In a fast moving, competitive and globalised environment, up-to-date knowledge is crucial to stay ahead and continuous education has therefore become essential, although needs vary.
To help keen learners wishing to obtain management knowledge and a springboard for further studies, the School of Continuing and Professional Education (SCOPE) of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is offering a Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) programme. "The programme is specially designed to upgrade participants' qualifications so that they can opt for further bachelor's degree studies afterwards," says programme officer Mimi Chan.
SCOPE's DMS programme links with top-up degree programmes offered in Hong Kong by two UK-based universities, De Montfort University and University of Wolverhampton. This "progression path" has been well received by students, says Ms Chan, adding, "Our students are working adults who missed the chance to receive a university education in the past. Many of them intend to obtain a bachelor's degree once they have their DMS, as they realise that academic qualifications can help them in their professional development."
Apart from making top-up programmes accessible, the DMS programme, which essentially consists of two parts, also offers plenty of flexibility. Besides the diploma-level studies already mentioned, it also offers a foundation certificate level (FCMS) for mature students or candidates who are applying based on their HKCEE (or equivalent) results. Once students have completed the FCMS, they can then move on to the DMS level. Candidates who already have higher academic qualifications may enter the DMS programme directly.
The two-part structure of the programme serves to make it available to a larger audience. The FCMS part comprises three courses (Introduction to business organisations, Business and its environment; and English academic skills) to prepare students for further academic study. The DMS part includes 10 compulsory and three elective courses. Students can choose to concentrate on one of four areas: marketing, human resources management, logistics management or public administration. In response to the market demand, more specialisations are to be launched next year.
A distinctive feature of the programme is that it offers soft skill workshops in addition to required modules, Ms Chan points out. "The programme exposes students to basic management knowledge, which includes harder skills, as well as soft skills such as critical problem solving," she adds.
To avoid the pitfall of "inert knowledge" (learned information that one can express but is unable to apply practically), the programme includes a personal learning portfolio course, which aims to develop students' aptitude, competence and study skills for effective lifelong learning and career development. "Feedback from students indicate that they find it very helpful," remarks Ms Chan.
The DMS programme is a two-year, part-time programme. Classes are conducted on weekday evenings and weekends to fit into working adults' busy schedules. To maximise learning outcomes, assessments are based both on continuous assessments including coursework and examinations.