School of Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science

Mr Kiaran Pillay received a Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship.

BSc Student Aiming for High Honours

Malegapuru W Makgoba Scholarship recipient Mr Kiaran Pillay, who is in the second year of study for his BSc degree, says he is determined to graduate summa cum laude. Pillay was one of the top five first-year students in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science at UKZN to receive the scholarship

Pillay, who matriculated with good results from Verulam Secondary School, participated in the International Junior Science Olympiad competition in South Korea in 2015 and the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) debate in 2016.

When registering for his degree at UKZN he continued a fine tradition as all his extended family members graduated from the University.

Majoring in Computer Science, he has maintained his high academic standards at UKZN earning Dean’s Commendation awards in 2018 and in the first semester of this year.

Pillay said the scholarship was a bonus which assisted in paying his fees as well as a motivation to achieve top results during the course of his studies.

He says his choice to do a BSc Computer Science degree at UKZN was the right one in preparing him for his career. ‘The curriculum and the way in which lectures are delivered are of a high standard and this is what inspires me to one day be a lecturer.’

Pillay thanked the donor of the scholarship, emphasising that such awards encouraged top students to perform at a high level.

Said Professor Serestina Viriri: ‘The Discipline of Computer Science is justifiably proud of the achievements of Kiaran Pillay. His hard work and dedication to his studies, despite a challenging home environment (both his parents are deaf), have enabled him to be an achiever. We wish him well for the future and are confident he will pursue postgraduate studies.’

His grandmother Mrs Sundhree Pillay said the fact his parents were both deaf had not hampered his academic performances and he had always excelled in life. ‘Kiaran was so excited when he received the scholarship letter. As a single grandmother it makes me proud to see my grandson achieve his goals in life.’

Pillay has this advice for fellow students: ‘We do not get to choose how we start out in life. We do not get to choose the day we are born or the family we are born into, or what we are named at birth, what country we are born in, or our ancestry. All these things are predetermined by a higher power. By the time we are old enough to start making decisions, a lot of things in life are already in place. It’s important, therefore, that we focus on the future, the only thing we can change.’

Words: Leena Rajpal 

Photograph: Supplied