Davis College and Akilah is among the higher learning institutions that tapped into the advantage of technology, despite facing challenges that included the lack of internet among students.
As one of the largest, private foundations with interventions in different sectors, including the education sector, the Mastercard Foundation helped Davis College students to attend classes online through the provision of monthly internet bundles until schools were allowed to resume in person.
The foundation also provided full and partial scholarships to students whose families were largely affected by the pandemic.
The Dean of Students at Davis College, Kevin Mbogo, has said that the support from the Mastercard Foundation was very helpful for the college to continue operations.
“Some students get discouraged and tend to drop out of school due to life hardships. We have an inclusive program designed to help them psychologically and provide tangible support to move on with life. However, it would not have been possible during COVID-19 had it not been the intervention of the Mastercard Foundation,” he said.
Mbogo explained that the funds provided by Mastercard Foundation were utilized to buy internet bundles for students, improve their wellbeing and help them to comply with COVID-19 containment measures.
The Director of Faculty Development and Quality Assurance at Davis College, Christine Osae, has said that COVID-19 prompted Davis to restructure its teaching methodology and use e-learning platforms.
“We would not have been able to revise our curriculum to shift from physical to online classes without the Mastercard Foundation. Their support was of great significance,” she noted.
Lorna Ong’esa, who works at Davis College in the Hospitality and Tourism Management department also revealed that the grant helped students to continue their learning undisrupted. They also benefited from academic advisory and mentorship services that covered both academic and psychosocial support. This contributed to improved academic performance.
“Studies were not affected by the pandemic and the shift to online learning because the grant enabled full and partial scholarships for students in need. Students continued to assist each other to get a deeper understanding of the courses they were taking. They did assignments and interacted with their colleagues through different e-learning platforms, which helped to improve their performance,” she said.
Jacqueline Uwamahoro is among students at Davis College and Akilah who received a Mastercard Foundation scholarship. With it, she has been able to concentrate on hotel and tourism-related courses for a year.
Speaking to IGIHE, Uwamahoro revealed that she was selected among the beneficiaries after losing her job, which had helped her to cater for school fees.
“I was working as a teacher and was laid off as COVID-19 emerged. I was sunk into despair, wondering about my future. Lucky enough, Mastercard Foundation intervened and selected me among the beneficiaries who received school fees and free internet to attend virtual classes,” she said.
Divine Uwera is in her final diploma year as a Business Management and Entrepreneurship student.
Uwera’s family was affected by the pandemic and was no longer able to provide for her school fees. She considered halting her studies.
“I was overwhelmed with joy when I was selected among the beneficiaries. I would like to extend feelings of gratitude to Mastercard for the great support which helped me to continue studies without interruptions,” she said.
Rica Rwigamba, the Country Head of the Mastercard Foundation highlighted that the support is part of the foundation’s commitment to overhaul the education sector.
"It was critical that students continued to pursue their education despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Being able to support the transition to e-learning while ensuring inclusion and equity was very important to us as the Mastercard Foundation. Through this partnership geared by the foresight of Davis College and Akilah, we have been able to embark on this new model of learning, and unlock barriers through financial support for students. This is a testament of the collective commitment towards continuous learning and innovation in education."
A total of 463 students received scholarship support from the Mastercard Foundation as part of their COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program.
Davis College and Akilah has been operating in Rwanda for the past 11 years.
The school has graduated eight intakes since 2010, educating more than 2,700 students.
Davis College graduates students with diplomas in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Information Systems, and Business Management & Entrepreneurship.