2 masters in a family

Rohitesh Sandeep Kumar with his mother and mentor Shiu Kuari. Rohitesh and his wife who both graduated with their Masters Degree in education from the University of the South Pacific last week. Picture: SUPPLIED

MOST of Rohitesh Sandeep Kumar’s young days were spent on their family farm or he would be somewhere near where animals were being reared.

It was a life he never regretted and one that moulded him to be a strong person enabling him to work hard to support his younger siblings.

Having graduated with his Masters Degree in education at 44 years of age, Master Kumar can proudly say the degree is the product of his hard work, perseverance and being a keen listener.

Despite having a dream career of becoming an airline pilot, this did not deter him from pursuing other studies which he believed would land him a career to support his family.

Like any other ordinary Fijian boy who grew up in the rural settlement of Vunivau, Bua on Vanua Levu, life had its fair share of struggles. This meant he had to work extra hard, as the eldest in a family of eight siblings, to help his parents send everyone to school.

Amid all the struggles, Rohitesh kept toiling away and in the process earning a scholarship which led him to become a primary schoolteacher. That allowed him to support his family, mostly his younger siblings’ education.

He did not stop there, he wanted to pursue even more believing he was yet to conquer and achieve more in life.

Last week, Master Kumar stood a proud son of Vunivau as he graduated with a Masters Degree from the University of the South Pacific.

His mother Shiu Kuari, someone he described as his pillar of strength throughout his struggles, was there to witness another of her son’s life achievement.

It was also a double celebration for the family as his wife and fellow schoolteacher Sima Diveka Kumar also graduated with her Master’s Degree in education.

Rohitesh completed his early secondary education at Naikavaki Junior Secondary School where he used to walk for about four miles to get to school, even in rainy weather.

With the scholarship, Rohitesh completed his teacher training at Lautoka Teachers College in 1995.

He completed his Bachelors Degree in education (primary) at USP in 2007 and completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Education in 2016.

The couple have three children who are all in school and Master Kumar is the assistant headteacher at Lautoka Muslim Primary School while his wife teaches at St Thomas Primary School.

“There is no substitute for hard work, perseverance and there is no limit to education,” Master Kumar said.

“Be well-disciplined, set your goals and target and work towards them.

“But always make sure to keep away from distraction, especially when you are doing your tertiary studies.”