It was a momentous occasion for twins Sonil and Sajil Ramharak and their younger brother Kirash when they graduated together at UKZN.
Sonil and Sajil were awarded their Honours degrees in Education (Language and Media Studies), while Kirash received his Bachelor’s degree in Education.
The family’s journey to graduation was not without its challenges but the siblings Ramharak persevered and celebrated their success.
Sonil and Sajil’s decision to pursue their Honours degree in Language and Media Studies was driven by their interest in understanding how the two areas of study work together. Sajil’s research explored the relationship between electronic media and language development in early childhood, while Sonil’s work focused on the impact of social media usage on the academic performance of students. Both studies have important implications for education in South African society.
Said Sonil: ‘My research revealed that both a positive and a negative relationship exists between social media and academic performance which is completely dependent on how much time a student spends on social media and how they use it.’
Sajil’s research ‘revealed that through play and interaction with electronic media, children could unfold and improve their development of language’.
The loss of their father two years ago and the recent death of their mother were significant emotional hurdles, but they continued their studies balancing work with other responsibilities.
They dedicated their degrees to their late parents and said graduation was a celebration of their shared commitment to education and their desire to make a positive impact on young people’s lives. As they move forward in their careers as teachers, they will draw on the influence and support of their parents who taught them the values of sacrifice and going above and beyond for others.
Kirash is proud to graduate alongside his twin sisters, recognising the significance of the family’s achievement. ‘This day symbolises the climax of our academic journey and marks the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. It is a day of celebration, reflection and gratitude that will be cherished by all of us,’ he said.
His advice for other students is to ‘set high personal and academic standards and live up to them. Listen to that little voice inside your head that says “I can do this”. Always believe in yourself and settle for nothing less than your very best – willingness to accept anything less too often becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.’
Sonil and Sajil now look forward to their next educational experience, pursuing their master’s degrees, while Kirash studies for his honours.