The recent graduation week at Makerere University might have been historical, with students walking home with their transcripts on the same day, but it also saw a few parents embarrassed by their children who treated them to sham graduation.
Observer School has learnt of two Kenyan students who invited their parents to a feigned graduation ceremony.
Simon Njoroge was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, while Paul Kimathi was pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Science. Isaac Mwenyi, the father of Njoroge, might have gone celebrating his son’s graduation but it will take Dennis Kimathi, the father of Paul, quite a long time to get over the embarrassment his son caused him.
Simon and Paul did not appear on the graduation list because they had not cleared all their obligations with the university. Both of them had misused the money their parents gave them and failed to clear with the university in time. But they kept this as a top secret from their parents.
Paul told Observer School that he could not tell his father he was not going to graduate since his father was waiting on him to graduate and offer him a managerial job in his company. He said there was stiff competition for that job.
Unlike Simon whose parents never discovered that they had attended a sham graduation, Paul was not very lucky. Paul’s unease in the run-up to the ceremony made his mother suspect foul play. “She kept asking me why I was not happy yet it was the great day they had all been waiting for,” he said.
Paul had everything in place: a gown and hood which cost him Shs 50,000. Besides, his parents had bought him a KShs 40,000 (Shs 1 million) crisp-stripped Italian three-piece suit.
On his graduation day, Friday January 22, Paul and his parents left the hotel very early. The inquisitive mother asked Paul for the entrance coupons, but Paul said he had misplaced them.
However, as long as one was wearing a gown and cap, security would not be strict regarding the coupon.
Paul’s mother, Mary, whose other name could not be identified, is a secondary school teacher in Kenya. She bought the graduation list publication which was selling at Shs 5,000 only to get shocked to find that her son’s name was missing.
The parents were shocked even the more when they listened attentively as the list of his course mates was read and his name never featured.
Paul’s father decided to approach one of the university officials, only to find out that his son was not graduating. The official told Kimathi that his son had not cleared with the university and was not even qualified to be anywhere close to the graduation venue.
Kimathi said he had already spent close to KShs150,000 of the KShs 240,000 (UShs 2,250,000) he had budgeted for his son’s graduation.
Now he has to wait until January 2011 when the next graduation will be held, assuming he clears with the university. Simon’s parents never discovered the truth and everything went as usual, celebrating their son’s supposed achievement.
Indeed a number of students who should have graduated this year did not make it as many of them had missed exams or failed to clear with all the respective organs of the university, like the hospital, Police, the bursar, library and others.