UJ students upset family and friends weren’t allowed to attend graduations

2. University of Jordan
An undated photo of the University of Jordan campus. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The University of Jordan’s (UJ) decision to prevent guests from attending graduation ceremonies, has caused upset among graduating students. The university’s measures are in compliance with the Ministry of Higher Education’s rules.اضافة اعلان

In all, 13,000 students are set to graduate this week from the University of Jordan, with no guests in attendance.

“The ministry applies the health protocol approved by the Ministry of Health, for the purpose of maintaining the safety of students and their families,” said Mohammad Alawan Al-Abadi, director of the Private Education Directorate at the Ministry of Higher Education.

“The government adopts the Sanad application in public and private institutions, and a rapid COVID-19 examination has been adopted for all, to ensure that infection does not spread in all educational institutions due to large gatherings of students and teachers,” he said.

Families and friends gathered outside the graduation venue in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the students walking past.

Ruba Rayyan, a second-year business student at the university, volunteered to help organize the function, and noted a lack of zeal among the graduating class. “The students didn't seem too excited at all because their parents weren't in the audience and neither were their friends so there was definitely something missing from the festivities,” Rayyan told Jordan News.

Rayyan said many students were expressing their wish for the ceremony to conclude due to the situation as well as the constant reinforcement of protocols.

“We were really tough on them with the COVID-19 protocols. We had to keep separating people, and we constantly reminded them to keep their masks on,” she said. “The students weren't allowed to sit with their friends either during the ceremony, they couldn't walk around freely, they had to stay seated until it was time for them to walk the stage,” Rayyan said.

Graduation ceremonies started Sunday and will continue for eight more days. Hadeel Yaseen, an associate professor at the university, noted that even family members who work at the university were prohibited from attending the ceremonies.

Leen Al-Jadeed received a high GPA and ranked among the top graduates in her class in the Faculty of Foreign Languages. Although she was upset about the enforcement of the rules, she agreed that rationally, it is the best option given the current situation with COVID-19.

“I was a bit upset for a moment when I knew that we were not allowed to bring any folks along and no companions either. However, I understand the exceptional situation we are living under right now with all the restrictions imposed and the safety measures,” Jadeed said.

She said that the large number of students graduating would effectively create new challenges if each student were allowed guests, but for her, the fact that she was graduating was enough for both her and her family.

“Of course, it would have been much more enjoyable to have my parents, sisters, and close family beside me on this happy occasion,” Jadeed said. “Nonetheless, I am graduating from one of the oldest and greatest universities in Jordan, so I need to consider that everything comes with a cost,” she added. She said once she gets home she will celebrate with her family.

Dean of Student Affairs Muhannad Al-Mubaidin, urges those graduating as well as their families, to follow the rule and commit to them, and understand the current circumstances.

“If we didn't do this, it wouldn't be one or two guests per person, the whole family would come, and we cannot let that happen,” Mubaidin told Jordan News. “We are not supposed to compare ourselves to others because our situation is different,” he added. His comments followed complaints that private educational institutions allowed some guests to attend.

Some private universities allowed families into the graduation ceremony, only because the number of graduating students was considerably smaller. Mubaidin said that there is no comparison between a private university with 500 graduating students, and the University of Jordan with 13,000 graduating students.

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