By KEVIN PAMBA
THERE are two plaques on the wall of the reception of the Flexible Learning Centre of Divine Word University’s main campus in Madang.
The plaques bear the insignia of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC). They are mementos from the officers of the RPNGC who have studied in DWU through the flexible learning mode.
One of the plaques is dated 2001 and the other, 2003. They are from two cohorts of police officers who studied in DWU in what was then called the Tertiary Distance Education Centre (TDEC) that DWU opened in 2000. One of the plaques is from female police officers.
Police officers were among the first working professionals to enroll in flexible learning programmes offered through TDEC. Other pioneer students of TDEC were staff of the PNG Banking Corporation (which was bought by Bank South Pacific in 2001 under the Sir Mekere Morauta Government’s privatisation programme) and Ok Tedi Mining Ltd.
Between 2001 and 2005, I recall meeting young police officers such as Joseph Tondop, Albert Beli and Philip Welia undertaking flexible learning studies in the Madang campus. These officers have moved up the ladder in rank and positions in the RPNGC over time.
High ranking officers, Chief Supt Anthony Wagambie Jr and Chief Supt Sylvester Kalaut are also graduates of the matriculation program of the former Divine Word Institute, the predecessor of DWU. Wagambie Jr also completed a Diploma in Management in DWU through the flexible learning mode and has enrolled in the degree program but has deferred his study due to work commitments.
The TDEC was a facility that DWU introduced to provide tertiary qualifications to working professionals.
The founding president of the university, Fr Jan Czuba, in a circular dated July 10, 2000 stated: “In January 2000 DWU introduced the Tertiary Distance Education Centre (TDEC), a programme designed to give more flexible approach to gaining tertiary qualifications to people actively employed.”
Over time, the TDEC changed to the Faculty of Flexible Learning (FFL) and few years ago, it was reconfigured as the Flexible Learning Centre (FLC). The FLC today facilitates flexible learning programmes from the four faculties of the university. The flexible learning programmes are offered in DWU campuses in Madang and Port Moresby with Tabubil campus opening last year and there is potential to extend to Rabaul and Wewak campuses. Mount Hagen city is another potential site for flexible learning programmes as DWU is in the process of concluding the amalgamation of the Holy Trinity Teachers College (HTTC) as one of its campuses.
DWU President Professor Cecilia Nembou PhD said recently that flexible learning programmes were introduced to upgrade qualifications of members of the workforce and more so to instill professional ethics in them. Prof Nembou said professional ethics is a core subject taught across all DWU programs and working professionals studying in the flexible learning programs benefit from it.
Policemen and women from different ranks have been studying in DWU and graduating with their qualifications in the 20 years of existence of the flexible learning programs in the University.
The constabulary is gradually evolving into a State agency with more university graduates in its ranks with the potential to effect positive change from the inside out…
The head of the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate of the RPNGC, Chief Supt Mathew Damaru is perhaps the most senior police officer to graduate with a Masters degree from DWU. Damaru and 12 other public servants enrolled in the newly introduced Master of Public Administration (MPAdmin) programme in 2013.
The two-year MPAdmin along with the Bachelor of Public Administration were tailor-made by DWU for the public service in response to the needs of the Public Sector Improvement Program administered by the Department of Personnel Management.
Damaru graduated in March 2015 along with a number of notable public servants like Elias Kapavore (now Member for Pomio).
Damaru previously graduated from DWU in the Bachelor of Public Administration and Diploma in Management programs and capped it off with the Master of Public Administration.
Supt Frank Pomoso, who is based in the Lae Metropolitan Command, is another senior officer who graduated with the MPAdmin like Damaru.
Supt Pomoso is a career police officer who has served the RPNGC at the district police station commander level up to his present post. He graduated with the Master of Public Administration in 2017.
Chief Supt Peter Philip, the commandant of the Bomana Police College is another senior officer who graduated with the MPAdmin in 2018.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) responsible for the Northern Command, Peter Guiness has just completed the MPAdmin programme. Guiness is expected to graduate during the DWU graduation ceremony on Sunday, March 15, this year.
Over the cause of the last 20 years, police officers in different ranks have been among the “actively employed” people taking time out to study in DWU and attaining sound university education with an emphasis on professional ethics and moral-consciousness in the workplace.
A striking feature of the police officers’ quest for university education is that many of them fund their studies with their own savings and by taking up loans. Others are sponsored by the State through facilities such as the Public Sector Improvement Programme and by sponsorship facilities made available by the district development authorities in the districts they serve.
Some of the officers are stationed in remote project sites such as in Komo in Hela and Kutubu in Southern Highlands and yet do their set assignments and attend the two-week residential studies in the Madang campus each semester.
Considering the quest of police officers to pursue university studies and university graduates joining the RPNGC, the constabulary is no longer the province of Grade 10 and 12 school leavers.
The constabulary is gradually evolving into a State agency with more university graduates in its ranks with the potential to effect positive change from the inside out, all variables being equitable.
- Dr Kevin Pamba PhD, is based in Divine Word University, Madang.