22 March, 2018, 12:00 am
SEVERAL graduating law students of the University of Fiji (UniFiji) yesterday raised their disappointment over the postponement of their graduation ceremony which was initially scheduled for April 6.
The concerns were raised by graduating UniFiji law students with Minister for Economy and Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the fourth 2018/2019 budget consultations for tertiary students at the UniFiji Suva campus in Samabula.
The UniFiji graduation was scheduled for April 6 to be held at the UniFiji Saweni campus which was advertised earlier last month in a daily newspaper.
But this was understood to be later postponed to April 13 as the same venue was to house the 2018/2019 budget consultations on April 5, a day prior to the initially scheduled graduation.
A final year Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) student based in the UniFiji Suva campus, who wished to be unnamed, told Mr Sayed-Khaiyum that the “short notice” by the university had affected them.
This, he said, was because the students along with their families had made several logistics planning straight after the graduation date was initially announced.
“We have families coming in from overseas, because of that advertisement that the graduation would be on the April 6, just soon after that we had accommodation arrangements being made,” the student said.
“However, just maybe three days after that there was an informal notice to the graduating students that the same had been cancelled.
“The reason of the cancellation was never revealed to us, the only thing revealed was that it was due to an unforeseen circumstance by the university.”
The student said after several queries were being raised to the university, it was then revealed that the venue was to be used for the 2018/2019 budget consultations in Lautoka.
“We as a class we were saying that, oh the whole purpose of graduation has been defeated and we feel right now that we are not being part of it, we don’t want to attend it,” he said.
“Because most of our families have already made arrangements for that date and it is together with the long Easter weekend.”
The student said they later sent a letter to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s office relaying their disappointment over the postponement of dates.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said when they received the letter; he had queried with this team including his permanent secretary whether the budget consultations would affect the UniFiji graduation.
“We did not realise that your graduation ceremony was being postponed just because we are having the consultations the day before,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told the students.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the university had also assured the venue and for the Ministry of Economy to continue with the budget consultations as planned on April 6.
He said the university in their correspondence, had stated that only one or three students were raising concerns on the issue.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, however, confirmed that they would be happy to change the date of budget consultations and would raise the concerns with the university.