Quest for learning lands this Kerala man at Yale, Princeton, Columbia... virtually!

After the pandemic broke out, Shafi Vikraman earned certifications online for 130 courses from overseas universities, reports Aathira Haridas
Shafi Vikraman
Shafi Vikraman

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shafi Vikraman is on a learning spree. He has earned over 130 online certifications, all from overseas universities including Ivy League Universities. While the lockdown slowed life down for some, for Shafi, the time was well spent gorging on knowledge.

After the pandemic outbreak, he enrolled for virtual courses offered by platforms like Coursera and the World Health Organisation’s online learning arm. In all, he did 145 courses during the period. A significant percentage of the courses dealt with the medical sector. He waxes eloquent about the many diseases, and challenges in the health sector.

“I preferred to do courses in marketing but ended up with a lot of medical courses. A university like Yale is a dream for us. Now I have certifications from those universities. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have studied all these subjects,” says Shafi, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram.He did not want to stay idle, and started attending courses in July, during the first lockdown, in 2020. “It threw open a huge world for me,” he says.

Shafi, in his mid-fifties, did courses offered by universities like Princeton, Yale, Columbia and Wharton. With courses ranging from two days to two months, he was simultaneously attending over 20 courses to start off. And he ended up learning diverse subjects — medical, finance, robotics, artificial intelligence, forensics, blockchain, cryptocurrency, food and beverage management, psychology and so on.

He would study through the night, from 6pm to 4am, after work. After a while, he quit his job as a deputy general manager with a leading foreign exchange firm to focus on studies. “The change in time zone was the only issue and I couldn’t get proper sleep. There were months when I slept for barely two hours.”

Shafi, having receiving certifications from 16 countries, says it is a blessing. “You can now learn from the best of universities world over. Everyone should make use of the opportunity. I used to love the medical field when I was younger. Now I am able to learn a variety of subjects from prestigious universities,” he says.Currently, Shafi is doing 22 courses. And he wants to keep learning. “Having all these certificates with me, I feel as if I have reached somewhere,” says a beaming Shafi.

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