18 July 2020
Dear Graduates, Staff and Students,
As you are aware, with COVID 19 regulations in place, we needed to cancel the traditional graduation ceremonies and host Graduation virtually. In addition, due to the fact that UKZN has traditionally only produced hard copy degree certificates and academic transcripts that are printed, signed and packed manually for the more than 10000 graduates in a graduation season, an alternate plan needed to be made for the 2020 certificates and transcripts. This necessitated procuring an eCertificate system, and then setting that system up with our ITS Graduation data.
All this has taken considerable effort and time, as both South Africa and the UK, where our international partner is based, are in the throes of various stages of lockdown, with the majority of staff working remotely.
Despite the very best efforts of all the role players to date, we were unable to meet our final deadline for release of the eCertificate and eTranscripts on the 17th of July 2020. Staff worked until late on the day, and while the majority of downloads worked, a number of critical downloads failed repeatedly, and we were unable to get to the bottom of the issue. I then unfortunately had to call a halt to the process, to give the technical teams time to explore the potential issues.
I, together with the entire Graduation team, am acutely aware of the disappointment and frustration this ongoing delay has caused many of our graduates, and for this I wish to apologise unreservedly.
The teams looking into the download issues will continue working over the weekend, to ensure that the system has a smooth download transition as soon as possible.
The process of issuing 11000 Graduation certificates is not without its complications in ‘normal’ times, as there are a number of checks and balances and quality checks that have to be done, every step of the way, to ensure the integrity of the process. Working with a new system and integrating that with our database, all while working remotely has sadly taken its toll.
My request is that you please bear with us for a short while longer, as we are very close to concluding the process.
Dr KE Cleland