Keeping CeMBA/CeMPA relevant with changing times

The updating of the Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration or Master of Public Administration (CeMBA/CeMPA) programme to meet contemporary needs, the revision and adding of courses, and introducing more specialisation streams were among the decisions taken at the recent Commonwealth of Learning (COL)-led meetings held at WOU.

 Prof Kanwar chairs the Academic Board meeting.

Prof Kanwar chairs the Academic Board meeting.

WOU was privileged to host the 29th Academic Board (AB) and 13th Executive Governing Board (ECG) meetings for the CeMBA/CeMPA programme respectively on May 7th and 8th, attended by the deans/heads of departments and the Vice Chancellors from the 10 partner institutions offering the programme. The meetings were chaired by COL President Prof Asha Kanwar, who was accompanied by Prof Romeela Mohee, COL Education Specialist for Higher Education.

The 10 partner institutions offering CeMBA/CeMPA are WOU, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU, Pakistan), Bangladesh Open University (BOU), Botswana Open University; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST, Ghana), Open University of Mauritius (OUM), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL), University College of the Caribbean (UCC, Jamaica) and University of Guyana (UG).

 Acting WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas (centre) with the AB members and the COL delegates.

Acting WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas (centre) with the AB members and the COL delegates.

Prof Kanwar said that today’s world of business has changed immensely due to elements like ethics, sustainability and technology. “Are we able to give some ideas to students who will be dealing with the future of business on how to handle the kinds of changes which are happening so quickly?”

She reflected that the MPA stream had hardly any takers since the beginning in 2002, but noted that UCC and UG have lately revived interest in this public administration steam. She informed that some 34,000 people have enrolled in the CeMBA/MPA programme of the partner institutions over the years, with almost 18,000 or some 50% having graduated to date.

 Prof Kanwar highlights the gender incentives to draw more women into the programme.

Prof Kanwar highlights the gender incentives to draw more women into the programme.

She also mentioned that COL has developed gender guidelines or incentives after consultations with partners in order to draw more women into the programme, adding that this will be re-looked to make it more inclusive without diluting the programme quality.

On the topic of programme specialisation, she stated that three streams have been proposed in HR, Finance and Marketing. “There is a general consensus that specialisation is the way to go to offer more options and to upgrade the programme.”

 Prof Zoraini presents a brief overview of WOU.

Prof Zoraini presents a brief overview of WOU.

Prof Kanwar also shared about the decision to review 2 courses, Research Methods and Quantitative Techniques, and once these courses are ready they will be reviewed by the Academic Board and authorised to offer by the EGB. “We want any new courses which we develop to be based on OER to save time and to harvest the best quality content which is available free on the Internet.”

Prof Mohee highlighted that a 6-credit course on Sustainable Development has been developed by OUM (Mauritius) and is now available as an OER course to all CeMBA/MPA partner institutions to add as an elective from this academic year.

 Prof Mohee (centre) talks about the new course on Sustainable Development.

Prof Mohee (centre) talks about the new course on Sustainable Development.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam represented WOU at the AB and EGB meetings.

 Prof Kanwar (centre) and Prof Mohee (2nd from left) with members of the Executive Governing Board.

Prof Kanwar (centre) and Prof Mohee (2nd from left) with members of the Executive Governing Board.