Thursday 15 November, 2018

69-year-old Trini farmer graduates from Scottish university

69-year-old farmer, Ramgopaul Roop, has shown that it's never too late to pursue and achieve your dreams. 

The Trinidadian farmer graduated with an Masters of Business Administration with Distinction from Edinburgh Napier University last year, and finally made the trip to Edinburgh this month to receive his certificate.

The university congratulated Roop with in a social media post on Friday:

"Congratulations to Ramgopaul, who today graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a Masters of Business Administration – at the age of 69!"

"Trinidad-based Ramgopaul Roop achieved academic success even though his parents Poyah and Roop Bataw could not read or write."

"He fulfilled his ambition by combining full-time work on his smallholder farm under the blazing tropical sun with long nights of study, sometimes until sunrise," the post said.

A story on the university's website explained how Roop achieved his goal with the support of his wife, Beena, and dog, Coco, as he completed full-time work on his farm, while studying late into the night.

Roop, who has three children who have all attended university, said his experience was 'challenging but stimulating.

“The past 32 months have been very challenging but stimulating. It shows there is no age limit to academic achievement and personal professional development.”

“This being the last chance on the last train, the only option was to sit tight and hold on," he said.

Ramgopaul – who is regional administrator of the Caribbean Agribusiness Association – studied online at Edinburgh Napier, one module per trimester.

He was supported by his wife Beena, who read and re-read drafts, and even the family dog, Coco, who had a special bed made up in Ramgopaul’s study.

The university said Roop finished his programme late last year but was unable to travel to Edinburgh as he has other commitments, so he received his degree at this summer’s graduations instead.

Roop used the research from his MBA dissertation to help develop a policy framework for the cassava industry – a 21st century multi-purpose crop thought to have the potential to transform the economy of the Caribbean.

Soil and water management techniques on his farm which can pave the way for intensive vegetable and tree crops production were also praised as “a diversification dream” in his submission to the 2017 Global Contest on Sound Solution in Farming for Biodiversity. 

Ramgopaul said: “The skills acquired in writing assignments and my dissertation are now being applied in my everyday activities.”

Ramgopaul had been introduced to the work of the university by Southpoint Education International, which supports online, distance degrees offered by Edinburgh Napier.

Mammed Bagher, Director of MBA Programmes at Edinburgh Napier, said: “Ramgopaul’s achievement is testament to our ethos of education for all, regardless of age or social background.”

He added: “Our global online suite of MBA programmes is suitable for learners who are unable to take part in the traditional classroom environment. We are continuously investing in our online staff and student community so all our learners feel very much part of the wider university network without physically being present.”