The public service of the University of the Philippines Open University: a work-based learning study informing the development of public service framework

Doctorate other than PhD

Taylan, Finaflor F.. 2021. The public service of the University of the Philippines Open University: a work-based learning study informing the development of public service framework. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Professional Studies. University of Southern Queensland.

The public service of the University of the Philippines Open University: a work-based learning study informing the development of public service framework

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorTaylan, Finaflor F.
1. FirstProf Luke van der Laan
3. ThirdJoane V. Serrano
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Professional Studies
Number of Pages318
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) aims to become a leading public service university in the Philippines and beyond. By critically investigating UPOU’s public service system, the study aimed to assess UPOU’s current public service in order to inform the development of a new public service framework. While the literature regarding university public service (also referred to as the engagement) is widespread, literature related to the practice of public service especially in open and distance higher education in the Philippine context, is rare. The purpose of the study, therefore, was to conduct rigorous research in order to inform the development of a public service framework for use by UPOU. The study further sought to make an original knowledge contribution by addressing the gap in the literature associated with the professional practice of public service more widely.

The study adopted a pragmatism paradigm and was problem focused. Using an exploratory sequential mixed methods design, the study was able to determine the perceptions of UPOU’s internal and external stakeholders on the following: public service definition, motivation for doing service, ways policies affect public service, and extent of goal attainment leading to the development of a public service framework.

The study revealed that the term ‘public service’ reflects the purpose of doing service in UPOU. Public service in UPOU is defined as part of UPOU’s higher education mission, function, and mandate, guided by the principles of collaboration, mutuality, reciprocity, and empowerment, to engage with communities and public in addressing social problems and achieve other noble purposes for a greater number of people especially in the marginalized communities. Moreover, public service in UPOU is the overarching and crosscutting theme in the university that facilitates praxis, from which teaching, research, and other operations in the university emanate and are contextualized. Advocacy and a positive public perception on the university are the main motivators of UPOU’s stakeholders to engage in public service. The Open Distance Learning Act, UPOU’s vision-mission statements, and strategic plans were the most influential policies and statements that inform the direction of UPOU’s public service. However, UPOU’s internal stakeholders recommended that new and revised Despite the need for greater clarity and direction for its public service, the study showed that the goals of specific public service projects of UPOU were achieved to a high degree.

Capturing the contextual conditions of UPOU and its public, themes that should be integrated in UPOU’s public service framework are the following: (1) openness and equity, (2) needs of the marginalized and basic sectors, (3) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), (4) expertise of UPOU, (5) use of various technologies leading to improved access to education, (6) work with communities everywhere, (7) management structure and system, and (8) relationship among the university functions. UPOU’s public service framework includes the following elements: (1) term to describe the service mission; (2) definition; (3) goals; and (4) policies such as characteristics, priorities, and management and institutionalization guidelines. As part of the recommended framework, goal statements for UPOU’s public service are two-fold. To benefit the public, public service aims (1) to respond to the needs of professionals, marginalized sectors, masses, and society at large and (2) to enhance society’s access to UP education and programs through openness, access, and equity. To benefit the university, public service aims (1) to contribute to the achievement of the UP’s mandate as a public service university and (2) to strengthen relationship among the functions of the university towards praxis.

UPOU’s public service definition and goals are expression of strategic vision for the public value that UPOU wants to produce. The recommended framework when translated into policies are the university’s sources of legitimacy and support and will inform its leadership and operations management strategies and capabilities. The study contributed to the professional practice of public service in UPOU by providing an evidence-based approach to developing a public service framework. The study also provided an original knowledge contribution to practice knowledge to theory in that it refined the definition of public service, identified its dimensions and articulated ways in which practice can be informed. This knowledge contribution extends to other similar HEIs particularly in the Philippines, the development of public service frameworks in higher education and developing the concept of openness in public service.

Keywordshigher education, public service, community engagement, distance learning, open university, social work
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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