“It is virtually impossible to compete in today’s global economy without a college degree”- Bobby Scott
If you ask any College student, he will tell you how difficult it is to get a University degree. According to the 2011 census, only 8-15% people are graduates in India. So many people are not able to get a suitable job because of not having a degree. Several girls are not able to find a good match for marriage, because of not being graduates.
Can you imagine a person having more than a hundred degrees? Yes, it not a fantasy. Professor VN Parthiban has more than 145 degrees which he acquired over the last 35 years. A look at his visiting card makes it difficult to believe. He has earned 145 degrees in various subjects and is teaching over 100 subjects in multiple colleges in Chennai.
His qualifications include 12 research degrees, 8 Master of Law degrees, 10 Master of Arts degrees, 8 Master of Commerce degrees, 3 Master of Science degrees, and 9 Master of Business Administration degrees, among others.
Parthiban, who is 55, however, hasn’t found it very difficult to keep studying for the last 35 years. Mr. Parthiban is presently employed as an Associate Professor of Commerce at Rama Krishna Mission Vivekananda College – Chennai, India. Can you believe that he spends 90% of his income on studies? Appearing for exams is his passion He started applying for so many courses, that sometimes he prepared for the wrong subject and failed in the paper.
He enjoys studying and does not get bored in learning so many diverse subjects simultaneously. It is no wonder that every Sunday he appears for some or the other exam. The invigilators know him by face in the examination hall. Parthiban comes from an ordinary family in Madras. When he was young, studying was considered a luxury. He scored only 59.9 % marks in his first-degree exam. His mother was disappointed as he could not get a first division. That is the time he decided that he should do something to make her proud. He made it a mission of his life to get more and more degrees and get multiple first divisions.
He took up his first job as an assistant in the judiciary department. He kept switching positions, preferring those that do not impose any restriction on enrolling for multiple courses simultaneously.
You might think that a person with so many degrees is expected to have a sharp memory, but that isn’t the case with Parthiban. He reveals that he has difficulty in remembering people’s faces. And, that sometimes he even forgets the routes that he takes on a daily basis. “I do not burden my mind with anything that is less important. I keep my mind calm,” he said.
The daily schedule of Mr. Parthiban is mind-boggling. He gets up at 5 am, and leaves for teaching at 6 am. He takes classes at various Colleges, Institutes, and University throughout the day. He reaches home at 10 pm, has a light dinner of 2-3 idlis and goes off to sleep.
Teaching hundreds of subjects in different colleges isn’t easy either. Sometimes, he goes to a class and forgets what he’s supposed to teach. “But the students never complain,” he said.
When asked which subject he dreads, Parthiban promptly said ‘Mathematics.’He failed in Actuarial Sciences, as the course required an in-depth knowledge of Mathematics. He could not pass CA (Final) exam because he was teaching in a College which took a lot of his time.
Parthiban’s wife is also following his footsteps-she has nine academic degrees and is working in a bank. His son and daughter, both have completed Engineering and MBA.