Latest News Editor's Choice


Opinion / Columnist

Wales University NOT for Aspiring Zimbabwean Students

20 Nov 2016 at 15:15hrs | Views
I want to send an honest advice to Zimbabwean Students aspiring to study at the University of Wales Trinity Saint Davids. I will try to keep my advice as honest as possible and in that honest, I wish to advance a disclaimer that my experience at this University may not be the experience of every Zimbabwean who studied there. Firstly I would like to acknowledge my gratitude upon being awarded a BEng in Mechanical and Manufacturing Degree in 2014 and a subsequent University Bursary and attainment of MSc Industrial Design 2014-16.

I have been empowered by this University from being a Construction Worker to an Engineer that I am now. My acknowledgement sounds paradoxical though to the heading of my article in that I am literally advising someone to avoid enrolling at an institution that empowered me.

Paradoxes are a reality of life, and some academics have found more truth in paradoxes than allegiant views which tend to be biased that everything that is described as good is holistically good. Paradoxical views are honest. Nothing that is good, is completely good. And, to say something is bad does not mean that it is completely bad. One of the main ethics of Science is the requirement to give measurability in issues, and I am going to give the University of Wales Trinity Saint David 46% goodness for Black Zimbabwean Students and 54% badness.

My observation and experience as a student for six years at this University was that some Lecturers are devoted Welsh Patriots to the effect that a black foreign student will never pass through the net. This group, or network of Welsh Patriotic Lecturers set a limit for black Zimbabweans who are funded by Welsh Assembly. I suspect that Patriotism drives them to completely fail to understand a foreign student and hence fail to give so much needed academic assistance. In a class of 20, where only four students may be Welsh, these particular lecturers are guaranteed to spent 60%, of helping time, on four Welsh or White Students, and the remaining 40% time is spent on helping 16 none-White

In my impartiality, as I promised I would be, I like to admit again that in other cases, as human beings, apart from segregation, these lecturers find it naturally easier to attend to a student who asks in explicit English than one who asks in implicit English Language. In this case, I admit that my English is not, and will never be as good as someone whose first language is English, and in such circumstances, I am always a natural looser, and I always lost. My only gain came from lecturers who are foreign, or those who are very old and those of Welsh origin but have spent half their lives in England.

It seemed to me that Welsh lecturers who have never lived in England have never interacted with a Black person and their overall view about Blacks is negative especially if one cannot express himself in good British English. They seem to have a predetermined view that Blacks have a low I.Q. They do not make an effort to understand a foreign student's question and they go on to avoid or give a short answer to a time waster. The lecturers who have spent time in England know that one has to spend longer time to understand a question from someone whose first language is not English.

Just to give a short vision of why Welsh lecturers are like that; Wales has not had a big volume of foreigners in the last two hundred years unlike England. In the past two hundred years, the Welsh themselves were treated as Second-Class British people. Things have since improved for them now and they have become nearly socially equal as the English. However, a foreigner on their land is an unwelcomed problem. Although foreigners are not fully welcomed in England, it is not as bad as in Wales. It must be noted very pragmatically that foreigners are not welcomed in any part of the World including Zimbabwe. This is a bad and natural phenomenon which should not be over-emphasised.  What is totally unacceptable, though, is for someone in the position of an educator to apply street politics into the classroom. If Universities do not take an effort to educate their staff on that issue, this civilised society will produce futuristic National Burdens.

The Welsh Assembly indiscriminately spends £40 000 per student expecting to raise the levels of civilisation through education. Anyone who thinks has the capability to learn and use his acquired education to advance civilisation for everyone, will find the Welsh Assembly willing to invest in him. It becomes a rudimental disservice then, to find lecturers who are trusted for delivering education, applying Patriotic Politics where Wales, as a country has invested indiscriminately. It's even more economical to refuse to educate those who are not accepted.

For me, coming from Zimbabwe, a country that was Colonised by Britain and left poor, I felt very lucky to be afforded University Education by the Welsh Assembly. I felt trusted and loved and even believed in. From the time that I was a young boy in Rhodesia, I have always believed that I, too, can add something in the World of Engineering. I am a natural Engineer with a touch of autism, or a touch of madness which is always quintessential for an Engineer. My thinking is naturally unconventional and, if you like it, deductive.  As someone who had not done University education before by 2010, I expected the University to be fully equipped with well-educated and uniquely impartial lecturers who fully know the special needs of foreigners who live among them. I trusted that if the Welsh Assembly was willing to spend £40 000 on me, they also knew that the team of lecturers at the end line are equally prepared.

As a keen Engineer, my interest was in beating the dream of centuries of failed Perpetual Motion Machines. I believed that my madness, synergised with University Education, would produce a Paradigm Shift in Perpetual Motion machines, or their similarity, and produce free electricity. I was told by the University that they would teach me Engineering from the very root even if I had not done my A' Levels.

I was excited to the core, and, as a 41 year old Mature Student who had spent 26 years in Industry, I begun my access class at the University in 2010. Surely, the classroom for the first time in 23 years was a challenge. I realised my handicaps and gave myself up for asking anyone in the class for help. I was attending with fresh A' Level graduates who were as young as my son.  As an adult, I committed myself to relying on the lecturer and other students. Students generously helped me in the use of calculators which, in my day in Colonial education, were forbidden for Black Students of the seventies in Rhodesia.

I was blessed with a dedicated team of lecturers in my first year. These lecturers were comprised of Welsh lecturers who had lived in England before and one of two of them were very old Welsh lecturers who gave their heart and time on any student regardless of race or background. The other lecturer was himself foreign. He fully understood the difficulty faced by foreign students and knew how to ignite stagnant capabilities in a student. These lecturers helped me to carry on at a time when giving up was at its most possibility. One lecturer told me that my slowness in catching things was caused by the fact that I think much deeper than the young students who catch theories just for the purpose to pass exams.

He encouraged me to accept my slowness and accept that absorption takes time and that anyone who absorbs theories is likely to put such theories into use in the future.  

My problems begun in the second year, I encountered a lecturer who asked us to put our hand up if we had done our A' Levels. The lecturer was Patriotically Welsh and had very little respect for those whose English language was not good enough. His superiority and language made it difficult for a non-White student like me to approach him. His handwriting, from where I was supposed to take notes, was like a Doctor's short hand writing. I could hardly tell the difference between an "I" and a "V". Having spent 26 years in Industry, it was difficult for me to take notes as quick as he wrote them and because of a limited number of writing boards, he would rub off his notes before I took them.  Those students who had done A' Level were quick to take notes and they seemed comfortable with his methods. At one point, the lecturer commented that "Some students were not even supposed to be at his University". I did not like that comment and I made a written complaint to the University and yet the subject he was teaching was very important to what I wanted to do in life.

I do strongly believe that my written complaint was circulated by the same lecturer to those who would teach me after him. I then encountered another lecturer who exhibited an edited version of behaviour. This lecturer taught a key subject and his handling of me was designed and predetermined to fail me. He had very little time to attend to my problems. His subject was computer based and a student had to log on to a computer and put his details on that same computer and store his work there. It was not allowed to use another computer other than one on which the student had stored his work.

I worked very hard to understand his subject. There were things I could do on my home computer that I could not do on my allocated computer. Every time I needed help, his assistance was short and inadequate. He would spend a lot of time on other students, especially those who are White and had the required language skill to ask a question. In assignments, this lecturer refused to understand my questions. I then devised a plan to ask White students whatever question I had, than to rely on the lecturer.  These White students helped me a lot and whatever I passed in this lecturer's subject was because of informed White students. If I had a question that these White students could not answer and they also needed to know, they would go and ask him, and in front of me, he would spent even 30 minutes explaining fully. If I chose to rightfully ask him, he would not understand or pretend not to have understood my question.

During revision for my final exam with this lecturer's subject, a White student came to help me configure a certain computer based analysis. He failed to configure that on my computer and called another White student to come and help me. They all failed to do it on my computer on which I had spent two years failing to do very basic things. The White students invited me to analyse the same problem on their computers and the analysis went through without a problem.

I honestly suspected that my computer had been deliberately cooked to produce a fail. I refused to sit for my exam on a cooked computer and successfully completed my exam on an uncorrupted computer. The other, of this lecturers subject, was a total disaster. On the exam day, one of the invigilators was the lecturer I had written a complaint about. I knew when I saw him in the exam room after two years that it was a disaster.

What is good about Engineering is that whenever it is engrossed on you, someone can corrupt your exam work, but cannot remove the knowledge you learnt.

Some lecturers perpetuated me to carry on after my BEng Degree and do my Masters.

In 2014, I enrolled for an MSc Industrial Design. The dedication by some lecturers was out of this World. But, I also encountered Patriots who would not let a foreign thing fly above the ordinary ground.

In one of my assignments for a Design Course, I was marked for English Language and grammar as if I was studying Law, Theology, English Literature or Poetry. Focus was ignored on the content of Engineering Design and the lecturer decided to Dwell on English Language. The lecturer had the exact attitude to refuse to read my work during a pre-submission consultation. She read the first paragraph of my 2000 word assignment and said it was rubbish.

When I handed in my revised assignment, she went for English Language, English Grammar, Punctuation, and she went on to shoot down my hypothesis calling it unworkable.

She questioned why I said "Perpetual motion machines were tried nine centuries ago". She questioned why I wrote nine centuries ago instead of 900 years ago.

I was really surprised at the heightened level of refusing to understand my work because I called nine hundred years nine centuries. I noticed that the right way was to write another letter of complaints to the university and expose this lecturer's refusal to understand my content. It became another Pandora box opened which resonated very bad especially to Club Members of Welsh Patriotism.

I went on to Graduate with my MSc Industrial Design which I am happy about, but, innocent unsuspecting Zimbabwean children with an accent must walk into University of Wales Trinity Saint David with an open mind. They must know what I went through and make up their minds. I must also inform aspiring Zimbabwean wishing to enrol at this university that I gained life changing education at this University, but, not without a problem.

I have never studied in other Universities in the UK to be the best person to help you compare, but, my honest account should help you decide.

Hey! I am working on my Electricity Generating Machine which is good and efficient for rural use. I will soon be on your door step in rural Zimbabwe, electrifying that unexpected homestead.

Source - Ryton Dzimiri
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Subscribe

Email: