The chairman of the Social Council and the rector of the ULPGC explained, to the members of the plenary, the University’s latest initiatives and undertakings during the country’s state of alarm and following the conclusion of face-to-face teaching as ruled on 13th March.
The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Social Council has held another extraordinary plenary session, despite the health crisis the country is suffering and the lockdown order. The members of the plenary met for this via video conference, in order to hear the reports of the chairman of the Social Council and the rector of the ULPGC regarding the initiatives carried out following the decision to move all of the University’s academic activity to the virtual campus.
According to the chairman of the Social Council, Jesús León Lima, one of the key undertakings of the Social Council has been raising funds from various partners and businesses in order to purchase 70 laptops for those ULPGC students who suffer from the digital divide and who require this support in order to continue their learning remotely from home. Moreover, the Social Council has earmarked 15,000 euros from its budget for this initiative. This week the computers will be handed over to the Vice-rector of Students and Sports, who will be responsible for their distribution among those students in need as a result of lacking the financial means to purchase this equipment.
The chairman also reported that the Social Council has continued to work normally during the lockdown, making them one of the few in Spain to remotely hold plenary sessions and committee meetings. In addition, the chairman, Jesús León Lima, reported that he also attended the latest meeting of the Canary Islands University Council [Consejo Universitario de Canarias], held on 27th April and that the secretary general attended a meeting between the Conference of Social Councils [Conferencia de Consejos Sociales] and the new Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Manuel Castells. During the latter of these meetings, the Minister agreed to drive the wide reform of the university legal framework, including improvements to the current governance system, for which he will seek the support of society as a whole.
Jesús León Lima concluded with a special mention to the important role of ULPGC experts and researchers during the pandemic, in offering their knowledge and scientific work to society and the institutions calling for it, facing this period with great social responsibility.
In turn, the rector, Rafael Robaina, highlighted during the plenary that the ULPGC began to take exceptional measures from 5th March, when the first health guidelines concerning COVID-19 were released, including the cancellation of face-to-face teaching from 13th March. In addition, he reported that in the latest meeting of the ULPGC Governing Board, held on 21st April, they approved a document providing practical measures for the assessment of proficiency, work placements and dissertations across the ULPGC. He also announced that all ULPGC centres are currently publishing their centre specific measures in appendices. These establish the specific conditions of each subject and how students are being affected by it being taught remotely.
Among the other issues on the agenda, the Social Council plenary ratified the name change for a masters degree offered by the two public universities on the Canary Islands: the Masters in Content and Language Integrated Learning (English) [Máster Universitario en Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenidos en Lengua Extranjera (Inglés)]. This masters was established in 2017 and is of special interest for the English language training of the Canary Island’s teachers, as has been highlighted by the Canary Island Government’s Regional Department of Education, Universities, Culture and Sports. This masters has all the quality assurances of ANECA [the Spanish National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation] and ACCUEE [the Canary Islands Agency for the Evaluation of Education and University Quality].