The value of access to education – Student Voice Week 2021

Allan Kavuma was forced to migrate from his homeland of Uganda to the UK. In this blog Allan shares his journey to achieving his goals, through studying with The OU.

This blog was provided by The Open University in Scotland as part of OU Student Voice Week 2021.

Allan Kavuma The Open University has been a revelation for me on my journey to achieving my goals. 

I’m 44 years old and originally from Uganda. I’m currently studying for a Higher Education Certificate in Business Management and French with The Open University (OU). I have already achieved the OU Access module ‘People, work, and society’. 

The major reason for studying is personal development, self-fulfillment, and building my confidence.

I am taking on further study at this ‘late’ stage of my life because, although there was never a doubt that I wanted to pursue higher education, sometimes life gets in the way and before you know it a lifetime has gone by. 

Having moved to the UK with all the dreams and aspirations of making a life for myself, I never anticipated the challenges that lay ahead such as adapting to a new environment, culture, and dealing with immigration. 

Of all the challenges, dealing with immigration was the most stressful. It took about seven years to get a resolution. It is that time spent waiting that wears you down. Everything you would expect to do is on hold, you cannot study or work. I had lost my confidence and motivation and I did procrastinate about whether further study was still a viable option for me. 

Discovering the OU rekindled my enthusiasm to study. It offered me the chance to arrange my studies around my work. 

The OU also offered financial support for me to do the Access module. This was a great motivation and a welcome relief. Studying the Access module helped me gauge if I could cope with the rigors of higher education, having been away from education for a long time. 

I completed my module with a distinction thanks to the support of my tutor, who provided regular phone tutoring and helped me work through the teaching material.

Navigating the challenges of undertaking studying has not been easy, but with credit to my tutor and the systems put in place by The Open University, such as student services, I can always find help. 

Also, through a pilot scheme offering Black OU students one to one coaching and mentoring support, I now have a Personal Learning Advisor who can help me along the way.

The best part of studying has been the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people and learn how to manage my time. Online forums have been a welcome break from study isolation and boredom.

To anyone in similar circumstances contemplating study with The Open University, I would encourage you to enroll. 

The Open University offers the flexibility to fit study around work and life commitments, plus as a lot of support to allow you to succeed. 

The majority of OU students in Scotland study for free with a part-time fee grant, which is for students in Scotland with a personal income of £25,000 or less.

OU Access modules are an ideal starting point if you need to develop your study skills and build your confidence. As with most OU undergraduate modules, you don’t need any previous qualifications to study Access modules. 

There is more information about studying with the OU, our support and services for students on our Study webpage

You can also read more student stories and blogs by OU students, staff and partners. 

Allan Kavuma is studying with the OU.

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