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FAWAZ Dinnunhan is relishing a perfect balance of theory and practical learning.
“The hands-on learning has really changed my views on my own abilities and the programme structure continuously builds your self-confidence.”
Fawaz Dinnunhan’s educational journey could be likened to an IT programmer’s flowchart: a few ups and downs, a twist or two, then a happy solution.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Fawaz and his family moved to New Zealand more than a decade ago, eventually settling in Dunedin.
“I struggled a lot during high school with learning issues, health problems, and low self-esteem,” explains Fawaz, who is studying a Bachelor of Information Technology degree at Otago Polytechnic.
“I constantly failed classes due to my absence and what I believed, back then, to be an inability to learn. Having spent an extra year at high school due to my health, I was ready to give up. I still hadn’t achieved University Entrance, felt like I was going nowhere, and my self-confidence was nonexistent.”
Fawaz then heard about Otago Polytechnic’s range of certificate programmes
“I wasn’t sure what to study initially. But I have always enjoyed using computers. From a young age, I would spend a lot of time playing games and looking into the files to try and figure out what was going on.”
With the support and encouragement of his family, Fawaz decided to give it a shot and started off by doing the New Zealand Certificate in Information Technology Essentials (Level 4).
Now, Fawaz is in the final year of his Bachelor of Information Technology.
“I believe Otago Polytechnic has the perfect balance between theory and practical learning. The hands-on learning has really changed my views on my own abilities and the IT programme structure continuously builds your self-confidence. I am a testament to that.”
In the past year, Fawaz has received a professional performance award and is now employed by Otago Polytechnic as a teaching assistant and peer tutor in the Bachelor of IT programme.
“Due to my own complex experiences with studying, my ability to empathise with other students has grown tremendously.
“I would like to work in a developer role in the IT industry for the next few years so that I can gain industry knowledge and experience. This will ultimately give me the confidence to pursue what I really want to do – which is teaching,” Fawaz says.
“I want students to know that how you perform in high school does not necessarily define how you will do in tertiary education. We all grow as people.
“My life has truly changed for the better and I am grateful to Otago Polytechnic and the amazing lecturers, who really made a difference in my educational journey.”
“I have never been happier.”
To find out more about Otago Polytechnic’s 2020 Information Technology programmes, visit www.op.ac.nz