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TMCNet:  IT whiz selected to study at Cambridge [Mercury, The (South Africa)]

[April 10, 2014]

IT whiz selected to study at Cambridge [Mercury, The (South Africa)]

(Mercury, The (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) All Durban computer science whiz Riaz Moola wants to do is help "improve" the country's IT standards.

Moola, 21, of Westville, is one of six South Africans offered scholarships by Cambridge University in the UK to do postgraduate studies. Of the six, he is the only one doing his Master's, the rest will be doing PhDs. The programme starts in October.

The group are among 55 students described by the university as "the world's most academically brilliant and socially committed young people" selected from 27 countries to be Gates Cambridge Scholars.

Speaking to The Mercury yesterday, the former Crawford College pupil, who matriculated in 2009, said he began his studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During his first year, he went to Keele University near Stoke-on-Trent in the UK as an exchange student, and transferred to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for his second year. He moved to Edinburgh to pursue his specific interest, artificial intelligence and computer sciences.

While studying at Edinburgh, Moola went to the University of Pennsylvania in the US as an exchange student for a period. He was also a research student at Oxford University.

Concerned about the quality of computer sciences in South Africa, Moola decided, with a friend, to do something about it. In July 2012 he |founded Hyperion Development SA, an online course teaching programming to undergraduate students.

"I noticed that 50 percent of computer science students in South Africa were failing their first year. We need to do something about that." Almost 2 000 students had signed up for the course, Moola said.

His work has not gone unnoticed. At the weekend he will give a two-day workshop for 29 information technology high school teachers from across the province.

The course, to be held at George Campbell School of Technology in Durban, will focus on Java programming.

The provincial Department of Education asked for his services following his efforts with friends to contribute and install low-cost computers at schools in Umlazi and rural areas.

Moola said that he was excited about his Cambridge scholarship. "I'm the only one who will be doing my Master's in the South African group. |I think this was made easy by the fact that I did undergraduate (studies) at Edinburgh - which is almost on the same level as Cambridge." Moola was quoted by Cambridge University as saying: "I believe that such tools are capable of addressing deficiencies that serve as a barrier to the academic development of the majority of South Africans." The Mercury (c) 2014 Independent Newspapers (Pty) Limited. All rights strictly reserved. Provided by, an company

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