No grad ceremony? Class of 2020 are going virtual |

Screengrab of CMM MC GRADUATION via Youtube

Graduation ceremonies for polytechnics and ITEs are typically held in May and July, but due to the current coronavirus situation, these milestone events have been cancelled.

Instead, around 26,000 students from the five polytechnics and 6,500 ITE students will get their diplomas, certificates, and transcripts mailed to them at home. For most students, this means they won’t get to celebrate this milestone with their friends.

However, this hasn’t stopped some students from conducting virtual graduation ceremonies.

Minecraft graduation

One group of friends from Temasek Polytechnic (TP) held their graduation ceremony on the video game Minecraft, rendering their school auditorium with 5,000 blocks. The group met with their in-game avatars dressed in graduation gowns on April 10, and uploaded the video on Youtube and Reddit.

The 30-minute event was held in chronological order, beginning with a speech, before avatars marched in line to the stage to collect their “certificates” as their names were read. As with graduation tradition, they even managed to toss their certs.

The boom of Minecraft – nostalgic to Gen Z – graduation probably began with US college students.

Students from Boston University to UCLA and University of Washington have created or resurrected Minecraft servers and shared their creations on Discord chats, in Facebook meme groups, and on Reddit threads.

Earlier in March, a group of University of Pennsylvania students did their graduation on Minecraft – they recreated their campus, specifically Locust Street, for graduating seniors to walk down in-game.

Other online activities

Other polytechnic students are also holding virtual ceremonies on video conferencing platform Zoom. These sessions involved uploading digital templates of their schools’ landmarks which are used as backgrounds.

Groups would agree to meet at a specific time online, and go through the ceremony chronogically – with the “walk-in” and even an emcee speech.

Over 1,000 graduates of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) will be treated to a slew of virtual graduation activities organised by the school between 4 and 8 May. The virtual gift pack for graduates features virtual NP backgrounds and graduation backdrops for social media channels or video conferencing tools. Graduates are also encouraged to share photos and video messages.

Virtually there

While Singapore’s graduates are turning to virtual activities, it’s a pity that no school has decided to do it “in-person” the way Business Breakthrough University (BBT) in Tokyo did – with robots.

With university staff and media representatives physically present, the four students were represented by robots, dubbed “Newme”, dressed in graduation caps and gowns. The robots’ “faces” were tablets displaying the graduates’ faces, who logged on at home and controlled the robots via their laptops.

It seems that while most of these virtual events are organised by students, hopefully more schools in Singapore will step up with graduation-related celebrations for students graduation later this year.

We wonder what universities in Singapore will do when time comes for their cohorts to graduate later this year?