A husband and wife team has made academic success a joint achievement after they both achieved Degrees in Sport and Physical Activity from Bradford College on the same day.
After years of arranging their studies around their three young children, fitting college around the school runs and many hours of intensive home study, Beata and Mohammad Kamran have both graduated with first-class honours.
Beata, 34, who lives with her 37-year-old husband in Bradford and is currently expecting their fourth child, said: “We learnt many things together, developed together, had great fun together, stressed together, shared concerns together, travelled together, and graduated twice together.”
It is their second husband-and-wife academic success, having previously graduated from the college with Foundation Degrees in Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing. Furthermore, Beata and Mohammad are both qualified fitness instructors with black belts in mixed martial arts, and are planning to attain Masters level within the next two years.
Beata, who is originally from Poland, had a talent for sport from a young age, competing as a light athlete in her home country from the age of nine. There, she trained every day, taking part in various regional and national sports competitions. For three years she was the undefeated long jump champion of her region, with 20 gold medals and a trophy for long jump.
She began studying for a degree in physical education in Poland with the hope of becoming a PE teacher. However, following the death of her father, Beata had to suspend her studies and come to the UK when she was 19 years old.
The partnership between Beata and Mohammad began 13 years ago when they met in Morrisons, where Beata was working as a quality assurance inspector and Mohammad was a production leader. Beata explained: “I moved house closer to work. Mohammad already lived near there so we then became neighbours, traveling together daily. Daily travels became daily plans and daily plans for days off became regular as we were both single and the friendship bond became love.” After four years, the two were married.
After their first child was born, Beata changed career to work for the NHS as a professional interpreter. While she was studying for a higher-level interpreting qualification, she was offered a lecturer’s position in Bradford College.
She said: “Mohammad saw I was loving the teaching role and pushed me to seek a full teaching qualification. He said he didn’t want me to ever feel that the original plans I came to England with have been wasted because of our relationship; plus he never wanted me to be in a position like I was when I first came to the UK - no education, no career, no financial stability - in the future. So then I started to research various pathways.”
In 2015 the couple joined a mixed martial arts club. Beata said: “We loved it so much that we wanted to open our own academy or fitness club. At this point I was looking to progressing to a degree and being a lover of sports, I decided to take up an offer on the foundation degree in physical activity, health and wellbeing.
“In those days Mohammad was working part-time, dropping and picking me twice a day, dropping and picking kids four times a day as they were in two separate schools, and the youngest on half days.”
At this time, Mohammad decided to join Beata on the foundation degree course. Both went on to achieve distinctions in the foundation degree before taking the next step onto the BSc degree.
The two supported each other throughout their studies. Beata said: “Mohammad often had to leave for school runs or other care duties. And if he wasn’t on the course I would have probably changed my mind. We stuck together, and it was the best choice we could have made.
“We worked together on one laptop, one day his assignment section, the next day mine, bit at a time when the kids fell asleep, from 9-midnight was our daily mission. So timing for individual work was difficult, two separate pieces of writing on the same topic was a challenge. We were proofreading each other’s work and mastering the subject throughout. Revising for the exams, writing thousands of words on the same topic, on the same laptop but in two reports was a challenge.
“At the beginning of the foundation degree, I helped Mohammad and encouraged him to keep going. The most difficult subject was anatomy and physiology. I scored 80% and Mohammad 79% - seriously, he was well excited! And I felt like my achievement doubled.
“Bradford College caters for everyone, and the Higher Education tutors are fabulous and supportive.”
Beata is now studying part-time on the Post Graduate Diploma in Education and Training (PgDip), as well as still teaching community interpreting a few hours a week.
Meanwhile, Mohammad is working towards his PGCE secondary, having developed an interest in teaching PE and Science. Beata said: “Hopefully if things go well and we succeed well both should be graduating again in two years’ time with PgDip and PGCE, moving on to Masters in Education and PHD in the future.”
Beata has also recently completed ante and post-natal exercise instructor courses. She said: “I'd like to work with pregnant women in the future and educate them about the importance of physical activity.”
Jess Thersby, course lead for the BSc Sport and Physical Activity programme at Bradford College, said: “They deserve every bit of what they have achieved. Their academic journey to achieving a first has been quite incredible, all whilst raising their three boys. I wish Beata all the very best with her Diploma in Higher Education and the same to Mohammad with his journey to teaching.”