The University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has published in its official gazette – BOULPGC – a call for applications for grants totalling 40,000 euros to enable university students to purchase IT equipment.
The objective is to reduce the digital divide currently present among students and to enable distance teaching required by the current COVID-19 pandemic, which in March 2020 made it necessary to begin conducting remote teaching.
The application form is already available on the Fundación Universitaria de Las Palmas [Las Palmas University Foundation] (FULP) website and it should be duly completed and signed using a digital certificate. The deadline for applications is 5th February 2021.
As stated by the Vice-rectorate for Students and Sport in announcing this financial aid, funded through the collaboration of the Social Council, the experience gained in 2020 “has shown that there are ULPGC students who lack the IT resources required to successfully access remote teaching”, because they do not have the necessary IT resources or a guaranteed suitable connection in their homes.
Therefore, this call for applications has 40,000 euros at its disposal, of which 36,000 euros will be earmarked for grants with a maximum amount of 350 euros for the purchase of a computer or 150 euros for a tablet. The remaining 4,000 euros of grants will cover the costs of ensuring sufficient connectivity or the purchase of webcams, microphones, signal boosters or similar, which are essential if ULPGC students are to be able to access online teaching.
The beneficiaries of the grants will be students enrolled in official ULPGC undergraduate, masters, or doctorate courses in the academic year 2020-2021 and who have a minimum of 30 credits. Likewise, applicants must be able to show that they and their family meet the means testing criteria established in Real decreto 688/2020 [Royal decree 688/2020].
The ULPGC Vice-rectorate for Students and Sports has noted that since March 2020 – when the World Health Organisation declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19 – the ULPGC has moved teaching online and that at that time various urgent aid measures were adopted for students facing difficulties in accessing essential IT resources so as to engage with remote teaching.
In order to prevent the digital divide among ULPGC students, the Vice-rectorate for Students and Sport urgently launched a technology “pass” allowing laptops to be loaned and for good internet connections to be assigned. Subsequently and also with the support of the Social Council, the Vice-rectorate led a public-private partnership which allowed IT equipment to again be purchased for or loaned to students thanks to funding collected by different businesses and institutions on Gran Canaria.