You Are the Lucky Ones Instead – UR Vice Chancellor to Students Graduating Amid Covid-19 Shocks

In a semi-virtual event, the University of Rwanda(UR) has graduated a total of 8,908 students from the six colleges, including five Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidates.

Today’s graduation ceremony is the first in two years since 2019. Last year, the event was postponed to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seventh graduation ceremony was held at Kigali Cultural and Exhibition Village on 27 August where only university officials, PhDs graduands, and a couple of guests including the Minister of Education were physically in attendance.

UR is a government tertiary institution with six colleges including; College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Agriculture, Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, College of Business and Economics, College of Medicine and Health Science, College of Education, and College of Science and Technology.

“Let this be a moment of reflection for you. I would like to draw your attention to the good things you might never have had the chance to learn this early in your academic and professional lives were it not to be for coronavirus. The intensive online classes experience for students and faculty, the improvisation of technology, learning and teaching equipment, the patience with school administration, government, families, and with each other, are all good,” Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje, the UR Vice-Chancellor said.

 “Difficult times will always yield resilient products. Meaning that in case any of you was viewing yourself as unfortunate to have been the least affected by the unusual times, let me remind you that you are the lucky ones instead.”

“This world as we know it offers better opportunities to those who make the best out of seemingly bad situations than those who are quick to have self-pity, consumed in lamentations over situations they could do little or nothing about. There is no doubt that you are better prepared to take on the world than you would have been if you finished school during normal times,” he noted.

Among the graduands is included 385 candidates with master’s degrees and 57 with postgraduate diplomas and Certificates.

Another 467 candidates graduated with Advanced Diploma and 198  with Diplomas.

Meanwhile, the biggest number of candidates, 7,796  students, all attending the event virtually, were awarded Bachelor’s degrees.

The 5 Ph.D. graduands hail from Mathematics Reasoning, Education, Medicine, and Physics in Education.

“Esteemed graduands, while this marks the conclusion of an important phase, we are to be quickly reminded that it doubles as the beginning of another. Over the last few years you have been going through transformation that is not to be an end in itself, it is to enable you to play enhance roles individually and collectively in the social, economic, and political transformation of our countries, continents, and the world,” Prof. Lyambabaje said.

“A few years ago, you arrived at the University of Rwanda with one goal to study and complete, then return to the open world. Go and be that which you were trained for, to become mature people, more responsible and capable of adding value to the society.”

He added that it is time for the graduates to take something valuable to the community.

The graduation ceremony was presided over by Education Minister, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya.

“The 2021 Graduation is a ceremony like no other before, at least in the last 27 years of renewed Rwanda. Never before had we skipped a whole year without graduation, but owing to the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that happened,” Dr. Uwamariya said.

“The intensive online classes experience for students and faculty, the improvisation of technology, learning and teaching equipment, the patience with school administration, government, families and with each other, are all good,” Dr. Uwamariya said.

Dan Tumusime who graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and surgery said that Covid-19 was a challenge but they could not sit back and relax when the government was fighting to stop spreading.

“As future medical practitioners, we helped the government in carrying out tests in communities. We couldn’t sit and relax,” Tumusime said.

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