CDB approves grant to enhance remote learning for UWI students

CDB approves grant to enhance remote learning for UWI students

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC)— The board of directors of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a grant of US$200,000 to assist young people across the region who lack technological devices and internet access 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 technology 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 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.

“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 'Addressing Inequities in Online Teaching and Learning at the University of the West Indies' will tackle the problem on multiple fronts, guided by data collectedfrom 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 procurement of equipment which will enhance UWI TV's production and broadcast capabilities so that it can better meet the remote learning needs of all students. Course instructors and other university personnel will also have access to training for instructional television.

The project is aligned with CDB's 2017 Education and Training Policy and Strategy which affirms the bank's commitment to addressing inequities to educational access and participation across its Borrowing Member Countries.

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