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Jan 11, 2018

U.B. Student Wants Pomp and Circumstance in February, not June

There is a degree of disquiet among some students at the national university over a change in the date of graduation from February to June. Some students have complained that the postponement gets in the way of his pursuit of another degree as well as a job opportunity. This afternoon, the University of Belize President himself penned a response offering both an explanation and to assist in ironing out the wrinkles. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

President Clement Sankat and his team over at the University of Belize have been transforming the educational experience and services at the country’s national university. Recently, the institution launched its master’s program in business administration.  But a decision made by UB to discontinue the February graduation exercise is not sitting well with some students. On Wednesday, Alberto Matus fired off a letter to the institution, expressing concerns about this change.  He says that he completed the bachelor’s program in Information Technology last December and he like others – including students who completed their studies during summer of 2017 – will now have to wait until June to receive their official degrees.

 

Alberto Matus

Alberto Matus, Student, University of Belize

“The biggest issue right now is this entire change with graduation. It is not really about the graduation itself, but the dates that are being set forth to attain your actual degree. At first, there were two graduation dates; one in February and one in June. The one in February catered for those finishing in summer and December, however, that is being completely scrapped out and now there will be one graduation for all campuses for UB, which is in June. Thus meaning that those people finishing in summer of last year, they have to wait an entire year to get their actual degree and persons in my situation have to wait a period of six months.”

 

The IT Technician of Cayo says that his employer is not accepting the letter of completion issued by the university and they have not been able to acquire increments and meet commitments.

 

Alberto Matus

“People who are in my situation won’t be able to get any sort of increments, nor this letter of completion that they are giving is not valid for all applications. For instance, I wanted to apply for a master’s degree program online and they said, no, you need your actual degree. We can give you a period of four months to get all your paper, but till June, that’s way past it, so now I have to wait. And believe me when I speak it is not only for myself; this affects an entire bunch of people. Imagine every year during February you get loads of people graduating. This means that all of those people there, including those from last July are waiting for their degrees. It is insane man.”

 

President Sankat has since responded to Matus’ email saying that graduation dates and venues were proposed, reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees of the University after consultation with the elected student representatives from all campuses.  The letter says that (Quote) “the UB is moving back to a single graduation ceremony in June, principally because of the precarious state of our finances.” (Unquote) Trudy Joseph Swaso says that the institution is student- centered and will assist Matus.

 

Trudy Joseph Swaso

Trudy Joseph Swaso, Marketing & Communications Officer, UB

“The change was made with consultation of the persons that are key; it was approved by the Board of Trustees for the University of Belize and we are here to help the students. So those students that might be have an issue with the letter that just states Letter of Completion or if the letter is just To Whom it May Concern, they are free to contact us at concerns@ub.edu.bz or they can actually send it to the registrar here at the University of Belize and we are willing to assist them in any way because we don’t want our students to not be able to get what it is that is required after they have completed the graduation requirements.”

 

While it appears that the matter will be resolved, Matus offered an option to the University; at least for him and those who do not wish to wait until June to receive their certificates.

 

Alberto Matus

“His last email was hopeful in a sort of way. He mentioned that I need to give him at least a week because first of all he is out of the country; he is going to be in within the next week or so. And he didn’t give any clear response as to if there will be a solution to it, but he said he will think about it and see what can be done. I said listen, if you are actually doing this to save monies for U.B. due to the financial status or whatnot, I said I am pretty sure that most people are willing to pay a fee to process their degrees and get it before hand. And it is a win-win situation; we get our degrees and they make profits on top.”

 

Trudy Joseph Swaso

“These are case by case basis and this is why we would like to let all the students know that they can feel free to come, send us an email or visit us at the Belmopan campus.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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