Covid-19: UCU revises graduation program for 2021
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/03/covid-19-ucu-revises-graduation-program-for-2021/
By Ivan Tsebeni
Uganda Christian University (UCU) has announced that this year’s graduation ceremonies will be held in July and October – a departure from the usual March, July and October ceremonies. Another change in the ceremonies will be their virtual nature, as opposed to the usual in-person attendance, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A memo to the students, signed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. John Kitayimbwa, says the July 2 event also will involve the other campuses and constituent colleges of UCU. The university has two constituent colleges – Bishop Barham University College, Kabale, and UCU Mbale University College – and three campuses – in Mukono, Kampala and Arua.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, UCU would hold three graduation ceremonies at the main campus in March, July and October and one at each of its constituent colleges during a 12-month period. The two constituent colleges would hold their ceremonies a few weeks after the primary one at the main campus. However, world over, the disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have made institutions to move to a fully virtual graduation ceremony or a hybrid one, with just a handful of the graduands attending in person.
Kitayimbwa said no student will be allowed to graduate before clearing with all the university’s departments. The July event, which will be the 22nd graduation of the university, will also be the second time UCU holds a virtual graduation, after its maiden online event held on December 18, 2020. In the December 2020 graduation, only guild officials and graduands who had attained a first-class degree were allowed to attend in person.
UCU’s Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Olivia Nassaka Banja, noted that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have made it impossible to run a normal graduation plan of up to five in-person ceremonies a year. Dr. Banja said the decision on when to hold the graduation ceremony was made by the University Council.
“Covid-19 has disrupted the program, so the University Council thought it wise to hold the graduation only in July and October, to give students ample time to clear their dues and the transcripts office to finalize the processes (of getting the transcripts and certificates ready),” she said.
Commenting about the changes, Prof. Monica Chibita, the Dean of Faculty of Journalism, Communication and Media Studies, said everyone is in a “period of reading and learning” how to live in a new normal and that she was sure the university will “go forward,” despite the existing challenges.
Janet Natula, a final-year student of the Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration course, said although the new arrangement has hampered the graduation plans of those who expected the ceremony to be held in March, the university had to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Another final-year student, Andrew Semujju, pursuing Bachelors of Arts in Education, said the extension of the graduation date does not worry him much. After all, and most importantly, he has completed studies all but a ceremony.
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