Use of Tracer Studies to Enhance the UPOU Environment and Natural Resources Management Graduate Program
Main Article Content
Distance education has evolved and improved since the advent of the Internet. Open and distance e-learning (ODeL) for higher education has allowed ease of access to higher institutions of learning for professionals and adult learners. The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) has been offering the Diploma and Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) since 1999 through open and distance learning. The current program now offers a ladderized program with two-exits: a Diploma and a Master’s degree. This paper presents the results of an analysis of the profile of MENRM applicants and a tracer study on graduates about their motivations for choosing to pursue graduate studies at UPOU. It also explored how having earned a postgraduate degree has affected their current jobs. The admission information showed that more than 90% of admission applicants were employees of private institutions and government offices occupying mid-level and senior management positions mostly based in the Philippines. The study has shown that their work schedule was an important consideration in pursuing a MENRM graduate program. The tracer study of 29 MENRM graduates also showed that the increase in their work responsibility and compensation can be attributed to their successful completion of the program. Moreover, it has contributed to their personal and professional development, particularly in their increased capacity for project and people management and policy making, as well as improved skills in research, technical, and critical thinking. However, the enrichment and development of communication skills as a required 21st century skill of MENRM graduates need to be better addressed in the program.