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October 18 2021 5:01 PM ˚

Jordanian students call for in-person graduation

As graduation season approaches, COVID-weary students call for in person ceremonies. (Photo: Freepik)
As graduation season approaches, COVID-weary students call for in-person ceremonies. (Photo: Freepik)
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AMMAN — After three consecutive semesters of online learning, Jordan’s class of 2021 are calling for in-person graduation ceremonies — a decision the government has yet to approve.اضافة اعلان

The Kingdom has boasted a strong epidemiological situation over the past few weeks, with COVID-19 positivity rates consistently hovering below 5 percent and the vaccination campaign steadily progressing. Despite this, and the reopening of many sectors, the government has still restricted university graduation ceremonies up until now.

Saleen Ghanimeh, a 25-year-old student, completed her bachelor’s degree in marketing this semester from Al-Ahliyya Amman University. Ghanimeh said she is glad that she finally finished her studies and can now focus on her business and her career life.

“I feel relieved, because now I can focus on the business that I’m working on, and I can get all the benefits from my studies,” the graduate told Jordan News in an interview over the phone.

Ghanimeh is trying to make the most of her ceremony-less graduation. “Actually the university took from me a lot of time so it would have meant a lot if I would be able to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” she said. “But I am planning on doing parties with my family and friends, so I can still celebrate.”

Likewise, her mother Salam Khoury is happy for her daughter, but her happiness is limited because she wanted to witness her daughter walking on the stage with her diploma.

“I do feel bad a little since I might not be able to see her walking through the stage to get her certificate,” Khoury told Jordan News. “It hurts because I watched every single one she got earlier, and that’s the last one.”

Finishing is enough
The cancelation of the graduation ceremony did not bother all students. “To be honest I am happy that there is no graduation ceremony because I can’t imagine myself wearing a suit and standing under the sun in this hot weather,” Tarek Haddad, a 24-year-old medical student, said in an interview with Jordan News.

“However my parents wanted to see me receiving my certificate at the ceremony, but they understand the current situation of the pandemic,” Haddad added.

“The excitement of finishing my six years of study is enough for me,” he said. “I don’t even want to do a graduation party myself because I don’t feel like I need to, I am excited to start my career.”

“The situation just got recently better, where the preparations for a graduation ceremony needs time, and the situation only got better recently so we don’t have enough time to prepare a graduation ceremony,” Raed Alkhasawneh, dean of the Student Affairs Council at the German JordanianUniversity, told Jordan News.

“Next semester we might do a graduation while combining the students who graduated this semester with next semester,” he added. It “depends on the pandemic situation next semester with some restrictions regarding the attendance.”

‘Until all the students get vaccinated’
This isn’t the first semester that students have been barred from celebrating their graduation in an in-person ceremony, Fakher Daas, the general coordinator of a student advocacy moment called “Thabahtona,” told Jordan News in an interview that “This frustration students have has been going on since the beginning of the pandemic, in which every semester students get frustrated and ask for a celebration.”

“But this semester the students are more frustrated, especially because the pandemic situation is getting better and life is getting back to normal. So students are asking for their right to celebrate by using the hashtag ‘my graduation is my right.’”

Universities are still waiting for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to decide if they will perform a graduation ceremony this year or not.

A source from a university in Jordan told Jordan News that the ministry “is focusing on vaccinating the students to ensure their safety, and that until all the students get vaccinated there won’t be any kind of activities at university campuses.”

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