Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT) is set to become the first institution of higher learning to hold an online graduation ceremony amid coronavirus pandemic.
The university informed its graduands that it does not foresee when the country will go back to normalcy hence a traditional graduation cannot be held.
“The University Senate resolved to hold a virtual graduation in keeping with our student-centric approach. It was to ensure that we keep our promise to the students and graduands of DeKUT of timely completion of studies. This will ensure that graduands will be released to take advantage of any employment or scholarship opportunity that may come up in the near future,” said the university in a statement on April 24.
DeKUT informed that graduands that their certificates will be ready for collection two weeks after the virtual graduation date.
“Graduating in the forthcoming virtual graduation is voluntary and the university will offer three options for the graduating class.
The virtual graduation is scheduled to be held on May 8, 2020, while the traditional ceremony is set to be held in November.
However, the university warns that if social distancing will still be in place, then it will still hold a virtual graduation unless students prefer to graduate in April 2021.
Nonetheless, the university said it will still hold a special ceremony for the graduating class after the pandemic to celebrate their academic achievement.
But the university’s decision to hold a virtual graduation did not please many students, especially going by comments on DeKUT’s Facebook page.
Several people noted that the student body was not consulted before the University Senate reached its decision.
Further, some cited the cultural and psychological significance of wearing a gown to the graduation ceremony and the attendant events, including celebrations with friends and family.
“DeKUT really? Some of these graduands are community sent individuals. How do they even start by explaining virtual graduation! Working tirelessly for 4-5 years to be on that graduation gown only to meet with this kind of disgrace, no. Kindly revisit this and give us a humble time to protect against Covid-19. We are not going anywhere with the certificates at the moment, even raising the graduation fee at the moment is a hilly nightmare to some of us. Please help the poor comrade by postponing the graduation,” said Ephantus Muriungi on Facebook.
His sentiments were echoed by an overwhelming majority of the 137 comments on the DeKUT post on Facebook.