A 48-year-old father returned to campus 27 years after graduating from high school, aiming to set an example for his laid-back son to encourage him to seek higher education.
The 48-year-old father, Ko Pen-lung (蓋本隆), had served as a school bus driver shuttling professors between the different campuses of the China University of Technology (CUT) for six years when he resolved to pick up his textbooks a few years back.
The real push came after he noticed his son, Ko Yang-yi (蓋揚義), then a second-grader at a vocational high school, showing little interest in pursuing further education.
So he decided to set a good example for his son.
Ko Pen-lung initially enrolled in a two-year junior college program at CUT. After graduation, he decided to continue his studies and filed for admission to a further two-year program.
“I had always bemoaned the fact that I had merely graduated from high school. Now I can finally tick the box marking ‘graduate of two-year junior college program’ when filling out questionnaires,” Ko Pen-lung said.
While Ko Pen-lung’s original purpose in going back to school was to encourage his son, he found he enjoyed studying and it gave him a sense of achievement. Now he is planning to enter a master’s of business administration program in September.
Despite having to work during the day, Ko Pen-lung still manages to make time for his studies. He plasters notes from his coursework beside the steering wheel of his bus and makes good use of the brief period after school and work.
Following the example set by his father, 21-year-old Ko Yang-yi is currently a junior student at the same college his father attends.
Not only are father and son classmates, they are both the top students in their classes.
While the father now drives the school’s chairman, the son works part-time at the school’s center for general education.
The two also compete with each other, but in a friendly, positive manner.
“I tell myself, whatever my father can achieve, I can, too,” Ko Yang-yi said.
“There are times when I come home and find my father already sitting at the desk studying, and that is a spur for me to work harder and more diligently,” he added.
The father said he used to enjoy sinking into the sofa after a long day of work, but now that looks like a waste of time, adding that he should have picked up his textbooks sooner.
CUT president Ku Chia-hung (谷家恆) praised the Kos, saying “the best family education a father could offer is by setting a good example himself.”
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer