“We commit to harness the power of information and communication technology for knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and for sustainable development practices of care for people and the environment,” Professor Cecilia Nembou PhD.
By KEVIN PAMBA
THIS is the 24th year of Divine World University’s existence as a university.
The Madang-headquartered university evolved from the former tertiary institution called the Divine Word Institute (DWI) in 1996. This followed a decision by the Government of Papua New Guinea under the leadership of
“ We endeavour to serve society through quality of research, learning and teaching, and community engagement in a Christian environment, and to provide authentic model for national unity by continuous dialogue and nurturing relationships with all levels of community, business, government and PNG cultures in the life and work of the university.”
Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan to change DWI into DWU.
The Divine Word Institute itself transitioned into a tertiary institution in 1979 from the DW Catholic High School which was started by Catholic missionaries from the two congregations – Society of the Divine Word Missionaries and Holy Spirit Sisters – in 1968.
The DWU is approaching 2020 academic year under the theme “It is in giving that we receive”. The theme is a noble reminder of reciprocity of service to the people taken from St Francis of Assisi, the well-known monk from medieval Italy who promoted a life of chastity and service to the poor.
The theme is particularly appropriate in the second “Year of Laity” declared by the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands.
Notable among the highlights of 2020 would be the pioneer Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor Surgery (MBBS) students doing their fifth and final year of study in the main campus in Madang. This means the MBBS programme, will for the first time since its inception in 2016, have the full programme of five lots of student intakes, from first year to the fifth (final) year of study.
By the end of this year, the pioneer final MBBS students would be ready to go out for the compulsory two-year medical residency programme in hospitals around the country.
The pioneer class of 30 MBBS students started in 2016 under the academic leadership of Professor Brother Jerzy Kuzma SVD as foundation head of Department of Medicine within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Amidst many challenges 20 MBBS students came through and the Department of Medicine and the DWU as whole would be looking forward to seeing the pioneer students finishing the year on a high.
The MBBS programme was introduced to assist in addressing the critical shortage of doctors and other medical professionals in PNG, particularly in rural areas where majority of PNG’s population of 8 million live.
In terms of infrastructure in the Madang campus, seven new houses for senior staff plus a double-floor dormitory each for female and male students are set be opened in the earlier part of the year. This year will also see the launch of a book calatoguing the history of DWU that was written by the Dr James Sinclair, the renowned author of PNG history subject, who completed the book before he passed on in 2017. The book titled “Diwai: A History of Divine Word University” was published by DWU Press.
Long-serving DWU Council member Sir Peter Barter and his company Melanesian Tourists Services paid for the printing. The book will be launched shortly.
Across in Wewak at St Benedict’s campus, the pioneer Diploma in General Nursing students who started last year, would be heading into their second year of study.
The nursing programme in the Wewak campus adds to the existing one at the St Mary’s School of Nursing in Vunapope, which is part of the Rabaul campus of DWU.
DWU is also doing notably well in rolling out the Bachelors’ degree programme in primary teaching in its Wewak and OLSH Kabaleo (Rabaul) campuses and this is set to continue in 2020 to better equip the next generation of primary teachers for PNG.
Port Moresby campus, again would be reaching out to as many working professionals in the National Capital District to take up programmes offered there in the flexible mode, notably in the areas of finance and management.
The new Tabubil campus is under the tutelage of the Port Moresby campus and there is promise for more flexible learning opportunities for people in and around the mining townships of Tabubil and Kiunga.
In residential campuses such as Madang and Wewak, the university is investing considerably in the improvement in security arrangements to ensure safety of students and staff.
President of DWU Professor Cecilia Nembou in her welcome message in the 2020 DWU calendar reminds all stakeholders to support the growth of the university that was founded by Catholic missionaries for the benefit of all.
“In 2020, and on the eve of DWU’s quarter century of university life, we wish to pursue our vision to be recognised nationally and internationally by our value-based innovative application of technology to enhance learning and teaching, and to give the opportunities of higher education to as many learners as possible,” says the president.
“We endeavour to serve society through quality of research, learning and teaching, and community engagement in a Christian environment, and to provide authentic model for national unity by continuous dialogue and nurturing relationships with all levels of community, business, government and PNG cultures in the life and work of the University.”
The president goes on to say that “We (DWU) commit to harness the power of information and communication technology for knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and for sustainable development practices of care for people and the environment.
“We promote research and higher degrees in studies while being mindful of the issues of ethics, quality, relevance, access, equal opportunity, peace and social justice.
“As a dynamic and rapidly growing university we commit to set high standards of excellence in learning and teaching, and research for all students and staff to be role models of moral and ethical behavior in public, private and professional life based on Christian values.
“To this end, I would like to renew our invitation to our partners and benefactors, Government of Papua New Guinea, donors, alumni, and parents to embrace our aspirations and sustain your trust in us as together we create a successful future for DWU to serve the common good, for it is in giving that we receive,” says Prof Nembou.
The 2020 academic year for staff officially started on Monday, Jan 20 with lecturers and other administration staff returning to work.
Registration and orientation programmes for students start on Monday, Feb 3 and the academic year for the Madang campus will be formally launched on Friday, Feb 7. Lectures start on Monday, Feb 10.
- Dr Kevin Pamba PhD is based in Divine Word University, Madang.