Not too old to learn: Fatima Kurfi, the septuagenarian who earned a degree


Education is not just for the young. That is exemplified in the story of Hajiya Fatima Kurfi, a Septuagenarian who returned to school about a decade ago to earn a degree.

At the time of graduation, she was already a 79-year-old granny.

With a degree in Islamic Studies at Al-Qalam University, Katsina State, Hajiya Kurfi is one of those who had exemplified the notion that you are not too old to learn.

The mother of four and grandmother of about 20 had completed her degree in 2009 but she gained admission into Al-Qalam University in 2005.

The old woman who completed her Bachelor’s degree programme in 2009 had her convocation ceremony
in 2016 as a result of the deferment of her convocation ceremony till May 2016.

Al-Qalam University had had to host a combined convocation ceremony for seven graduating sets of the school.

Unlike many of her age-mates who would have ignored further formal education, she embraced education wholeheartedly.

Maman Kurfi (as she’s also known), who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school while growing up, broke the jinx as someone who has always been willing to be educated. She started with learning how to read and write when she got married to her husband, Dr. Ahmadu Kurfi who later relocated to England.

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Dr Kurfi was for many years a teacher and had previously served as a Federal Permanent Secretary. She would later join him over there before they returned to Nigeria.

Quite after she returned from England with her husband, she enrolled in an Arabic Teachers’ College for her Secondary school education, where she was in the same class with one of her
grand-kids, before obtaining a Diploma at Danfodio College, Katsina.

Her quest for education earned her the reward to further her education which later got
admitted into Al-Qalam University in 2005.

Now close to her 90s, Hajiya Kurfi currently runs a private school children and a non-governmental organisation, which aims at advocating for the education of the girl child.

Though, she did not proceed for higher degrees, she has remained committed to doing her further academic studies at home by studying books and research papers written by her husband.

The story of Hajiya Fatima Kurfi is a proof that age is not a barrier from being educated as education is a lifelong process.

Being a literate was not enough for her. She already had a successful home too. Stories like hers show that no one is considered too old to return to school.

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