Mumbai: Students feel robbed of a milestone in their lives as all Maharashtra state universities will bid adieu to their convocation ceremonies next year on. State’s Higher and Technical Education Minister, Chandrakant Patil, in a recent press conference announced that degrees will now be given to all students via the Digi locker and the grand convocation gatherings will be done away with.
This move has been passed to save money but at what cost, ask students. “I will graduate in 2026 and was already looking forward to my convocation. It is the one day when students feel that their efforts have been rewarded and is really our last chance to say goodbye to the university. Taking away our big day will certainly leave us demotivated,” said Shravani M., a second-year law student at Mumbai University (MU).
The University of Mumbai, which has been awarding degrees since 1862, held a grand convocation ceremony at its Fort campus last month. The ceremony was preceded by the traditional parade of deans and senate members after which the varsity gave out 14 gold medals to students who stood first in their respective fields. “If the decision of cancelling convocation is implemented then we’re indeed the luckiest batch,” said a former MU student who bagged the Chancellor’s Medal this year.
“The experience of going up on the stage and being honoured while my parents were tearing up in the audience was exhilarating,” she added.
The longing for this special day goes beyond the student body. Professors, who go on to become a crucial part of the convocation ceremony, are not very pleased with the new decision either. “A DigiLocker is a secure facility but it cannot replace a physical event of awarding students. I know of parents who fly overseas just to attend their child’s convocation, then how is it that we are taking away such an important event in our own state?” asked Dr. Manisha Karne, an Economics Professor at MU, who recalls her own Ph.D. convocation as an essential milestone.
The rule stands to affect students passing out from nearly 15 non-agricultural varsities across Maharashtra which followed long-standing traditions of awarding students their earned degrees in a convocation ceremony. Convocation bans came as a disappointment to the neighboring Savitribai Phule Pune University held up its 122-year practise and awarded degrees to over 900 students in a physical event held in January this year.
“In my opinion, the convocation ceremony holds significant importance as it symbolizes the culmination of a student's hard work and dedication in obtaining their academic degree. Universities have traditionally been known for their convocation ceremonies. However, the recent decision made by the Minister may disappoint many students. Also, requiring students to obtain their degree certificates through Digilocker, and making it compulsory, may not be the best course of action as it is not appropriate for any governing authority to enforce such a mandate,” said Chaitali Gaikwad, a former student and an Assistant Professor at SPPU.
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