Parliamentary Replies

May 04, 2020

Postponement of graduation ceremonies for ITE, polytechnics and universities

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education whether the graduation ceremonies for ITE, polytechnics and universities will still be organised at a later date for the current batch of graduands should the COVID-19 situation improves and permits.

Response

1. Each Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) typically holds over ten graduation ceremonies, with the larger ones holding over 20 ceremonies, and some sessions can involve more than 1,000 people.

2. Realistically, in the light of COVID-19 and the need for safe distancing measures, our IHLs will not be able to hold traditional graduation ceremonies this year.

3. It will also not be practical to postpone these large-scale ceremonies later in the year, even if it is safe to do so by then. Because by then, graduands would have dispersed and gone their separate ways after completing their course.

4. Nonetheless, when the COVID-19 situation improves and stabilizes, the IHLs will explore other ways, not involving big ceremonies, to help students celebrate and commemorate the occasion, should they wish to.

5. We understand the disappointment of many students and parents. However, having explained the decisions, many have also expressed their understanding of the priority to safeguard health and lives, and that they would take this in their stride. Some graduands have also found their own creative ways to mark the occasion, such as a group of Temasek Polytechnic students who recently held a virtual graduation ceremony on Minecraft.

6. I want to reassure our students that even though we are unable to hold physical ceremonies, our students’ achievements in their education journey and graduation are no less significant.