Dare to dream

The University of Wolverhampton has a strong regional presence in India and welcomes hundreds of students from the country to the UK each year. A scholarship from the School of Technology for Indian students from poor backgrounds is helping to transform lives and make a difference to gifted and talented young people.

Jasvir Kaur describes being selected to study at the University of Wolverhampton as “a miracle”.

There was a time when adding to her qualifications with a Masters degree seemed beyond reach – despite her academic excellence and willingness to learn.

Jasvir’s family were unable to pay for her education, but she says she still dreamt of obtaining a degree. She managed to pay a small instalment to be accepted onto the BSc Information Technology at Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar in 2004.

She received support from a college tutor, Professor Harbans Singh Bolina, who paid for her fees enabling her to continue her studies, and she graduated in 2007.

Determination

But Jasvir was determined to add to her qualifications by studying at an international university.

She says: “People said I was wasting my time and foolish for trying to accomplish such an impossible task. I began my research on how to obtain a scholarship in order to carry out my studies.

“Although this took me almost a year to do, it was hope and belief that kept me going. It felt like a miracle when I found that I had been selected for the MSc Computer Science course at the University of Wolverhampton in May 2008.”

The Wolverhampton-India Project

The timing coincided with the launch of the Wolverhampton-India project, an initiative which aims to strengthen existing links and open up new opportunities for mutual benefit to businesses, individuals and communities in India and Wolverhampton.

The project’s three main areas of focus are trade, education and culture/sport and it received backing from organisations within Wolverhampton including the University, Wolverhampton City Council, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, the Chamber of Commerce and City of Wolverhampton College as well as local MPs.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, attended an official Wolverhampton-India Project event in the Punjab in 2008 and launched a new scholarship offered by the then School of Computing and Information Technology.

The scholarship aimed to give opportunities to academically excellent students from poorer backgrounds by paying their tuition fees to attend the University to study courses offered by the School.

Jasvir was interviewed by Jasbir Singh Uppal, India Co-ordinator from the School, and began her studies in Wolverhampton in September 2008. Her accommodation and living costs were met by a generous sponsor in the UK, Mr Tejpal Atwall.

Jasvir says: “There were a lot of students from my community and country at the University, and that helped me a lot. The lecturers were really nice and I enjoyed my course – it was totally different from in India. The International Centre at the University also helped us a lot.

“I have now finished my MSc at the University of Wolverhampton, where I have been able to learn valuable skills that can be applied to the academic world. I felt that during the course, the staff were helpful and friendly.”

Success

Jasvir, now 23, graduated in September 2010 and her ceremony was attended by many of the people who had helped her to achieve her dream.

Jasvir has remained in the UK and now lives in London. She gained employment in Data Administration and is currently looking for a job closer to her field of expertise. She is also hoping to continue her studies by completing a PhD and she is grateful for the opportunity she was given by the University. “

The main thing I learnt at the University of Wolverhampton was that if anybody has a desire to do something, then they must try to achieve it. Everybody was equal and was given an equal opportunity in the classes,” she says.

“I have gained independence and confidence during each module, and the skills are with me now that I’m in a profession.”

Professor Rob Moreton, Dean of what is now the School of Technology, was instrumental in developing the scholarship, and says he is delighted by what Jasvir has achieved.

He says: “The School of Technology at the University is committed to creating opportunities for gifted students, and this scholarship illustrates the difference higher education can make to young people. I’m absolutely delighted that Jasvir has achieved so much during her time with us and everyone wishes her every success for the future.”