Twenty-two students from the School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences (SAGEONS) and the School of Information Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Physics (STEMP) were recognised for successfully conducting online mentorship and peer learning sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The peer mentors assisted peer students through a variety of virtual learning platforms as part of the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) programme managed by The University of the South Pacific (USP) Student Learning Support (SLS).
The certificates of appreciation were presented to the PASS leaders by USP’s Director for Centre for Flexible Learning Director, Dr Rajni Chand and the University Chaplain, Pastor Peni Waqakibau.
Dr Chand was impressed with the PASS student leaders who went above and beyond to provide their peers online support during semesters one and two when the University was only offering online learning in its Fiji Campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Participating in the PASS programme has given these leaders a step ahead in skills required in future job prospects as they have developed their confidence, communication and leadership skills. Being part of the programme also boosts their application for future jobs and when applying for further studies. A degree is not complete with academic skills only but must include life skills,” she added.
Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Supervisor, Ms Afshana Anzeg relayed that many student leaders had dropped out from the programme due to connectivity issues and coping mechanisms, however, she was proud of the remaining students who made adjustments to be able to excel in their roles.
PASS leaders assist their student peers using Google Meet, Viber community and other tools and technology to enhance the learning experience for their peers. PASS leaders prepared worksheets and solutions and were made available through email, Moodle page, and Viber community. The success of the PASS Viber communities encouraged course coordinators to participate.
“PASS leaders should be commended for their sacrifice in ensuring that students who needed their help received assistance in their courses despite the challenges of introducing new virtual learning platforms,” she added.
“The SAGEONS & STEMP PASS was successful because of the willingness of the student PASS leaders and SLS staff to work together to meet their end goal, I’m so proud of their commitment towards the programme.”
Student PASS leader, Tabish Raza said he enjoyed being part of the programme as it provided him with the platform to innovate learning solutions.
“I especially enjoyed the relationship a mentor and mentee had together, especially the smile a student gives when he/she gets a good pass. I’m glad that I’ve contributed to students’ learning journeys and in turn, I have also learned from them, my experience as a PASS leader has been valuable.”