It’s a disheartening sight to see one’ s parents being burnt to toast in the unbearable heat for hours on end as they sit on the stands facing the sun, just so they can see their child graduate.
Even though some parents were given decent shelter in the form of tents, some were left to bear the heat as there was barely enough space provided for all parents to fit during the University of Botswana annual graduation ceremony.
Although the ceremony was pleasant for the most part, the way the graduation procedure was carried out leaves a lot to be desired.
First of all, it’s a fact that most UB lecturers as well as board members of the institution are people who have studied abroad, people who have had enough experience to know that the way the UB graduation is carried out is nothing short of mediocre.
They have seen in their previous universities of study that parents of the graduating students are the most important guests after the students themselves.
Here, this is not evident in the way they are treated even after they had travelled for hours to attend the ceremony.
There is also a problem in the way that the stadium is packed to the brim because they want to deal with all the graduates in one swoop.
It’s amazing how they want to do a fast job by having doctors, masters’ degrees, bachelors’ degrees, diplomas, and certificate holders from two institutions (UB and Botswana College of Agriculture) graduate on the same day.
This is after they have asked people to be seated by seven, only to start late, to the dismay of those parents seating at the stands who could already start to feel the heat of the rising sun.
To top it off, the guests of honour are evidently given limitless amount of time to talk about subjects that don’t even hold the interest of the graduates.
Although some were just happy to be graduating, it was disturbing to some how the whole procedure was impersonal.
It was like packing cattle into the kraal; people were so squashed some didn’t even bother to bow in front of the chancellor.
The long hours standing there just so one could get a fake scroll, which didn’t contain anything, and a Bible (religiously tolerant nation?) that some already had at home, was a tragic scene.
To top it off, the crowd couldn’t even see the valedictorian; they could only hear her voice, and she might as well have been absent.
Maybe with time, the institution, which has arguably some of the best minds in southern Africa, could benchmark on what other universities are doing to make graduation the happiest day of a graduate’s life.
Or, maybe, they could use their own experiences to make the day bearable for the parents and the graduates.
I may be na├»ve but I do not see what the problem could be in dividing graduates from different faculties or levels of study into different days for graduations. That way the process could be swift and personal, with only one graduate at a time kneeling before the Chancellor and his delegates.
Let the graduates have their shine, they earned it!