• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

WSU to host online graduation for 6 000 today!

By Khuthala Nandipha

Walter Sisulu University is due to host the 2020 graduation ceremony on Facebook today (Friday, May 22), much to the disappointment of graduands who would prefer a more personal ceremony. However, University management insists that this 'short' ceremony will be sufficient amid a national lockdown necessitated by the Coronavirus outbreak.

University spokesperson, Yonela Tukwayo admitted that not all students may have access to the online platforms, but they will carry on with the majority and host the virtual ceremony on the WSU Facebook page and other online platforms.

"The majority of graduands will be able to view the online graduation," said Tukwayo despite the fact that one of WSU's biggest catchment areas is rural.

Graduand, Ncedile Tshomela labelled this an insult and a selfish decision. "The VC was supposed to listen to our views. We can wait until 2021," said Tshomela.

The Student Representative Council was not consulted about this seemingly rushed decision because Tukwayo said there was no time for negotiation.

Following the announcement this week on social media, it appeared that some graduands had no prior knowledge that there would be what they call 'a watered-down version of the most important day of our lives'. Tukwayo insists that they had no choice but to change the format of this year's graduation. She said the university community was notified through various communication channels available.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rob Midgley will cap, in absentia, those that will be obtaining postgraduate qualifications such as Doctoral (4) Masters (17) and honours (108).

Over 6 000 graduands with certificates, diplomas and degrees will be acknowledged via a ticker-tape across the bottom of the screen.  Some names won’t be mentioned but will be printed in the programme that will be uploaded on Facebook. WSU usually holds more than five graduation ceremonies over five days in different campuses across the province. Professor Midgley was adamant that even when the lockdown has been lifted, it still would not have been safe to host a graduation ceremony with students and their parents owing to the large numbers.

Students are also adamant that this day is more than just a certificate, it is an experience, a personal and emotional day to all those involved as families witness the fruits of their sacrifices."I cannot watch my graduation on the screen. Please can the EFF stop this," commented a graduand on their Facebook page, while some requested data bundles to enable them to at least view the ceremony.

"Nobody has a crystal ball to look into the future. We have to celebrate graduate achievements and issue their certificates and this could not wait," concluded Tukwayo.

Meanwhile, the University is yet to complete its registration for 2020 due to the Covid 19 lockdown that began at the end of March.


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