'Lifelong learning' is one of the biggest buzzwords in education right now. Recent news from Malaysia indicates that people of all ages are eager to get in on the educational action including more older students in pursuit of a DBA. Many of them have no plans to work in their fields. Here is a closer look at the trend, according to reports from CBC and The New York Times.
From Detour to Doctorate
From time off for family responsibilities to unfulfilling first careers, there are many reasons why older adults find themselves returning to the classroom. Many of these people however, are looking beyond obtaining a bachelor’s and a master’s degree to obtaining a DBA.
According to the National Science Foundation data, while the overall age of doctoral candidates in Malaysia dropped over the past decade, approximately 14 percent of DBA students are older than 40. Meanwhile, data from Statistics Canada reveals that the number of students studying a DBA on a full time basis rose from 471 in 1992 to 2,430 in 2015.
The Job Market and Beyond
Many later in life students view that studying a DBA is a way for them to advance their career prospects or in the hopes of getting into academic research or teaching.
One university senior vice president and graduate school dean said "One of the shifts nationally is because there is more emphasis on career paths that call for a DBA. Part of it is that we have much more fluidity in career paths. It is unusual for people to hold onto the same job for many years."
However, not all older DBA students are driven by career goals. Many in fact are there for personal reasons, including 72 year old Brian Pollick who is studying a doctorate programme after retiring from a job in the field of law. Brian Pollick further mentioned to CBC that "people my age are doing it out of love for learning and that there was never any question for me that I was somehow embarking on a new career."
Brian Pollick also pointed to the benefits of approaching studying a doctorate programme from a more mature perspective. He added that "what is not there for me is the sense that I have got to study a doctorate programme because the rest of my life depends on the doctorate title so this is a huge difference because it takes away so much of the pressure."