30 November 2023

By Nabeelah Shaikh

Nureldin Mohamed, a top KwaZulu-Natal pupil will be jetting off to one of the world’s most prestigious universities after excelling in his matric year.

Nureldin’s dream became a reality when he was accepted into Harvard University. Harvard is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States of America.  It is ranked among one of the top universities globally.

Mohamed completed his matric at the Durban High School last year and recently received his excellent results.  

He obtained an A* for his A-Levels in Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, and Computer Science. He also obtained an A in Physical Science. 

Securing a spot at Harvard is no easy feat, but with hard work and dedication, Mohamed has been able to achieve this. Mohamed said he felt “great” about his acceptance. 

Interested in both global relations and science, Mohamed is considering pursuing a career in Computer Science. 

Nureldin Mohamed, a matric pupil who has been accepted into Harvard. He also founded his own coding school with the Iqraa Trust, for the benefit of impoverished students in KZN. 

“I feel that computer science has the ability to be a major and potential contributor to newer, more creative technologies which is capable of being propounding factors towards major reforms for us in terms of opportunity in international cooperation,” said Mohamed. 

He attributes his success to the Cambridge International Education curriculum.

“At the start of my 9th grade, my school introduced a new environment based on autonomous learning. They offered the Cambridge International Education curriculum. This was called the Nonpareil Academy,” said Mohamed. 

At the Durban High School, the Nonpareil Academy is designed for motivated and academically talented boys whose needs are not met adequately in the traditional high school setting. 

The selection of students is based on the applicants being able to meet the basic requirements for admission. These requirements include having an above average intelligence, high Emotional Intelligence and excellent self-discipline. 

Boys who are selected for the programme are expected to function at a high level of excellence. 

“I had the opportunity to be part of this system. I began my International General Certificate of Secondary Education in the year of its inception. This system gives more flexibility to the student, allowing them to work at their own pace; however, it also means that the student must be willing to work on their own, as lessons are not as frequent as usual. Having to work independently gave me a lot of room for growth, so I’m grateful for this opportunity,” said Mohamed.

Mohamed has also been using his academic excellence to give back to the community. He did this by working with the Iqraa Trust, a non-profit organisation that subsidized part of his high school fees. 

“Following the civil riots, lootings, flooding, and COVID-19 lockdowns, constant agitation seemed to stagnate my community’s desire to explore. This pushed me to found the Iqraa Institute, a school allowing students to explore free coding education. Dr Baker, chairman of the Iqraa Trust and the Orphans Endowment Fund, and I, worked together to achieve our aim of making the project not just another coding bootcamp but a social impact project,” said Mohamed.

He helped fully establish the Iqraa Institute in 2022, to support the education of the city’s youth in an attempt to uplift future communities. 

“It is an effort to support students in discovering new skills and interests. Iqraa Institute has since established an educational center in Durban, and collaborated with teachers and students to provide a free education in computer science and coding to youth, especially youth from impoverished communities,” said Mohamed. 

He pointed out that his original mission for the Iqraa Institute was to provide educational empowerment to Durban communities through an efficient and interactive learning platform, readily available for all aspiring candidates. 

“After appreciating the positive effect on its students, full of enthusiasm and curiosity, and acknowledging the existence of a large-scale continental disadvantage, the Iqraa Institute now aims to expand across South Africa and other countries through collaboration with local and international organisations with similar missions of educational empowerment,” said Mohamed.

Mohamed encouraged those who would like to get involved and benefit from the Iqraa Institute, to visit iqraainstitute.org, where more information can be obtained.

Mohamed, who is now preparing for his Harvard journey, encourages the matric class of 2023, to give it their all. 

“Know your tools. One year is a long time. Don’t let yourself or others make you think that academic accomplishment is the chief defining characteristic of your matric year. The ultimate aim of education is to cultivate reason and see where it might lead. So don’t be hesitant to explore this educational restlessness in relation to your own experiences and self-awareness and to deliver authentic ideas as value through creation, grounding them into a structured existence,” he added. 

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