KAMPALA, UGANDA: Law Development Center (LDC) has announced that physical attendance for the forthcoming graduation ceremony will only be restricted to students who scored first-class in their post-graduate diploma courses and members of the guild cabinet.
LDC’s 49th graduation is set to take place on Friday, July 29, 2022, and according to the institution, the rest of the students not mentioned in the category above will attend the ceremony virtually.
Everest Turyahikayo, the academic registrar at LDC says graduands of academic year 2020/21 who passed with a first-class post-graduate diploma in legal practice, top 10 performing students in diploma in law, recipients of different awards, guild presidents and cabinet members, guild speakers and firm leaders are the only ones permitted to attend the graduation physically.
“No candidate shall be allowed entry into the graduation grounds other than the category listed above.” reads in part a statement by LDC.
The decision taken by the Institution has since caused mixed reactions and uproar from students and social media commentators labeling the move as discriminatory and unfair.
One of the graduands, Ms. Agather Atuhaire, who also works as a journalist at Civil
Space TV took to Twitter to question LDC’s decision to deny students a chance to physically attend the graduation ceremony, despite having endured pains of attending online classes as well as physical lessons.
“We would like LDC to give us reasons why we can’t be physically at our graduation ceremony. Physical celebrations are important to people to celebrate with their colleagues and parents, after all the hard work but especially after the traumatic experiences at LDC,” Atuhaire tweeted.
Atuhaire expressed discontentment that even in the statement, there’s nowhere it is stated how every graduand will pay the 400,000 shs amount despite a selection of them having to attend the ceremony virtually.
“Nowhere in that announcement do they offer an explanation or reasons for taking such a decision or why the rest of us still have to pay shs 400,000 if we are going to sit at home and watch the graduation on UBC. What is that money for exactly??,” she wondered.
Atuhaire added; “Graduations in other institutions which are graduating more students than LDC, the Uganda Martyrs celebrations had close to a million people, Kabaka’s run which had 80,000 people etc.. LDC itself plans a physical sports gala two days after graduation. So, what’s the rationale for a virtual graduation?”
Another Tweep, Patrick Kato said; “I think this is disguised discrimination, I don’t know why schools of law abuse the law with utter impunity. Other students paid tuition, sat and passed exams, and qualified to graduate, why then are they denied access to physical presence?! This is a bad culture.”
“What if LDC was petitioned to rescind this decision,the country isn’t under lock down ,the policy is hugely discriminatory and infringes on the rights of other students .The ministry of education should have a say on this.” Tanansi Nsubuga wrote.
However, in a statement, the LDC Public Relations office defended decision to hold the ceremony virtually saying the uncertainty and the unpredictable Covid-19 situation in the country triggered their stance on the matter.
“The lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic have led to evolution of new normal. Indeed, the 48th graduation ceremony in 2021 was a wholly virtual/online and all the students of Academic Year 2019/20, who passed the course at first sitting, graduated virtually,” Frank Obonyo, who signed the statement on behalf of the PRO noted.
He added that whereas LDC would have loved to conduct a physical ceremony, there is no statutory or other legal requirement for a graduation ceremony to be held physically.
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