Tue | Oct 27, 2020

UWI students to benefit from grant to support remote learning

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 6:16 PMCMC

(CMC): The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant of US$200,000 to assist students across the region who lack access to technological devices and internet to support remote learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The grant for The University of the West Indies (UWI), was approved by the board on Thursday to assist with purchasing information and communication technologies and other remote learning solutions for students, and to expand the university’s capacity to deliver remote education.

Division chief of the social sector division at the CDB, Deidre Clarendon, emphasised how the move to online learning has especially affected students from vulnerable groups.

“While it’s been necessary to protect the wider population, evidence has shown that the sudden shift away from face-to-face lectures to remote learning has proven difficult, particularly for the most vulnerable, such as women, rural learners, students with disabilities and those from lower socio-economic circumstances,” she said.

She continued: “Inequitable education delivery negatively impacts both the individuals and the wider society , which is why CDB is supporting this project. It offers the UWI an opportunity to work collaboratively across campuses to address the challenges faced by the most disadvantaged students, as it expands  remote teaching and learning during the COVID-19 restrictions.”

The project named 'Addressing Inequities in Online Teaching and Learning at the University of the West Indies' will tackle the problem on multiple fronts, guided by data collected from student surveys conducted by the university.

The project’s funding will provide 228 computing devices to be made available to disadvantaged students across the UWI’s five campuses,  and 70 students will be granted internet service for one semester.

The project will also cover the procurement of equipment to enhance UWI TV’s  production and broadcast capabilities to better meet the remote learning needs of all students. Course instructors and other university personnel will also have access to training for  instructional television.

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