The Open University of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, headquartered at the Gusaling Don Pepe Atienza at Intramuros, Manila, has operated a continuing education program for working adults and professionals in its several partner institutions and agencies in and out of the country. It is designed to provide higher education and improved qualifications to individuals who are unable to take advantage of traditional modes of education because of personal and professional responsibilities. It offers a number of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs.
The reorganization at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 1997 paved the way for the establishment of the Division of Community Health Services (DCHS), which now serves as a component of the Open University. Together with the Integrated Midwifery Association of the Philippines (IMAP), it pioneered a program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Community Health Service (BSCHS) – a special program to qualified members and officers of IMAP that aims to upgrade their standards and quality of services. On April 16, 1998, PLM graduated its first batch of 87 midwives. Of these graduates, 39 of them was sponsored by Nestle Philippines.
Working with the Quality University Education for Social Transformation (QUEST), a non-government educational foundation, PLM and the Trinity University of Asia in Quezon City have already graduated more than 6,000 midwives nationwide.
Originally offering only the BCHS Program, the DCHS expanded its offerings to include the Master of Community Health Service (MCHS) in 2001. A year later, PLM by virtue of its University Charter, has installed its General Education Curriculum (GEC) for the first two years of college education at the Second Philippine International School (SPIS), an all-Filipino educational institution for Overseas Filipino Workers in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This curriculum, permitted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education, allows the student to pursue, in later years, courses in any discipline at PLM or in any institution for higher learning in the Philippines. Visiting assignments of PLM professors are part of the agreement between the partner schools.
In 2004, off-campus connections were established with Asia Pacific College of Advanced Studies, Southville International School and Colleges, and World CITI Colleges. In that same year, Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City signed a memorandum of agreement with the Open University that allows undergraduate city and barangay employees to get a college degree. To qualify, City Hall applicants should have served the local government for at least two years. On the other hand, barangay employees, whether elected or appointed, must be at least high school graduates. Apart from city employees and officials, Quezon City residents are also eligible to apply under the program. Open to them are courses in business management and entrepreneurship.
At present, the distance learning programs and the off-campus program that offer a bachelor’s degree in public administration remains a continuing program. It is designed to help qualified government employees get their degrees and improve their competencies as a public servant.
Admission to the Open University is the responsibility of the partner school or agency. Students undergo either the screening procedure set by the partner agency or institution, or take the usual Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for on-campus admission at the PLM main campus.
Classes in the off-campus at the master’s level programs are held on weekends in the host or partner institution. Provision for modular instructions are provided in various programs should the student decide to complete his tertiary education.
Part of the quality control that PLM imposes is the administration of a validation test in all subjects at the end of each semester. The results of this validation test shall form part of the grade a student receives in each subject.
The Open University offers different degree programs in a variety of areas. These include:
• Associate in Government Management
• Bachelor of Public Administration
• Bachelor of Science in Community Health Service
• Bachelor of Science in Midwifery
• Master of Arts in Business Administration
• Master in Community Health Service
• Master of Arts in Government Management
• Master of Arts in Nursing
Aside from partner schools, PLM is also engaged in partnership with companies, government agencies, organizations, and other institutions for the distance learning programs. These include:
• Association of Christian Educators of the Philippines
• ATS Technologies, Inc.
• Bicol Foundation for Higher Education
• Camps Caringal I & II
• Center for Reconstruction and Empowerment through Appropriate Technology and Education
• Central Police District in Quezon City
• Department of Budget and Management
• Department of Interior and Local Government
• Department of Labor and Employment
• Fortune Guarantee and Insurance Corporation in Makati City
• Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)
• Laguna Lake Development Authority
• Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA)
• Manila City Hall
• Manila Police District
• Manila Public Relations Bureau
• Mines and Geosciences Bureau
• National Museum
• National Press Club of the Philippines
• National Food Authority (NFA)
• Police Traffic Enforcement Group
• Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)
• Philtread Tire and Rubber Corporation
• Quezon City Hall