Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) students have launched an online petition in an attempt to stop the institution from having a hybrid graduation ceremony.
The institution is set to have its graduation ceremony on 7 December at its Hatcliffe campus in Harare which will be attended by a small number of graduands while others will follow proceedings virtually.
Since 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Universities have been holding virtual graduations, only allowing those with first-class degrees to physically attend the ceremonies.
In the petition, the students said they do not want to graduate at different venues or virtually.
“We need a united physical graduation for all ZOU graduands (no separation) for whatever reason, ZOU organized graduation at different venues, that is, Belvedere and Hat cliff campus. As students we do not agree with that, we do not want to be separated and we do not want virtual graduation,” read the petition.
“The graduation day is more important than even acquiring the certificate itself to us as students. It is our day hence we need to graduate together like what we did when we were oriented during the start of our degree program,” read the petition.
Contacted for a comment, Corporate Communications Director, Thomas Mahundi said this year’s venue, Hatcliffe site is under construction hence it accommodates small numbers.
“The Zimbabwe Open University Management would like to inform its valued stakeholders the class of 2022 that your university remains committed to addressing the students’ plight. In view of this, management wishes to bring to your attention once again that this year’s main graduation venue, the Hatcliffe site is under construction hence it accommodates small numbers,” said Mahundi.
He said the rest of the graduands will graduate virtually at their regional campus venues, following proceedings live on ZTV, ZOU Facebook page and link via ZOU website.