19th of January at GTU: Restoring the Beauty and Sanctity of Convocation-
First Magnificent Step..Stutter ... a Fall with a thud...Succeeding at the end:
19th January 2013: GTU’s Convocation had a beautiful, though a little too enthusiastic, start. The Report, presented at the Convocation, brought out the magnificent job that the GTU community had done during the year. Though every group knows about the good work that it has been doing, not many might have been aware of the awesome work that we all jointly had been able to accomplish. The Report was designed so that the number of enthusiastic members of GTU community, who are working for the excellence of learning systems at GTU, would increase further.
Sri Sri Ravishankarji – the spiritual icon of the youth, Padmabhushan Shri A.M.Naik named as the 4th Best CEO of a technology company in the world recently, Shri Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, the Honourable Education Minister of Gujarat and Shri Jay Narayan Vyas delivered inspiring speeches. Her Excellency Dr Kamalaji, the Chancellor of GTU praised the University for its excellent work. She exhorted the graduating students to work for India of tomorrow. After the gold medals were awarded to 129 toppers in various programs, the Convocation was declared closed.
12,357 new graduates had registered for receiving the degree in person and 6408 of them had registered for bringing their parent with them. In addition, the live convocation on the web had hits from 56,385 viewers in 24 countries from 1291 unique IP addresses. Thus this was one of the biggest Convocations.
A Convocation is a solemn occasion, which marks the beginning of a graduate’s life in the open wide world, as he/she steps out of the gates of the University life. Convocations at a good University are marked by beauty, discipline and some youthful exuberance. The first three hours at the GTU convocation were beautiful. As long as the Convocation lasts, no one is supposed to move out or saunter in. At this Convocation though we did have this movement in/ out of the Convocation, it was done without causing any disturbance. Let us decide to ensure even a better discipline at the next Convocation.
The Fall with a thud: After the Convocation, the process of issuing of certificates started at the ten counters of the VGEC building. GTU underestimated the number of students, who would like to pick up the certificates in person. The space near the Counters (Cs), from which the certificates were being issued, was very little. If queues (Qs) had been formed, these Qs could have spilled out into the open space. Our new graduates did not form the Qs and there was unruly crowding at the Cs, which slowed down the process of issuing the certificates further. (To see whether we could alleviate the problem, I sent some persons to explore appropriate places, where additional Cs could be opened.) Meanwhile, one person threw a stone at one of the Cs, probably in exasperation at the delays. The work continued for a few minutes more at all the Cs, when a couple more of stones landed on a few of the Cs. The Cs did not have much of a security feature. So the GTU staff closed the Cs. The crowd of students moved towards the empty Convocation Pandal and towards the new GTU building, which is nearing completion.
The Process of Standing-up: A few of the senior officers of the University led by the Director, moved towards the students to pacify them while I talked to a few students, who had come to meet me and make a representation about the issue.
Meanwhile the persons, who had been sent to explore appropriate places for new Cs, were able to locate appropriate places for 10 Cs - five in the new GTU-building and five in the canteen-building. Since the crowd of our new graduates continued to be unruly, in spite of the efforts to pacify them, the large number of boxes, having about 27,000 certificates could not be carried across the open ground from VGEC towards the two buildings. So the help of police had to be requisitioned so that the safety of the certificates of the new graduates could be ensured. The Dean for Post-Graduate Affairs went herself and the certificates were transported in a police van. This process took more than an hour. Our examination team, led by our Controller of Examinations organized the teams at the ten Cs. I went around the Cs and asked the students to wait for a few minutes more before the distribution of certificates was started. The students told me that there were no nearby places for snacks etc. The whole of the GTU team rose to the occasion. A post-graduate Dean and a Mechanical Engineer took charge of the Pharmacy Cs. Two Deans of Business handled the MCA and ME Cs. The Cs remained open till every single new graduate, present at the site, could get his/ her certificate. After some time we were able to organize the provision of water bottles and snacks for our new graduates.
It was a long day. At about 9.30 PM, when I thanked one of the young Administrative Assistants for the excellent work and for staying late (We do not pay any over-time to our Admin Asstts.), she said that it was her own duty. It is by learning from our failures, by proper planning and with the help of this kind of young persons that we shall succeed in building a great University.
One last thought: We were able to supply the certificates to everyone in less than 3 hours from the new counters. If only we had been able to form the Qs at the old Cs at VGEC and if in about an hour, new Cs could have been opened, could we not have completed the job faster and with much greater convenience to every one?
Dr. Akshai Aggarwal
(20 Jan 2013)
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