Community-focused Off-Campus Programs:
Re-invigorating the PLM Experience

The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila has come a long way in providing high quality education that molded not only wisdom, but more importantly, it brought transformational changes to those privileged to be educated the “PLM way.” The lasting impact in changing the course of life of each PLM scholar who hails from the poverty-struck community is a clear testament that PLM education is a class by itself. This so-called “PLM phenomenon” continuously inspires the leadership of the University to expand the horizons of its commitment to social responsibility by reaching to other members of the larger society where PLM’s unique status can contribute to a larger extent to meaningful societal changes. A revitalized array of off-campus programs (OCP) has been re-launched with a far better paradigm.

PLM’s academic-community extension program
OCP is not new to the experience of PLM. It traces its roots back in 1995 when the College of Nursing conceptualized a new program to re-tool the country’s midwifery program through the Bachelor of Community Health Services (BCHS). Graduates and board passers of the 2-year midwifery profession across the country found a way of spreading their golden hands -- from ensuring birthing life to babies -- to nursing health care among communities away from the modernity of urban medical health services. Health is most basic among human services needed by the citizens, especially in far-flung areas, that yearn for emphasis and attention.

The success of the BCHS program ushered PLM to innovate other programs at the public governance sector. Realizing that a dedicated public service is the hallmark of a true republican society, PLM shaped its post-graduate program for government management (Master of Government Management) to give emphasis to the value-delivery of public services among the citizenry. A public institution itself, PLM has carved a niche in bringing about a distinct program in its own sphere of core competency. One step led to another as more programs of equal significance to the society were added to the growing list of community-focused learning paradigms, i.e., bachelor in public administration, master in business administration-top executive program, master in community health services, doctor in public management, among others.

Linkages and Service-delivery
To realize the objective of reaching a broader base, the colleges and graduate schools responsible for managing their respective programs have tied up mainly with government agencies, and community and professional organizations. Memoranda of agreement were forged to ensure quality control in delivering the educational objectives of the programs. Faculty members who are experts in their respective fields are sent by PLM into these agencies and communities to re-tool public and community servants right at their doorsteps. The policy research studies or dissertations of candidates for graduation are directed towards enhancing or uplifting the current state of affairs in their own communities by recommending stateful frameworks of significant contribution to the betterment of that community, through better health services or commendable public governance.

Step Forward
The vision of moving forward the OCPs where it matters most has evolved into a shared responsibility of the academic community. Existing OCPs also had their share of innovations in their program of implementation. Low tuition-fees that cover quality education and outstanding professors can even be paid by community health and public servants on a staggered basis. This is a step forward for the PLM’s foremost commitment to serve the good and welfare of the people by producing quality and devoted public servants whose primordial concern is the delivery of public services to the community.