One of the highlights of the 37th annual graduation ceremony of Divine Word University in Madang on March 10 was the number of professionals who received various awards.These are professionals in various fields who work full-time and study part-time through DWU’s popular flexible learning mode of delivering higher education to as many people as possible. The flexible learning programmes are offered mostly at the main campus in Madang and the Port Moresby campus and soon at the new Tabubil campus in Western.
The professionals who graduated are from a cross-section of disciplines employed in the public sector (public service), private sector, non-government organisations and churches. So in the 2019 graduation those who graduated via the FL programmes included teachers, fire fighters, engineers, accountants, business managers, senior public servants, members of the disciplined forces, health professionals and church workers among others.
These professionals graduated with Masters degrees, bachelors and diplomas. The sole doctor of philosophy (PhD) graduate Right Reverend Jack Kalu Urame also did his doctoral study as a part-time student while performing his fulltime role as the Head Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG (ELCPNG).
The flexible learning mode of study began in DWU in the early 2000s under an office called the Tertiary Distant Education Centre (TDEC) and among the earliest students were police officers, staff of Bank South Pacific and miners (those work in the mines). The FL programmes grew in popularity and the TDEC evolved into the Faculty of Flexible Learning in the mid-2000s. Few years ago, following a restructure FFL was reconfigured as a the Flexible Learning Centre providing administrative support to the programmes which then moved to the four academic faculties, namely Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Informatics, Education and Medicine and Health Sciences.
The flexible learning programmes enable students to carry on with their fulltime work but only come for class for either a week or two weeks per semester to the university campus for residential lectures and associated activities.
After the residential period the students return to their workplaces with assignments and other set activities and study. These enables the students to attend to their assignments, readings and other activities and submit their assessment work to their lecturers.
Most of the programmes offered through the FL mode are in the fields of business, management, human resource management, project management, governance and leadership, education, and health sciences and health services management.
One of the popular programmes now is the Diploma in Project Management where professionals like engineers and those involved in managing projects are taking up every year. A Bachelor of Project Management is also being considered for the future.
Tailor-made FL programmes are also offered in DWU in partnership with specific organisations or sectors. They include the Diploma in Justice Administration facilitated in partnership with the Department of Justice and Attorney General and Diploma in Customs Studies in partnership with PNG Customs.
The Government of PNG through the Department of Personnel Management has also supported the Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Public Administration programmes and sponsors a cross-section of public servants from the district, provincial and national levels.
The sponsorship comes through the Public Sector Workforce Development Programme (PSWDP) while some public servants have self-funded their studies or through other sponsors. The Master of Business Administration is currently offered at the Port Moresby campus.
The provision of higher education to working professionals and the graduation of hundreds of them annually is part of DWU’s contribution to enhancing the skills and work practices of professionals out there.
Professional interested in studying in DWU through the flexible learning mode can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for information.
- Words and pictures from DWU Marketing.