The Fiji National University is now in discussions with the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board to purchase laptops for students using the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme book allowance in an effort to bridge the digital divide faced by some of its students.
FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor James Pounder said while students have access to smart devices which allow them to view the content on the online learning platforms, some do not have laptops or tablets which can enable them to actively participate, which places them at a disadvantage.
Professor Pounder says to ensure students have access to devices that aid their studies, they have commenced discussions with TSLB to address this issue.
He says while students are continuing their studies online, FNU is aware some students are at a disadvantage as they don’t have the resources or the finances to purchase or borrow these devices to continue learning online.
Professor Pounder says one of the ways they can address this is using the book allowance given to students to buy laptops as most of their textbooks are available electronically through their libraries.
The Acting Vice Chancellor says these are unprecedented times which require innovative thinking to ensure that none of their students get left behind through no fault of theirs while they continue learning and teaching through alternative means at FNU.
Professor Pounder says while approximately 80% of FNU students have access to digital devices, they hope that this initiative will assist those who find themselves disadvantaged.
FNU resumed studies via the online mode on Monday 20th April.
The transition to online learning mode is in adherence with the Government’s directives on physical distancing, social gathering and curfew restrictions regarding the COVID-19 crisis.
The University also has an agreement with Vodafone and Digicel which allows its users to access the FNU website and Moodle platform free of charge.
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