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UWI benefits from Mastercard donation of 200 laptops

(L-R) Dalton Fowles, Country Manager for Mastercard in Jamaica & Trinidad and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Mona, Prof. Dale Webber flanks two members of the Guild of Students, The UWI Mona (centre L-R)): Devaraine Rowe, Vice President and Jovaughn Bailey, Cultural and Entertainment Affairs Chairman (CEAC). All were pictured at the handing-over exercise hosted at The UWI Mona in November.

Global pioneer in payment innovation and technology, Mastercard, donated today 200 laptops to the University of the West Indies, (The UWI) Mona. The donation was made in the company’s effort to support students in need of devices to facilitate remote and online learning and assessment. The Handing-Over Ceremony was hosted at the Mona Campus on Thursday, November 12, 2020.

“This is a very special day for us. It is an honor to help some of the UWI Mona students to transition to online learning as they face the new normal challenge. Sustainability is embedded in everything we do at Mastercard as a result of our philosophy "Doing Well by Doing Good", implemented to build a better world where people can develop their full potential“, commented Dalton Fowles, Country Manager for Mastercard in Jamaica & Trinidad.

Addressing the handing-over ceremony, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Mona, Prof. Dale Webber stated that “Mastercard connects millions of customers and financial institutions, and today, they are connecting students with their classrooms, and for this we at The UWI Mona are grateful.”

Prof. Webber noted that since there are a limited number of laptop devices, this donation is a welcomed addition to the pool of devices that the University will be able to offer to students. He thanked Mastercard for joining with other members of the private sector who have answered the call to support students in these difficult times. He explained that the devices will be placed in the libraries for all students to have access.

Students, he explained, will be able to apply for and keep the devices for as long as they need; and where students keep the devices for an entire semester, they will be required to return it no more than two (2) weeks after their last exam.  He further assured that the university is constantly doing needs assessment, to ensure these devices go to the students in need. The UWI Mona Library, Prof Webber explained, will manage the distribution of the devices as a ‘library loan,’ similar to a book loan, and the devices will eventually be available for another generation of students.

Fowles finalized by saying: “A year ago, Mastercard decided to expand the company’s presence in the Caribbean, with the establishment of the Jamaican office to deliver, develop, and innovate a secure payment ecosystem for all the residents and visitors of the island. Our sense as a member of society is to be responsible for bringing benefits to people and partners, and creating a more inclusive world through our products, programs, and partnerships. May these 200 laptop computers we are donating be the vehicles and right tools for your growth, full of Priceless Possibilities”.

President of the Guild of Students, Mr Sujae Boswell said he is approached almost on a daily basis by students who are in need of devices, especially laptops which are more suitable for research and examinations, and so he is pleased to see that the pool of devices available to students have been increased in this significant way.

“This is definitely a master class move from Master Card. The online learning environment brings untraditional issues that are directly linked to access, through this donation, MasterCard has enabled greater access to the online learning environment for our students. On behalf of the student body, thank you for moving to connect my fellow students with their institution through this donation. I thank you for your foresight, investment and confidence in my generation, and in the future graduates of this great institution,” Mr Boswell said.

On April 14, 2020, The UWI Mona moved to an on-line method of teaching and learning. Presently, 1500 of the courses offered at the Mona Campus are only available online. To that end, the system requirements for students for on-line/distance learning are internet access, and a device.  However, approximately 20% of our Jamaican students did not have access to computers, to attend the on-line classes and examinations.

In closing, Prof Webber said the goal is to have 100% of students having access to a device. “So far, donations of this kind by the private sector, international companies like Mastercard, international organizations and The UWI Alumni Associations (Jamaica Chapter and others) give me a great sense of optimism that this is absolutely possible.”

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