An effective pathway to becoming a leader in the education sector
Starting class in the academic year 2019/20, the Master of Social Sciences in Organisational Psychology and Education Management (OPEM) is a one-year full-time – or two-year part-time – programme with the incentive of offering insights in organisational psychology and an advanced training in education management.
According to Professor Ada Wong Hiu-kan, Associate Professor of Teaching and Programme Director of OPEM, the postgraduate programme aims to fill in the gaps in the study scope of existing applied psychology and education management courses in Hong Kong, by offering a course that specialises in people management in an education setting on all levels. “The new programme will cover management topics from primary school to higher education, which makes it an apt choice of further study for individuals who are currently in, or aspire to play, a leadership role in their respective teaching environment,” Wong says.
Best of both worlds: Psychology + Management
Co-launched by the School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Applied Psychology, OPEM effectively marries the distinctive fields of psychology and management within the education context. Understanding psychology has been proved to be pivotal for managerial roles for a number of reasons.
From mediating disputes to allocating resources, the managing team of an institute will need the expediency of human resources and effective communication to lead the team in tackling problems and breaking down barriers between staff members. This is where OPEM comes in.
Organisational psychology helps education managers design a work environment and policies that motivate “learning” among students and teaching staff, while prompting teachers to adapt their teaching style in order to cater to diversified learning abilities and needs within a classroom.
Students can apply the psychological knowledge they learn in the programme on analysing and managing the individual and group activities within the education setting, as a way to strengthen group dynamics and facilitating communication to improve the efficiency of management. These factors all make OPEM a choice programme that meets the trend and demands in modern education leadership.
A human-centred approach
Through fulfilling the key objective of equipping students with a broad knowledge of organisational psychology in order to prepare them for leadership roles in the education sector, the programme focuses on nurturing critical thinkers and problem solvers who are able to tackle issues in education management with a holistic approach, “The programme offers a wide range of experiential learning opportunities for critical analysis and review of educational management in a wider policy context,” Wong adds.
Comparing to other liberal arts subjects on offer at the university, OPEM emphasises whole-person development and sharpens students’ understanding of human behaviours as well as the dynamics in organisational and educational settings. “In other words, the programme adopts a more specialist and practical training than conventional generalist liberal arts education philosophy,” Wong points out.
In an effort to prepare students for the rigours of education management amidst the dynamic landscape of education in the local and international context, each training module covers not only up-to-date organisational psychology and education management theories, but also case studies presented by instructors and teachers currently working within the respective fields. Students could attend seminars and talks delivered by prominent scholars, and engage with practitioners in the education and applied psychology sectors in events to conduct policy analysis and organisational research.
A flexible course in career and study mode
Putting together a balanced mix of practicum and theory, the programme is carefully curated for, but not limited to, managers, senior teachers, subject panel heads, principals and administrators from all levels of education institutions. Full-time working students can opt for the weekend mode, which comprises 8-hour full-day learning on Saturdays and occasional Sunday classes.
Course prerequisites include the ownership of a bachelor’s degree with a first or second class honours from a recognised tertiary institution, while equivalent qualifications and experiences will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants from non-English-medium tertiary institutions are required to obtain in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test); or 213 (computer-based test); or 79 (internet-based test). A band score of 6.5 or above in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted.
An eye-opener to the world
In order to address the ubiquitous phenomenon of globalisation as well as the incessant change in the spheres of psychology and society, the programme tailors its curriculum to offer its students the interdisciplinary learning environment they need. According to Wong, courses such as “Globalisation, Policy and Society” and “Internationalising Education: Institutional Strategy and Development” elaborate on education policy-making and strategic topics beyond Asia, while the “Regional Study on Education Management in Greater China and East Asia” module examines the development of education management in neighbouring countries of Hong Kong.
Other from diverse classroom learning, students who take part in the Regional Study course will travel to regions such as Taiwan and other cities in Southeast Asia during a one-week intensive study tour. Through talks and group projects, students are given extensive exposure to the education policies and developments in adjacent cities. Apart from that, summer and winter school experiences at leading institutes in the US and the UK will keep students abreast of the latest progression of education management.