Students of over 130 colleges affiliated to the University of Madras who graduated in the last two years, are still waiting for their degree/diploma certificates.

Thanks to the university’s inordinate delay in holding a convocation, its students are stuck — unable to apply for higher studies or join workplaces.

The delay has affected students from government, government-aided and private colleges alike.

Devika Rani, a visually-impaired student who majored in Tamil literature and graduated from a government college last April, finished a B.Ed course recently at a deemed university.

While she has her B.Ed certificate safely tucked into her folder, she does not know when she will get her degree certificate.

“I was selected as a teacher at a school last week. But I have to wait until I get my degree certificate before I can join. Most private schools are very particular about teachers submitting their degree certificates,” said the 22-year-old from Villupuram.

Not having a degree/diploma certificate also makes it difficult for students to apply to universities within or outside the State, or find a job in another city.

“Companies don’t accept marksheets, especially because candidates from other universities have already received their degree certificates,” said Rama Sankaran, a B.Com graduate from a government-aided college.

“I had applied for my master’s degree at a university in UK, but they have asked for my degree certificate to be submitted. A consolidated marksheet provided by colleges is not accepted anymore, especially if you are applying for jobs on the university campus or scholarships, said Manjula Rajendran, a visual communications student from a private college.

The University of Madras’s convocation is held twice a year, after which colleges affiliated to it hold individual ceremonies at which students are awarded their degree and diploma certificates.

Many senior academics at the university said the delay in holding the convocation was probably because the selection of candidates to be bestowed with honorary doctorates and finding chief guests, was politically driven, and the selection and scheduling of dates took time.

The delay, said professors, is also because the former vice-chancellor of the university did not hold a convocation during his tenure, and the new V-C, R. Thandavan, took over only in January.

However, R. Rajakumar, an associate professor at a private college, said, “The fact that a new V-C took over can’t be cited as the reason for the delay, because Anna University, which got a new officiating V-C around the same time, has already conducted its convocation.”

Some professors also said the delay could be because of administrative lapses or because of the month-long anti-Sri Lanka stir that erupted in February and led to the closure of colleges.

Sources close to Prof. Thandavan said he was trying hard to get chief minister Jayalalitha as chief guest for the convocation, but as she was busy with the ongoing assembly sessions, this was proving difficult.

Prof. Thandavan said dates for the convocation were “almost finalised” and the ceremony is likely to be held later this month. “I am aware of the problems the students are facing. We will make sure there is no extended delay,” he said.