Dedicated to educating civil servants


IN 2013 Divine Word University opened the Department of Governance and Leadership as a dedicated venue to host flexible learning programmes for public servants and professionals in other sectors.
These followed on from the introduction of the Bachelor of Public Administration and Master of Public Administration initially targeted at the public service. The two programmes came about as a result of an agreement reached between the Government of Papua New Guinea through the Department of Personnel Management and DWU. The Department of Personnel Management facilitated the agreement for the two programmes under the Public Sector Workforce Development Programme (PSWDP).
The inaugural batch of students – all public servants – for the two programmes were mostly sponsored by the PSWDP facility.
The name “governance and leadership” was chosen for the new academic department that is in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to amplify the importance of these two key areas of management in the public sector and other sectors.
Since the introduction of the two programmes in 2012, a number of cohort of students have graduated with their Bachelor of Public Administration and Master of Public Administration degrees. The most recent groups in the two programmes graduated at the 40th graduation ceremony of the DWU Madang campus on Friday March 11 March this year.
The inauguration of the Department of Governance and Leadership in 2013 was part the shift to move programmes that were offered through the Flexible Learning Centre to be housed in the existing four academic faculties. The four faculties are Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Informatics, Education and Medicine and Health Sciences. Prior to this rearrangement the flexible learning programmes for working professional or adult learners were offered through the flexible learning centre.
The history of flexible learning in DWU goes back to 2000 when the university made a commitment to offer programmes for public servants and other professionals who would not have the time to take up fulltime university studies.
Among the inaugural students were public servants, notably staff of the government-owned PNG Banking Corporation and members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
The university inaugurated what it called the “distance learning” beginning with the Diploma in Management and Diploma in Human Resource Management. The DWU history book published in 2019, reports that the courses were presented in a “competency-based format” where “assessments” were linked directly with work-place issue”.
The “distance learning” concept came under the newly introduced Tertiary Distance Education Centre (TDEC).
The “distance learning” mode and its delivery vehicle, TDEC, were introduced only five years after Prime Minister Sir Julius Chan announced on Aug 21, 1996 that the Divine Word Institute was to become a private Catholic university.
An experienced Australian couple, Merv and Robyn Stonehouse were brought in to pioneer the distance learning concept via TDEC.
The first 20 students were lead staff of the PNG Banking Corporation (later taken over by Bank South Pacific in 2001 under the Government’s privatisation programme).
The Stonehouses in the report to the DWU Council later that year (2000) wrote: “Our targets for the year were to aim for 80 students total…we exceeded those figures, and have successfully trained 89 first semester students.
“There are another 24 participants who have lodged their application forms but wish to enroll in courses during 2001.
“Of the 89 students, 16 are female…80 students have been sponsored by their employers…”
The Stonehouses further reported: “Additional staff will be required next year to cater for the increase in student numbers through 2001… in February 2001 the TDEC will be offering a Diploma of Hospitality Management for people who are already employed in the hospitality sector…in addition, the TDEC will be offering a Postgraduate Programme in Educational Leadership.”
In a circular in August 2000, the founding President of the University Fr Jan Czuba reported the reception of the tertiary learning programmes among the PNG public, particular the employers.
“The TDEC is continuing to be very successful, and currently has a group of students on campus for their second two-week residential study course. The centre is becoming well known across the country…” wrote Fr Czuba.
As the years went by, new programmes including bachelors and postgraduate studies were added. By the mid-2000s, the popularity of the distance learning programmes was such that DWU renamed the TDEC as the Faculty of Flexible Learning (FFL) in line with the introduction of the faculty concept and increased staffing and resources for FFL. Things once again changed few years later with the renaming of the Faculty of Flexible Learning to the Flexible Learning Centre. The key change there was that the programmes were reviewed and returned to the four main academic faculties as alluded to earlier and the Flexible Learning Centre was positioned as the administrative and student service centre hence the name change.
Today, 22 years after the TDEC was born, much has happened and many public servants and other professionals have graduated after studying through the flexible learning mode and more are enrolled in the programmes. The flexible learning departments such as Governance and Leadership are testimony to the foresight that the university had in 2000.
Today the Department of Governance and Leadership is a proud host of the following programmes: Master of Public Administration; Master of Leadership in Development; Bachelor of Public Administration; and Diploma in Project Management
Accredited programmes under the department are: Diploma in Justice Administration; Diploma in Customs Studies; and Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Pastoral Ministry.
The Department of Governance and Leadership is one of several academic departments offering programmes through the flexible learning mode. The others are Finance and Management under the Faculty of Business and Informatics and Department of Public Health, Leadership and Training within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The Faculty of Education also offers program to through flexible learning mode.

  • Dr Kevin Pamba PhD is a senior ecturer in Governance and Leadership at DWU