KINGSTON, Jamaica – Several senior executive members of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Monday committed themselves to donating a percentage of their salaries, for the next three months, towards a student hardship fund.
“The principals across the UWI’s five campuses stepped up in developing remedial projects to confront this reality and to restore the level playing field provided by the physical classroom culture. The UWI alumni have been called upon to participate in fundraising and philanthropists have also responded by donating hundreds of tablets,” the UWI said in a statement.
It said the student hardship fund is aimed at promoting equity of access for all students. The university also said that the fund also allows for additional counselling services as the region continues to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The region’s premier tertiary institution said that the rapid transition to online teaching in response to the spread of COVID-19 has highlighted the severity of challenges facing “financially and socially marginalised students.
“With a student body of close to 50,000, at least 10,000 of them are believed to be functioning in a social circumstance that makes it excessively difficult to participate equally and equitably in this moment of digital intensification,” the UWI statement noted.
The executive leadership of the university includes the vice-chancellor, campus principals, pro vice-chancellors, the university bursar and the university registrar.
Vice-Chancellor, Sir Hilary Beckles said the move by the executive leadership “is another part of the UWI CARES project, designed to empower any excluded element of the student body”.