The Bar Council of India, has stated that those above 22 years cannot seek admission in law schools. Now, is that fair? Age should never be a restriction for those wishing to further their education. Anyone who has gone back to school, or even attempted to study after a break can vouch how difficult a task it is.
A 10+2 of school followed by three years of undergraduation and two years postgraduation is a natural sequence of studying for most of us. There are times a break might be necessary; it could be the finances, or the inability to clear the entrance test, limited seats and intense competition. Some land up with a good job immediately after undergraduation and thus postpone the studying for a while.
At home, the Man went back for his masters a few years ago after a break of 30 years. It was not easy. He had to appear for the entrance test. After having cleared the first hurdle, he had to ensure minimum attendance to appear for the final exam. The lecturers were many years his junior and some of them were intimidated by his presence and would not show up when he was around. However, he persevered and succeeded.
I went for a course in french ( three courses to be exact). My sole aim was to learn the correct pronunciation . I preferred the mid morning classes. The students were mostly part-time workers or those in night shifts and a few housewives . I was the oldest in the group. And since it was the basic course , we all had to introduce ourselves in french; state our name, age and date of birth. At my turn, I noticed, quite a few heads looked up from their books. I was very diligent and the family cooperated and ensured meals were cooked and served while I struggled with the assignments. I must admit, if not modestly, that my notes were in demand among students who missed their classes.
For anyone above 30, getting back to school is no cakewalk. All things being equal in terms of the requisite qualifying certificate degree and marks, age should not come in the way of higher education. An older student is more mature and comes with a more favourable attitude to class. They come with rich experiences and class discussions could be more meaningful. Lecturers as well as students could benefit from this interaction.
A couple of years ago an 80 year old grandmother earned a law degree from Syracuse University. She had some difficulty, she said, carrying the heavy books to class, otherwise she managed rather well taking down her notes in longhand as opposed to others who keyed in on their laptops. She submitted all her assignments on time and earned the respect of her fellow students as well as teachers.
It is only right that age restrictions be relaxed, and while ensuring that youngsters are not deprived of their seats, allow the aspiring older students to pursue their dream.