COVID-19 and a Decade of Higher Education at the Margins
Jesuit Worldwide LearningAuthor: JWL
Our COVID-19 Response
Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) and approximately 3,000 of its students have been impacted by COVID-19 to varying degrees. For most of our students, the main challenge has been isolation – including from their learning center peers. However, in some locations, a number of students were forced to interrupt their studies in order to concentrate on day-to-day food security.
To support our students during this difficult time, JWL launched a COVID-19 Crash Course, developed in cooperation with the Medical Mission Institute in Wuerzburg (Germany) and Seitwerk Diploma graduates sing the Regis University song. Photo credit: JWL 2020 YEARBOOK 18 GmbH (Germany). This course was made available to staff, students, and the general public in early May and provided information about COVID-19 and guidance about how to stay healthy.
Additionally, JWL provided laptops, tablets, and internet data bundles to academic and professional students in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, and Dzaleka Refugee Camp, Malawi. We also leveraged alternative communication tools (notably instant messaging and video conference applications) across all centers and programs in order to ensure continued learning and learning support. All efforts were deployed to ensure learners’ sustained access to the Learning Management System, as well as to provide the necessary flexibility in terms of assignment deadlines.
During this difficult time, we have been thrilled to see students taking the initiative to support one another. Members of student-based organizations stepped up to support their learning community, and students have organized themselves into groups in order to maintain connections with their peers and overcome the sense of isolation.
This year also marks a decade of JWL’s work, providing higher education to marginalized communities. On the 29th of September, JWL and Regis University (USA) co-hosted the first global, virtual graduation ceremony for the 2020 Diploma graduates from learning centers in Kenya, Malawi, Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan.
Findings from the Report on 10 Years of the Diploma in Liberal Studies (published this Fall) revealed (among other things) an expected completion rate of approximately 60% (an extremely high rate even for programs not operating at the margins) and proof that the program’s online blended learning model also promotes inclusion.
As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary, we are also proud to announce the launch of 4 new programs.
Through these new programs, we hope to expand our impact and reach in 2021.
To read other stories from the 2020 CLCC Yearbook, click here