Covid-19 has put a full stop if not a comma in a lot of our plans. For some, it might’ve been a vacation or a simple food hunt but for a lot of Malaysians, it was an interview, their wedding or even graduation. While it is difficult to give up on those things, whatever decision we make after this has to be with the greater good and the “new normal” in mind.
In line with that, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Terengganu announced that for their graduation ceremony this year, instead of students accepting scrolls, two robots will be representing the students!
Free Malaysia Today reported that the university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Hassan Basri Awang Mat Dahan said that a virtual convocation would be held, featuring the two robots, Naseem and Seebaa. They even released a video to show how prepared they are for this event.
“It’s better to postpone it instead of letting the robot get our scrolls.”
The video received mixed responses from the students of UniSZa with most of them not agreeing with this arrangement as they felt a virtual convocation would completely undermine their years of effort.
“UniSZA may be ready but we as future graduates are not! I’d rather wait for one, two and no matter how many years but please allow us to go on that stage. I studied for four years just for that moment and to celebrate it with my mother. UniSZA listen to our pleas.”
“As a parent, I would like to see my child who’d studied hard to go on the stage and get the coveted scroll. It’s a big day for the kids, parents and lecturers. I hope the convocation will be delayed to next year. There’s no need to use robots, it’s simply meaningless.”
UniSZa reassures that the video was merely a suggestion.
After the uproar over their video, the university made a Facebook post clarifying that the Higher Education Ministry has already decided that there will be no graduation ceremony this year. The video was merely a “proof of concept” where the university is prepared for a virtual convocation only IF THE SITUATION ARISES. So far, there have not been any plans for UniSZA to conduct a 100% virtual convocation.
They added that symbolically the robots could be used for the ceremony next year to represent any international students unable to attend their convocation besides students being physically present. “We understand that the convocation ceremony is not just a handout, it is a spiritual appreciation to celebrate the success of our graduates in their struggles for knowledge,” they said.
Do you think a virtual graduation ceremony is our new way of adapting to the new normal? Let us know in the comments section!
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