Drive-through degrees at Ajman University’s Covid-safe graduation ceremony


Family members of the students taking photos from their cars during the drive thru graduation ceremony held at the Ajman University campus in Ajman. Pawan Singh / The National

Hundreds of students make the most of milestone despite coronavirus restrictions

It was a graduation ceremony to remember at Ajman University this week.

About 500 students queued with loved ones in a cavalcade of cars to receive their certificates from Monday to Wednesday, following measures brought in to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Karim Segher, the university’s chancellor, said the initial plan was to provide a traditional graduation service but recent events had forced a rethink.

“We had originally planned to hold an in-person [event] but the numbers [of Covid-19 infections] increased due to the Omicron variant,” he said.

“We wanted to come up with a solution that did not put the community at risk and also did not disappoint the parents and students, who rightly want to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“An online graduation ceremony just would not capture the moment in the same way, so we opted to go for a drive-through.”

The university holds graduations in summer and winter and has held drive-in graduations before.

“I am very proud of the university for coming up with this idea, which allows us to graduate and still stay safe,” said Imane Zerguine, who obtained a master’s degree in clinical pharmacy.

“I really applaud how they were able to accommodate the graduation and keep us safe at the same time.”

The Algerian, 27, said students were used to the disruption caused by the pandemic and most have learnt to work around it. That was not always the case, she said.

“Before the pandemic everyone was studying as normal and then, out of nowhere, everything was suddenly locked down,” Ms Zerguine said.

“It was a shock at first, but it’s been amazing how smoothly studying remotely has been adopted by everyone.”

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