Collective effort key to teacher education

Primary teacher training and education more generally can build on from the successes and lessons of the past and advance into the future through a collective effort by stakeholders.

 

This observation was made by the outgoing Vice President of the OLSH, Rabaul Campus of Divine Word University Mr Neil Nicholls during the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the campus on 16th July, 2016.

“We cannot rest on our laurels; the achievements of the past are milestones or pivotal points in our history that remind us how we can progress if we work collectively and without fear, and grasp opportunities that are presented to us,” said Mr Nicholls.

“We must constantly be mindful that rapid developments in the devolved nature of our nation and in the structure of our complex society, as well as rapid advances in communications and technology generally, are taking place in the context of a burgeoning population that needs educating.”

“We must harness these trends to our advantage,” he said.

Mr Nicholls said “The transformation of the educational landscape through which this country has charted its course has been immense.

“More and more children are able to access school, and that is a success story, but this success has raised questions of quality which we as a campus are now addressing.”

Mr Nicholls pointed out that teaching is a “demanding profession, necessitating high standards of professional and personal behaviour, and carrying with it the need to act with honesty and integrity.”

“Do we all sustain these high values? Do we confront the burning professional issues of the day, and challenge each other and address differences through robust professional debate and discussion?

“Do we play a meaningful part in guiding this institution through these changing times? \”

Mr Nicholls said DWU is responding to demands for more high quality teachers and is implementing the four Bachelor of Education (BEd.) program and phasing out the three year diploma program.

He paid tribute to the founding Catholic congregations that started the former OLSH Kabaleo Teachers College that has now become a campus of DWU through amalgamation.

Mr Nicholls commended the efforts of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the FMI Sisters, and Christian Brothers.

“It is because of their sterling efforts over a period of many years that we are able to be here today to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of this teaching institution,” said Mr Nicholls.

The Rabaul campus joins the former St Benedict’s Teachers College in Kaindi near Wewak, East Province which amalgamated into DWU almost 10 years ago while the Holy Trinity Teachers College in Mt Hagen run by Catholic Archdiocese of Mt Hagen is soon complete the amalgamation process.

DWU Vice President Quality Assurance and Professor of Education Jeanette in conveying the congratulatory message from University President Professor Cecilia Nembou to the Rabaul Campus and the Catholic Church reiterated the importance of partnerships.

“In these uncertain times, we need to display moral courage ourselves, but also work together collectively to defend our commitment to reasoned dialogue on matters of national concern. “We stand for unity in diversity, right conduct and honest admission of our need to improve,” said Prof Baird.

“An ongoing partnership with the Catholic Church is vital, I believe, for OLSH Kabaleo to properly fulfill its mission of educating future generations of primary school teachers and school leaders,” she said.

“The main reason I say this is because of the need to inculcate a powerful sense of ethical conduct in our graduates.

Prof Baird went on to say that “DWU believes in education that is holistic and formative, even transformative. For this, our students need to draw inspiration from Christian ethics.

“Christian ethics is the basis of ethical conduct in one's profession, one's workplace, one's community and in personal life.

“We need our graduates to be able to reinforce the professional ethics of a teacher by their own demonstrated commitment to Christian ethics, respectful of clan and local kastom but firm about a wider need for social justice and the creation of a Papua New Guinean society where God's love is the touchstone,” said Prof Baird.