The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) will distribute economic incentives and technological equipment to professors, students and administrative personnel as part of its plan to improve the online educational experience and provide support to the university community during the pandemic of COVID-19 .
This was reported today by the president of the institution, Jorge Haddock, who specified that the aid will be granted through the distribution of a second batch of federal funds, by concept of federal law Cares .
Haddock explained that to materialize the aid, $ 40.5 million were allocated money that will allow the university system provide financially needy students and employees with laptops, tablets, Internet connection equipment, microphones and cameras to maximize learning through online technology.
The allocation is part of a second phase of distribution of the funds that the university received to provide emergency assistance and advance the distance education agenda in the face of the pandemic. The UPR received a total of $ 81.1 million, of which $ 40,553,501 was already allocated as financial aid to students.
The president highlighted that the aid was granted directly to the campuses, so that each unit developed their individual plan to meet the particular needs of their community.
As part of the established plans, the units will provide equipment and materials so that teachers, students and administrative staff can achieve their objectives during the academic year, using technological tools . Because they are individualized plans by units, the aid that employees and students will receive vary, according to the particular needs previously identified in each of the eleven campuses.
“With this help we seek to encourage and support our teachers, who have made a great effort to ensure academic continuity. We appreciate the outstanding work they have done. We have instructed all units to provide support and incentives to teaching staff with this second phase of funds Cares . Likewise, we will provide additional help to our students so that they can meet their needs and focus on the learning process. In addition, we will offer resources to facilitate the work of non-teaching staff, which is key to maintaining administrative operations and compliance with institutional obligations, "said Haddock in written statements.
" The pandemic caused by COVID-19 has changed the social context in which we develop and generated new challenges for all the members of our university community, for which we continue to auscultate, with empathy and commitment, initiatives to support them in their daily efforts to develop their professional and educational goals ", he added .
Haddoc pointed out that some campuses have begun to distribute aid, while others are in the process of acquiring technological equipment.
It was indicated that the funds allocated will also make it possible to provide resources technological and training staff working in the distance education support offices, adapt the work face-to-face to virtual sessions, encourage the creation of new courses and academic programs at a distance, as well as train faculty and non-teaching staff that support courses and services remotely. In addition, the new federal allocation will allow updating the technological infrastructure in the UPR system and hiring specialized resources to strengthen the area of distance education.
For his part, the executive vice president of the vice presidency of Academic Affairs and Research of the UPR, Ubaldo Córdova, explained that the funds will be distributed at the campus and unit level in accordance with federal regulations and will be used under the strictest standards of responsibility and sound administration.
"The plans for disbursing the grants and identifying the most pressing needs in our university community were developed by a committee convened by the Vice-presidency of Academic Affairs and Research and in which the rectors have presented their work proposals, identifying the most urgent needs of their community, in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Department of Education " Cordova highlighted.
The academic anticipated that some campuses will grant financial incentives to teachers for the development of online courses, while new students will receive a stipend, according to their financial need and federal regulations.