Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Reporter
UNIVERSITIES in the country are in discussions to have their graduation ceremonies being attended by a minimal number of graduands with a majority attending virtually in line with Covid-19 containment measures.
Last Thursday, the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) released a statement informing graduands in their class of 2020 that only Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Philosophy, Master of Science with distinctions and under-graduates with first classes, will be invited to attend this year’s graduation ceremony, which is set to be held on Friday.
“The rest of the graduands will graduate virtually in the comfort of their homes with their families. Proceedings will be live streamed on ZTV and CUT facebook. Graduands who are graduating virtually will follow proceedings in their gowns and respond to announcements as shall be beamed,” reads the statement.
Solusi University has also announced plans to hold the ceremony in similar fashion. In an interview with Sunday News, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira revealed that there was a need for the universities to adopt innovative means of conducting this year’s graduations, noting that while they were a legal requirement there is a need to consider the need to contain the spread of the Covid-19. He revealed that as Government they had tasked the university vice-chancellors to come up with the best possible mechanism to hold the ceremonies. Prof Murwira said the same would apply for teachers’ colleges, polytechnics and vocational training centres.
“We had a meeting with vice-chancellors a couple of weeks ago where we deliberated on the matter, they were then tasked to go back and engage the councils on how best to proceed with the graduations noting that we are holding them in the new normal as created by the Covid-19 pandemic. What we have to consider is that the graduation ceremonies are a legal requirement and they have to proceed but proceed in a manner where we ensure that we protect our graduands from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Prof Murwira.
He said the ministry’s goal was to standardise the graduation ceremonies across the country, taking advantage of the innovation within their learning institutions to go ahead with the events.
“We know that for every graduand, the graduation ceremony is an important part of their academic achievements therefore we want to maintain that atmosphere while adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines,” said the minister.
Last week, the Government announced that universities, polytechnics, teachers’ colleges and industrial training colleges will reopen on 5 October for face to-face learning, after their closure on 24 March as part of a raft of measures by Government to curb the spread of the coronavirus. However, as part of conditions to reopen, authorities will be required to strictly adhere to the health guidelines and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology’s standard operating procedures.