UKZN’s autumn graduation sees women excel as top achievers
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By Sithembile Shabangu and Indu Moodley
Of the 10 313 graduands awarded degrees and diplomas during the 2021 University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) autumn virtual graduation ceremonies, 382 graduated cum laude and 149 summa cum laude - with women making up 68% of the top achievers.
The virtual graduation ceremonies were broadcast by the university between May 25 and 28.
Acting Executive Director of UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division, Normah Zondo said: “The university had hoped that, by 2021, we would be able to hold our graduation celebrations the traditional way. Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented challenges brought about by Covid-19, the university has had, once again, to significantly change the manner in which it confers qualifications and distributes its degree and diploma certificates. As one of the largest universities in the country, this is an enormous undertaking.”
Zondo says the university conferred 7 399 undergraduate degrees and 2 914 postgraduate degrees, of which 362 were Master’s (thesis) qualifications and 257 doctoral degrees. “The university is incredibly proud of the achievements of 90 students with disabilities, 26 of whom completed postgraduate studies, as well as three exceptional achievers who graduated with PhDs and six with Master’s qualifications,” added Zondo.
Included among the graduates were 245 international students, 200 of whom received postgraduate degrees.
A total of 1 781 degrees were conferred in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science; 5 362 in the College of Humanities; 2 011 in the College of Law and Management Studies; and 1 159 in the College of Health Sciences.
This year, the university broadcast four separate ceremonies, which were available for online viewing by graduates, family and friends. A recording of the event, as well as a programme, was shared with graduates on the day of their college graduation ceremony.
University Registrar, Dr Kathy Cleland advised graduands that digital academic transcripts (e-transcripts) and digital degree/diploma certificates (e-certificates) would be made available immediately following each ceremony. “The digital transcript and certificate have distinct advantages in that they will always be available online anywhere in the world. Certificates can be shared with up to three contacts, including prospective employers, and all parties can immediately confirm the authenticity and veracity of the certificate,” said Cleland.
“We are not alone in providing digital documentation - this has become a sector norm,” she added.