The National Autonomous University (UNAM) announced Tuesday it would provide 20,000 tablet computers to students of limited economic means so that they can attend virtual classes and complete online coursework.
The university said in a statement that the aim of the scheme is to ensure that all high school and degree-level students can continue to study remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.
UNAM’s 2020-21 academic year officially commenced Monday with all 350,000 students studying online. In-person classes will resume gradually on a faculty-by-faculty basis.
Even though virtual classes have commenced, the university said the terms, conditions and procedures for the loan of the 20,000 tablet computers will be announced in the coming weeks.
UNAM also said that computer centers will be available for use by students at all its campuses once the coronavirus risk level is downgraded from orange light “high” to yellow light “medium.”
Mexico City and México state, where UNAM has several campuses, are both currently orange light states.
UNAM also announced Tuesday that it would expand its scholarship program to avoid students abandoning their studies during the pandemic.
In his welcome message to students who began or resumed their studies on Monday, UNAM rector Enrique Graue said the university’s teaching staff have a clear understanding of the difficulties they will face studying remotely.
Staff will make an extra effort to “overcome the new challenges the reality we’re living imposes on us,” he said.
About 6,500 professors have already completed courses to improve their capacity to teach online, the UNAM statement said.
Graue said that when health conditions permit, students will gradually return to the university’s campuses, where measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection will be in place. The use of face masks will be mandatory in all university spaces, he said.
Once campuses reopen, students will have the opportunity to live the full UNAM experience, the rector said.
“You’ll make lifelong friends, you’ll become familiar with our rich diversity, you’ll have the pleasant experience of walking in our facilities,” Graue told students.
UNAM is Mexico’s largest and most prestigious university. Its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria (University City), is located in Mexico City’s south.
Source: El Financiero (sp)