N.U.S. graduations depend on S.O.E orders.

Whether final-year National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) students will have an open graduation ceremony this year depends entirely on future state of emergency orders, the university’s Vice-Chancellor said. 

The Vice-Chancellor and President of N.U.S., Professor Alec Ekeroma, told the Samoa Observer that the university’s graduation plans remain uncertain. 

In an interview on Monday, Professor Ekeroma stated that if state of emergency order limitations on the number of people permitted at gatherings are relaxed then holding an open graduation ceremony is a possibility.

"We have to look at the state of emergency orders [...] another state of emergency order will come out at the end of this month,” he said. 

“If the state of emergency order says that [...] if restrictions are relaxed in terms of get-togethers and congregation of people then we can have an open graduation," he said.

"But if the orders say that you can't have more than 100 people in one place, and then it would obviously have to be online."

Professor Ekeroma is hoping that the restrictions will be relaxed because there is no case of COVID-19 in Samoa.

He also hopes that students will have the opportunity to celebrate their academic achievements with a graduation ceremony. 

Professor Ekeroma said that certain students wanted an open graduation but others also have a preference for an online graduation ceremony to save money, especially students from Savai’i.

Earlier this year, students who had been scheduled to graduate in a conventional ceremony in April instead graduated in an online setting in June. 

That came after a 2019 decision to cancel ceremonies for Foundation students graduation and to postpone vocational studies graduation ceremonies as a result of the measles epidemic.

Instead, "socially distanced graduation" ceremonies were held, in which graduates’ names were announced on radio and television stations and they gathered in groups of five to uplift their qualifications in the university’s office.

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