Graduation and Farewell

13 March. It is the IN thing: Graduation! From PG to UG to KG – even LKG and UKG have this “Graduation”! I feel completely outdated! Why can’t I simply understand that it is another big word for ‘farewell’? No, my inherent categories don’t permit me!

Today the Graduation was at St Joseph’s College (SJC). The final year under graduate (UG) and post graduate (PG) students come together to bid goodbye to one another, and the College in turn, bids them adieu too!That’s for formality.

Strictly speaking, this is not graduation – in the technical sense of the word: here at SJC, there are classes still going on; they will go on till 24 March, and today it is only 13 March!

That will be followed by their end semester exams beginning 31 March. Most of them will clear, and will be eligible for ‘Graduation’ in the strictest sense of the word! Definitely, that is what the UGC, i.e., University Grants Commission, India’s highest body monitoring higher education in India, and any university in India would say! That is what dictionaries say, ‘The receiving or conferring of an academic degree or diploma,’ or ‘The ceremony at which degrees are conferred’ or ‘The action of dividing into degrees or other proportionate divisions on a graduated scale’. Now what degrees are conferred on going-students in our popular ‘graduations’? Or when any school or institution holds such a ceremony, is it any way related to ‘degree’ at all? (I must recall to myself, in our system, from nurseries till Higher Secondary schools, they are given ‘certificates’ and not ‘degrees’!)

Well, nothing to lose, except the correct-ness of it!

Why, I have seen good many kindergarten (KG) schools who conduct such ‘graduations’ for their tiny tots, in the presence of their parents and some ‘dignitary’, wearing all fancy paraphernalia! Why, even nurseries and play-schools have ‘graduation’, these days! Even there, it is not graduation; just a completing one year in a class! But will make them understand all this nitty-gritty?
So, what do I lose, if either my college or neighbouring school/college celebrate ‘Graduation’ Day in lieu of any event? Absolutely nothing! It only takes away the sheen of the farewell, which otherwise, could be very meaningful.

There is a catch, here: when the students have completed their exams, valuation is done, the schools/ colleges send the ‘graduating’ students’ list to the University for approval and certificates (this procedure does not apply to schools, anyway), and the university holds its convocation and then sends certificates to colleges, we could call all the “passing-out” students for a formal graduation to confer those degrees! We are talking about ‘graduation’! Wouldn’t that be meaningful? A reason to celebrate!

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