STUDENTS attending the Texila American University (TAU) have been benefitting from a curriculum licensing agreement with the Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU), which has allowed for an easier transition to online learning, according to the university’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Syam Kumar.
The Texila American University (TAU), which has been in Guyana for ten years now, has entered into a partnership with the PHSU, a university in Puerto Rico. Through this partnership, the Puerto Rican university would have provided curriculum support to the doctor of medicine programme.
“Our students, with this partnership, have access to all the (PHSU) resources that are only accessible to Ponce students. This is quite unique to our students and this is quite an accomplishment, the way we see it,” Kumar told the Guyana Chronicle in a recent interview.
And this has allowed for the medicine students to be taught through a “flipped classroom” model, in which students view short video lectures at home prior to class sessions. During the in-class session, students would engage in exercises, projects and discussions.
“The way we have approached this pandemic is quite significant; we started our plans way back in March when everybody was still adjusting and we moved to online classes, Kumar said.
Importantly, this university already integrated online services into its regular curriculum. This, as explained by the CEO, allowed for a “seamless transition” to virtual teaching and learning, which also retained all students. The university has its digital library, Texila Digipedia, as well; this provides accurate and up-to-date content to the students with more than 8,000 collections.
In March, schools and most other institutions were closed in an attempt to mitigate the spread and impact of the novel coronavirus. Even now, eight months later, schools have only been reopened to allow a small number of students to return. Safety protocols are still in place.
While the university was able to adapt quickly to the online environment, Kumar related that one difficulty has been students’ practical exposure in the hospital setting being hampered. But Kumar remained upbeat that everything would “bounce back”.
With the successful partnership with the Ponce University, TAU’s Director Recruitment and Public Relation, Sreebalakumar, highlighted that the university also plans to have International School extension campuses in Guyana.
Currently, the school has partnered with Franklin University. Now, the CEO related that discussions are underway for a partnership with the Monroe College, in New York, for the business programmes.
“Students can stay in Guyana and pursue the degree, or even in the second year they can go to Monroe to complete their programmes and graduate,” Kumar said.