For the first time pomp and colour that stirs the sleepy Njoro Town to life when Egerton University hosts key events at its main campus will be missing as VC Prof. Rose Mwonya declared that the 42nd graduation ceremony will be a brief affair and will be attended by a maximum of 15 people spread out at the institution’s main hall.
“It will be briefest graduation ceremony in Egerton University’s 81-year of existence and will adhere to all rules and regulations laid out by the Ministry of Health to contain spread of Covid- 19. We also want to discourage those who will be following proceeding online not to congregate at one point,” stated the VC.
She stated that the deans will read out names of graduands from their offices or wherever they will be adding that the event will be streamed online.
Founded by Lord Maurice Egerton of Tatton, a British national who settled in Kenya in 1939, graduation ceremonies since the institution became a full-fledged University in 1987 have also been associated with financial windfalls and opportunities to reconnect with relatives and friends.
It is a time when hoteliers, taxi drivers, matatu operators, hawkers and food vendors in Nakuru Town and its environs have always looked forward to record brisk business with demand for transportation services, accommodation, food stuffs, snacks and decorations sky rocketing.
The 15 key people at the ceremony will include Education CS Prof. George Magoha or his representative, Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research PS Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, university ChancellorDr. NarendraRameshchandra Raval, the Vice Chancellor, Chair of the University Council Amb. Dr. Hukka Wario and members of Senate.
“We will confer 10 students with doctorate degrees, 44 with Masters Degrees and 791 with Bachelor’s degrees. 68 others will be awarded Diplomas.
The ceremony will be very brief and will follow all the laid out directives by the Ministry of Health. The short span will also discourage people congregating at any point,” said Prof. Mwonya.
The students will catch the ceremony online via the university’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter platforms. They will also be able to link with the event through ZOOM.
Egerton University joins several other universities that are continuing to hold virtual graduation ceremonies as learning institutions embrace technology to continue with their programmes amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Dedan Kimathi University and Riara University have held theirs in the past two months.
Prof. Mwonya said virtual graduation and lectures should now be embraced as the new normal, stating that institutions of higher learning will need to adapt, innovate and proceed with life differently.
“It is not easy to project when the country will be restored to normalcy following outbreak and spread of Covid-19. As for now a traditional graduation or lectures in halls cannot be held. However, this does not mean that normal operations at learning institutions should be stalled.
The students have completed their studies but cannot secure employment for lack of the certificates yet some of them have skills that are needed during this Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.
As part of preparations, the university has advised graduands to download their e-invitation cards from the student portal. They will follow the live event from wherever they will be.
The PhD graduands are required to part with Sh6,000, while Masters and Bachelors graduands will pay Sh5,000 and Sh4,500 respectively. Those conferred with Diplomas will also part with Sh4,500.
Only those graduating with PhDs will receive their academic certificates on the graduation day, while the rest will wait for two weeks after the virtual ceremony.
There will be no students, scholars, dignitaries and multitudes that form a sea of humanity at the graduation square. There will be no after parties, feasts or celebrations of any kind. Names will be read and credentials conferred online in a ceremony with not more than 15 people.