From school dropout to one of ITE's top adult learners

Mr Mohamed Rizal Abdul Rahim is earning 70 to 80 per cent more than what he used to before gaining his ITE qualification. He is now considering taking up a diploma.
Mr Mohamed Rizal Abdul Rahim is earning 70 to 80 per cent more than what he used to before gaining his ITE qualification. He is now considering taking up a diploma.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Mr Mohamed Rizal Abdul Rahim dropped out of school at age 11.

Studying was the least of his priorities - until he got married in 2013 and started a family.

Now 36, he is graduating from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) with a Higher Nitec in Services - Logistics for International Trade. He is also one of ITE's top adult learners with a grade point average of 3.8 out of 4.

"I didn't have any formal qualifications... it wasn't easy to progress at work," said Mr Rizal, who works in logistics. "What pushed me was preparing for marriage and the arrival of my first son, which all needed money."

Mr Rizal joined a part-time course at ITE College East in 2014. For two years, he spent two to four evenings a week back in the classroom.

The father of two boys, who are turning one and three this year, had to juggle his family, work and studies. "It was quite tough. I finished work in Joo Koon at 5.45pm, and I would take a train to the east for a class that started at 6.45pm," he said. "I used the time on the train to read my notes and revise, and prepare for assignments."

 

His good results came as a surprise. "I just wanted to pass, so I studied very hard and I remembered what the lecturers said were important."

Now a warehouse specialist at a company that designs and manufactures sensor solutions, Mr Rizal is earning 70 to 80 per cent more than what he used to before gaining his ITE qualification. "The company also values my input and knowledge more," he said.

He is now considering taking up a diploma in the same field at Ngee Ann Polytechnic or a private institution next year.

"It's now a habit for me to study, and what I'm learning is interesting," he said. "We cannot stay stagnant and be left behind. We must upgrade ourselves and be relevant so that companies will value us."

Amelia Teng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2017, with the headline 'From school dropout to one of ITE's top adult learners'. Print Edition | Subscribe