Dr Ng Poh Yoke, 49, worked with young children in a kindergarten for 16 years. Last year, she made a big leap in her career by joining a private university.

“I am now a programme leader for the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at a Kuala Lumpur-based institution. I teach early childhood courses at both diploma and degree levels,” says this two-time graduate of Master and Doctor of Education.

Dr Ng says that she gained a lot of knowledge from both programmes because the lecturers were very well versed. “I also got to know a few course mates and we were able to exchange ideas. Most of them were not in the same field as I was. We had a good time.”

She believes that in order to study and work at the same time, one needs to be consistent, persistent, and determined to work towards one’s objectives.

Seven years of hard work paid off as she has now earned both her master’s degree and doctorate from OUM.

“It was difficult. I had to be very disciplined and manage time very well. I had to follow a strict timetable every day to complete my work,” says Dr Ng. Her interest has always been in early childhood education (ECE), thus both her master’s and doctoral theses focused on the topic.

Her valuable experience and knowledge as an administrator and head of a kindergarten has helped her a lot as an ECE lecturer.

“I always like to encourage students who are reluctant to contribute during discussions to give their opinions. At the same time, I like to impart my personal knowledge and experiences in ECE.”

This ECE lecturer believes that if we are not good communicators, we need to practise communicating more often. If we are not good writers, then we need to practise writing more often.

When asked about her lecturing duties during the pandemic, she reveals, “Initially, having to carry out fully online teaching was very challenging. After some time, I found that I could have the same amount of interaction with students through forum discussions, just as much as I had through face-to-face teaching.”

Teaching young children and young adults are worlds apart in every way. Armed with a doctorate, Dr Ng took the plunge to achieve and experience more in her career and life.

She admits that she prefers to work with young children, though work in a kindergarten seemed never-ending. She comments, “I was more stressed because I had to manage everything and deal with teachers, children and their parents. Now I’m more independent and I have a lot of freedom. As long as I complete my work, everything is okay!”