DWU advances on in technology

The Divine Word University (DWU) prides itself in being one of the elite universities in the country and seemingly one that is continuously advancing in the Information Systems and Technological perspective.

When the country went into lockdown in 2020 due to COVID19, institutions and businesses had to adjust to ensure that they also thrived during the hard times. DWU was no exception.

Having several campuses all over the country, they had to find a way to run the establishments without having to physically send staff over.

The university advanced on technology by using Zoom to communicate with staff all over the country. They found it worked for them so even after the pandemic they’ve invested more into technology.

“We’re refining that, as at first there were issues with microphones (sound) and the quality of videos (pictures). However, now with the latest equipment’s, it resolves that. So now we don’t have to sending staff for trainings, we can do everything online,” Professor Fr. Philip Gibbs, DWU President states.

Another bigger advancement of the university is trying to build living quarters or dormitories in Lae, Kundiawa and possibly Hagen for its Medical Doctors (MBBS) students for clinical studies (practice).

The President states that the Modilon General Hospital is not a teaching hospital and it also does not have the facilities for that. It has been expensive as the school sends its trainee doctors to Lae and Kundiawa whilst the rural health students go to various centres around the country to do practicals.

DWU have been trying to expand in ways that they would like to promote students being non-residential, just like the arrangements in Goroka for UOG students, as currently the institution cannot cater for more than what they have at the moment.

“We’re trying to find ways in which students can be able to rent from communities and come to school. It would be cheaper as most of them, their parents or sponsors are not able to pay the fees for boarding. It seems that people in Madang are not open to renting out to students, but we’d like to find an arrangement somehow so that it can work here as it does in Goroka,” said President Professor Fr. Gibbs.

Another development is through the university’s Faculty of Flexible Learning where they offer Masters and Doctorate programs for working class undergraduates.

Professor Fr. Gibbs also said they were looking for ways to be more self-sustainable so that they don’t have to rely so much on Government funding which usually is irregular. Commenting on the Government’s HELP scheme and the TESAS funding.

He said they don’t really give a confident response to their payment schedules, resulting in most of the students learning on credits. However, he also points out that the institution also has to pay its bills on time as well and cannot really afford to have the bulk of its students reliant on Government aid.

Divine Word does not want to increase its fees due to its financial strains as they try to keep tuition on par with the other Government institutions. As such it has taken the approach of trying to start up a farm, having a Mart and other mini businesses in trying to subsidize student fees.

President Fr. Gibbs states that Divine Word is a Christian University and should be open to all students and does not want to raise fees because by doing so, then it becomes a school for the rich and elites as opposed to its Christian foundations.