on this incredible achievement and wishes him all the best in whatever he chooses to take on next.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at

Featured images adapted from Fakulti Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan UKM on Facebook and Sinar Harian.

Rachel Fong

Rachel prides herself on having a meme or GIF response to everything. She also loves collecting Telegram sticker packs.

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