United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Maldives, on Thursday, donated digitalization equipment to Maldives Polytechnic in a bid to assist the Maldivian government accelerate the provision of educational services in a decentralized and effective manner.
UNDP made the donation to Maldives Polytechnic through Maldives’ Higher Education Ministry, with the generous endowment of the Japanese government.
The donation includes computer systems, webcams, microphones and supporting software.
UNDP said the equipment will go towards establishing e-learning stations in Maldives Polytechnic’s regional campuses in GA. Gadhdhoo and in Hithadhoo district of Addu City, as well as additional online set-ups in the Male’ Campus - helping over 900 students access uninterrupted technical and vocational education and enhance their studying experience through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Maldives Polytechnic’s CEO Ahmed Nasir said the new equipment will enhance the educational institute’s capability to reach out to students across the Maldives and ensure they have a valuable learning experience, especially in difficult situations such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Through online learning mechanism we will be able to provide accessibility to many youths in rural areas and assist them find decent jobs via skill training. This small yet big assist will make Maldives more resilient and better prepared for future shocks and such crises,” he said.
UNDP extended support to Maldives Polytechnic as part of a project supported by the Japanese government to build social cohesion in the Maldives.
The initiative focuses on building capacities of government institutions to provide decentralized and equitable access to enhanced educational services, increasing opportunities and wellbeing of students across the country.
UNDP said the partnership with Maldives Polytechnic places emphasis on strengthening the foundations for resilient technical and vocational education systems in times of crisis, and the opportunities that digitalization can provide towards building the sustainable society of the future.
Japanese Ambassador Keiko Yanai said Japan was pleased to support Maldives Polytechnic.
"The provision of equipment and software would enhance the capacity in providing vocational and technical education in a decentralized and effective manner. Japan is committed to continuing to support Maldives in achieving SDG 4, which ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” she said.
UNDP Resident Representative ad interim, Vera Hakim stressed that digital solutions are expected to revolutionize how people access basic services, such as health and education, and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Through this support, UNDP seeks to reduce the barriers to knowledge and skills by increasing access to technology and digital literacy - to eliminate gender inequality, social and economic exclusion and ensure vulnerable populations are not left behind,” she said.
Maldives Polytechnic is the leading technical and vocational education provider in Maldives. With the onset of the pandemic and the disruption to service provision of educational establishments, Maldives Polytechnic shifted from physical to virtual classes, resulting in an increase in demand for online education, and adding strain on existing resources.