You can’t learn anything new if you’re thirty.


These are some lines from the movie I like a lot in the recent times, Jab We Met.

Kareena: “Main maanti hoon, har koi jo life me really chahta hain na, use wahi milta hai”
Shahid: “kahan? music se bada passion nahi tha mere life mein”
Kareena: “toh? ab life ho gayi hein tumhari?aise bol rahe ho jaise kal mar rahe ho”

When I went to my graduate class for the first time in US, the student body was as eclectic as I could imagine. If there were Undergrads who were more worried abt the ranch in their salad or their belly button ring, there was also this man old enough to be my father sitting with me and taking notes. And in several cases in several classes I’ve seen students much older than me trying to learn something new to make their life better than it was or simply for the joy of it.

Education in India is mostly perceived according to age. If one has spent two extra years to clear their medical entrance, its called wasted but is still acceptable. But anyone who wishes to study medicine at the age of 40 is called insane and the government wont allow him to take the entrances anyway*. Most of the formal education that someone receives should be in his formative years and once he turns thirty he could hardly learn anything new. My Mom is learning block painting and I know a lot of other people who learn what they love informally, but what if one wishes to go through a formal training or wishes to learn something that could only be taught formally (medicine/law/engineering) ?

Learning is a constant process and it should not be restricted on the grounds of age. Age restriction should be taken off the pre-requisites and ones eligibility to enroll into a formal educational process should only depend on his/her aptitude to learn the education imparted.

West Bengal Joint Entrance Exam:
Age Restriction : Applicant shall be between 17 years and 24 years of age on 31st December 2008.

Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive Exam:
Age Limit -> BCECE Entrance Exam
17-22 years on July 1 of the year of admission. (5 years relexation of the upper age limit for the SC/ST candidates).


16 Responses to “You can’t learn anything new if you’re thirty.”

  1. I agree that in India we are supposed to finish our education by a certain age. However I have a few (OK only 2) first year undergraduate students who have worked for 4-5 years after 12th and only now decided to get a degree. I for sure would like to see older students in my classes.

  2. 2 wavesnsands

    I agree too…age should definitely not be a bar for learning new things (be it formal or informal)

    I also think that way too much importance is given to formal eduction in India than anywhere else..someone i knew took a bold step by giving up his degree course because he said he had lost faith in the Indian education system…and he is doing much better as a troubleshooter than his friends who got their degrees..but his decision has affected him in his personal life..no1 seems to want to marry a guy with no degree, however much successful he might be

  3. 3 SK

    Hey Interesting observation, I agree 100%.

  4. Well, there are so many things which we would like to learn but for the sake of our jobs or future, we tend to ignore them. Once we are settled in life, we can & we should be allowed to pursue them.

    Even I want to learn many things which are far from what I do to earn. This was one of the main reasons I always wanted to go/settle abroad when I am retired. 😉

  5. 5 akshar100

    I fully agree with you. Also the fees for elder people can be increased which will reduce the load on government. But our educational infrastructure is so bad that it cant handle young ones how will it handle extra elder people?
    Secondly education in india is just for namesake and useless. I spent 4 years in computer science engineering in a reputed institute of my state. Let me admit if i would have learnt more at home than in that college about computer science.

  6. Nice blog!A name in ur latest post reminded me of my latest

  7. good blog. but not frequently updated. 😦
    we are expecting more buddy!

  8. I can very well identify with this post. I have pursued certain courses later in life and always felt like an outsider. I wish if we can shake off that habit of ours:- “Naak ki seedh mei study karte chale jate hai” 🙂

  9. i am seeing this issue exposed for the 1st time here. why do they have an age ceiling? to make it easier for the kids? how many people above the ceiling would be there for the competition anyway, to make it easier for the kids? mera bharat mahaan

  10. Agree on hundred percent. I mean education is not always equivalent to a career. Sometimes, one may just want to learn. And what if we realize our calling late?

  11. @Mridula: And those two do not feel out of the flock?

    @wavesnsands: That is another issue altogether? Are u ‘qualified’ to be the husband of that girl? ‘qualifications’ being holding a degree equivalent to or more than that the girl holds…hmm this can make another interesting post thogugh.

    @SK: thx 🙂

    @Cuckoo: You wanna go settle abroad when u r retired? have u thought of the cost of health insurance 🙂 ?

    @akshar100: fee again is altogether another different issue and i believe the only thing it should be determined upon is ones economic status.

    n on that learning stuff….lol……count me in.

    @Mez: Kareena? my friends say she’s my fav actress? thats teasing ofcourse 🙂

    @Jithin: I knw, will try to update it frequently frm now, I knw its umpteenth time im saying this, but first time to u 🙂

    @Alka: true, true, esp. when this is so easy to change without raising brows of any major political party. I wonder if its just negligence or there’s no one to raise voice against it.

    @poison: to make it easier for kids? thts funny. people who have similar background (aka pre-requisites) should be allowed to study together… wheres the fun otherwise

    @smita: You have exactly said the gist of my post.

  12. 13 Nova

    Agreed… That was a very nice post indeed… and quite relevant in todays times….

  13. @Nova: thx for stopping by. But I guess the change is coming, I knew some univs had lifted this age restriction. It just needs to be done faster.

  14. 15 Anonymous

    You need to be rich and below 30 to get an education because if you’re not rich enough to pay for school, you have to work for a few years before you can do that. Also you need to have a job to work. Job search takes time. So effectively, that may mean when all this happens you are no longer 30. If you cannot learn beyond 30, that puts a lot of people beyond the reaches of the benefits of higher education. Ridiculous of course, when the truth is one can even learn at 60 if the willingness to do so is there. But looks like the wealthy would want to rig the game in their favor for their young!!!!

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