University of KwaZulu-Natal studen leaders have called on the institution to issue hard copy qualifications and academic records to their graduates. Pictre: Abhi Indrarajan
University of KwaZulu-Natal studen leaders have called on the institution to issue hard copy qualifications and academic records to their graduates. Pictre: Abhi Indrarajan

Student leaders call for hard copy qualifications and records for graduates

By Sakhiseni Nxumalo Time of article published Oct 7, 2020

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Durban - STUDENT leaders at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) have called on the institution to issue hard copy qualifications and academic records to their graduates.

According to the student leadership, students have raised a number of concerns regarding the e-Certificate system that is used by the institution to issue certificates.

As per the Covid-19 regulations, the institution cancelled traditional graduation ceremonies and they were, for the first time, held virtually.

UKZN said it had to acquire an eCertificate system and link it to its ITS Graduation data to allow graduates to have access to their certificates.

President Sifiso Simelane said the Student Representative Council (SRC) had written to the university’s management calling for a meeting to resolve the issues regarding the printing of hard copies.

Simelane said the SRC had also asked the university to allow all staff members to return to campus so they can be able to print out the hard copies for graduates.

“A number of students have contacted us pleading that we ask the university to provide them with hard copies. Some of the students are telling us that they can’t access their qualifications through the eCertificate system.

“There are also some graduates that say they can’t print it out and thus delay their application process,” he said.

Simelane said the council engaging the institution and was had sent a number of emails requesting a meeting.

“We are just waiting for them to confirm the Zoom meeting in order to raise issues that are coming from students and graduates.

“We are now on level one and they should have printed them already for those who want to come and collect them,” he said.

However, the institution has defended its system, saying they have received positive feedback from students and approximately 90% of their April 2020 graduates had active registrations on the online portal.

Acting executive director of corporate relations Normah Zondo said that e-Certificates and e-Transcripts were not available to print or download for security reasons.

Zondo said e-Certificates come with certain distinct advantages as they cannot be lost or misplaced and were always available online.

“e-Certificates can be shared with up to three contacts. Contacts can be added and removed. e-Certificate and e-Transcripts can be shared with potential employers, who can immediately verify the certificate online.

“A built-in safety feature is that when you withdraw a contact’s right to view your e-Certificate, they no longer have access to it,” said Zondo.

She said there were much greater security protection for students, employers and the university, as the authenticity and veracity of the certificate can be easily confirmed.

She said students were able to access their e-Certificate and e-Transcript from anywhere in the country and the world, at any time.

The Mercury

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