The University of Johannesburg (UJ) unveiled its virtual graduation ceremony this week where its 13 000 graduates had the opportunity to don graduation attire in the comfort of their own homes.
Close to 10 000 undergraduate diplomas or degrees and almost 3 000 postgraduate degrees, including 669 Master's and 133 Doctoral degrees were virtually awarded by the University's Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.
University of Johannesburg Virtual Graduation Ceremony
Due to restrictions on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University had to suspend and postpone its autumn and winter series of graduations, which would have comprised of more than 60 graduation ceremonies from 16 March to 13 May.
Speaking ahead of the virtual graduation session, Prof Marwala noted that a graduation 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 providing government restrictions are lifted on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic."
These qualifications indicate a personal triumph for each of our successful students, but they are also the means towards an improved livelihood for more than 13 000 families, as well as for their communities and our society. It is important to celebrate the occasion and thus during the virtual graduation tribute, graduates will be able to take a graduation selfie (photo), in the graduation attire, while "standing around" virtually at the graduation ceremony.
In a first for a South African university, UJ not only introduced a virtual graduation selfie application, but also electronic academic records. Graduates (and current students) can now send a secure electronic academic record to themselves or a third party, for example a prospective employer (free of charge). The electronic academic record is an official document that is digitally stamped and signed by the Registrar.
This follows on the introduction, in the recent years of a qualifications verification system that enable its graduates to access their qualifications digitally (and share with third parties or possible employers, also at no cost.)