The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has found a fun quirky way to celebrate graduation ceremonies during this global COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, UJ launched its first virtual graduation ceremony where over 13 000 graduates will have the opportunity to don their graduation a¤ire in the comfort of their homes and observe social distancing.
Due to restrictions on public gatherings during the nationwide lockdown, the university had to suspend and postpone all its 60 autumn and winter series of graduations, from March 16 to May 13.
Ten thousand undergraduate diplomas or degrees, 3 000 postgraduate degrees, including 669 master’s and 133 doctoral degrees have been virtually awarded by the university’s vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.
Marwala said the ceremony is such a momentous occasion in a student’s life. “We trust this virtual ceremony will afford graduands, family and friends to experience some elements of a graduation ceremony.
The university is also planning an in-person celebration at a later stage provided government restrictions are lifted on public gatherings,” said Marwala.
A first for a South African university, the virtual graduation selfie application gives students the opportunity to have images of themselves on the graduation stage and in front of the historic water fountain at the Auckland Park campus.
However, reactions to the app have been mixed with students saying that they would rather wait for their actual ceremony.
Twitter reaction to the selfie app @BiancaMahoko said: “UJ needs to seriously rethink that virtual graduation app, no way.”
“So our grandparents must ululate for pixels? Nah fam, the graduation ceremony can be postponed,” said @Lisckey_ on Twitter.
While @Golethabom said: “We are more than willing to wait for actual graduations, honestly.”
UJ spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen confirmed the app was outsourced in consultation with the institutions’ experts.