Senior UWI leaders give part of salaries to student fund

THE senior executive leadership of The University of the West Indies (UWI), including the vice chancellor, campus principals, pro-vice-chancellors, university bursar, and registrar, have all committed to allocating a percentage of their salaries for the next three months towards a student hardship fund.

“The aim of the fund is to promote equity of access for all students as well as provide much-needed, additional counselling services during this time,” said a release from the university.

Said the release: “The executive leadership of the regional university has recognised that the rapid transition to emergency online teaching in response to the regional spread of COVID-19 has exposed the enormity 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 principals across the university’s five campuses, it added, stepped in to develop remedial projects “to confront this reality and to restore the level playing field provided by the physical classroom culture”.

The UWI alumni, added the release, has been called upon to participate in fund-raising and philanthropists have also responded by donating hundreds of tablet computers for the project.

The offer of a salary-sourced contribution from the executive leadership to enhance student well-being “is another part of the UWICARES project, designed to empower any excluded element of the student body”, said vice chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

“This is a justice gesture to further illustrate our commitment. We are here to serve and support them in their quest to succeed,” he added.

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