The University of the West Indies’ senior executive team has allocated a percentage of their annual salaries towards a student hardship fund.
The executive leadership team which includes pro-vice chancellors, campus principals, the university bursar, the vice-chancellor, and registrar all made the pledge to donate a portion of their salaries to provide relief for its 50,000 students over the next 3 months.
The regional university took the bold step to make the fund available as quickly as possible in order to promote “equity of access for all students” during the pandemic and recognized how important it was to provide a rapid transition over to online education solutions – and minimize the disruption to the academic year.
In response to COVID-19, the university launched the UWI CARES initiative, which was announced by the vice-chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles – enabling salaries to be donated by the executive leadership to support the project and the wellbeing of students.
The commitment is just one of the ways the university has pledged to do its part in giving alumni support during the pandemic and has also urged philanthropists and other supporters to make a pledge toward the fund.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said, “This is a justice gesture to further illustrate our commitment. We are here to serve and support them in their quest to succeed.”
Principals from the UWI’s five separate campuses all took part in developing the new project to confront the difficult reality in order to restore a level playing field for students across all the university’s programs.
Student counseling services will also be set up in response to the pandemic so that students can access much-needed support during the digital transition phase – which may prove difficult for many who are self-isolating or are living in difficult conditions at home.