Port Moresby Business College, located in the National Capital city of Port Moresby has signed a course and program accreditation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Papua New Guinea. The MOU was signed between the two institutions on Wednesday the 17th of June this year (2020). The MOU will pave way for students from Port Moresby Business College to continue with their Bachler’s degree with the UPNG School of Business and Public Policy-Accounting strand. Currently Port Moresby Business College only offers programs up to Diploma level.
Pathway to UPNG Bachelors in Accounting Program.
Under the MOU, students from Port Moresby Business College Diploma in Accounting can apply for admission into the UPNG Bachelors in Accounting program as 3rd Year students. This means they will have to study for two years more at UPNG and complete their Bachelor’s Degree.
According to Accounting Strand Leader at UPNG School of Business and Public Policy (SBPP), Mr. Panditha Bandara, the MOU will enable professional staff development activities between the two institutions. He also highlighted that there was a previous MOU which expired in 2017.
Program Accreditation Between Higher Institutions in PNG
The accreditation of Program between Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Papua New Guinea is an issue that Department of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology (DHERST) need to look at. The technical colleges that DHERST administers as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and they are allowed to offer programs up to Diploma level. Once students have completed the Diploma Programs, they have to apply again to complete the Bachelors degree programs at any of the seven universities in the country.
The Universities themselves have their own students which where selected from the National Grade 12 School Leavers selection done by PNG Education Department and supported by Government HECAS student scholarship administered by DHERST. As a result, students who passed out of Diploma Programs at the Business Colleges and Technical Colleges and wanted to continue to Bachelors degree level had to apply and compete for admission at the beginning of each year at the Universities as Non-School Leavers.
Because of the absence of Course and Program accreditation system in place, some students may find themselves repeating as freshman at the universities in order to complete the program requirements. Thus, a waste of another two years which they have already completed at the Technical or Business College level.
In light of this issue, the MOU between Port Moresby Business College and UPNG is something DHERST should consider facilitating so that students after graduating with Diploma certificates can make continue with university level as 3rd year students for their Bachelor’s degree of choice.
Recognition of Industry Experience for Admission.
Another important matter in relation to course and program accreditation is the recognition of Industry Experience when admitting students at the University level. Universities in PNG should be considering the applicant’s work experience in the industry and based on their experience they can enter into 3rd Year studies than starting at first year level for Bachelors Degree when they apply for Bachelors Degree Program. A lot of Technical Colleges and Business College students join the workforce after their completion of their Diploma program. Then after working for some time they apply to do a Bachelor’s degree . During admission in most cases, the universities does not recognize industry experience and award some form of course credits but are advised to start at first year level.
It’s about time DHERST to consider a national program and course accreditation framework so enable Higher Educational Institutions (HEI’s) to recognise the course and transfer credits between them. This will be of huge benefit to the future human resource development of Papua New Guinea.