IT took her five years but that didn’t stop Datuk Dr Mary Yap from achieving her goal - to become a PhD holder.
The Deputy Higher Education Minister recently received her PhD from Asia e-University, a collaborative multinational university initiated by the Asia Cooperation Dialogue.
Around 3,600 students graduated during the e-varsity’s sixth convocation ceremony at the Putra World Trade Centre last Saturday.
“Embarking on a doctoral programme has been my dream.
“It took me five years to complete it and I must thank my supervisor who was very patient and competent in guiding me through my academic journey,” she said.
Dr Yap’s thesis centred on a case study investigating the leadership practices of a head teacher in a remote primary school in Sarawak.
She said it was the “most difficult and long drawn academic effort” she has put herself through.
It was definitely a sacrifice of time, she added.
“I was very grateful when I received my PhD. It is something that I have earned,” she said.
She said her responsibilities as a wife, mother and grandmother, deputy minister and member of parliament meant she had to be firm with herself with how she divided her time.
In trying to balance between her numerous responsibilities and working on her PhD, she would catch up with her thesis during flights back to Tawau, Sabah, her constituency.
“It was two-and-a-half hours of no disturbance. It was the time I did a lot of thinking, analysis and reflection.”
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was present to witness Dr Yap receive her scroll.
“He is a strong believer of lifelong education.
“He would grant me the leave that I would need to take to complete my work - he’s a real leader,” said Dr Yap, who thanked Idris for his support.
She also advised the younger generation not to stop their education after receiving their degrees.
“Don’t stop when you earn one degree.
“It is important to continue (your) professional development,” she added.
Chairman’s Award recipient Ngu Mei Ee was happy that her efforts have paid off.
Ngu, who obtained a Master’s of Education, said studying part time was not easy as she had to juggle her work as teacher.
“I would give myself one week to complete one (assignment).
“One must have strong determination and must be very disciplined,” said Ngu, 30.
The Sarawak native advised students not to leave their work to the eleventh hour.
“Equal priority must be given to work and studies,” she added.
Azmi Othman, 41, pursued a degree in History but his aca-demic journey came to a halt when he got married.
“When you embark on something, be sure to complete it.
“I am grateful that I finally completed my education,” said Azmi, who completed his Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education).
Mahani Zainal Abidin award recipient Tie Ting Huat decided to sacrifice his career to focus on his Master’s of Business Administration full time.
“Now that I’ve completed my Masters, I’m going to focus on my career,” said Tie, 34.
He advised students not to be afraid to make decisions.
“I find that today, once a person starts working, they feel it’s hard to progress in their studies.
“In order to progress, you cannot be afraid,” he said.