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UOW first in world to offer online study in ocean law and policy
Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells was at the University of Wollongong today (Friday 25 November) to officially launch a suite of degrees aimed at providing greater understanding of the maritime policy and security challenges facing Australia and the rest of the world.
During the visit to the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), at UOW’s Innovation Campus, Senator Fierravanti-Wells, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, launched the three Masters degrees – Masters of Maritime Policy; Masters of Maritime Studies; and Masters of Fisheries Policy – which were offered online from 2016.
The visit also included a meeting with international postgraduate students from ANCORS and a briefing about the world-renowned centre’s capacity-building and real-world research activities, including the Blue Economy, which focuses on the need for sustainable use of maritime and coastal ecosystems and their benefit to our economic and social future.
In 2013, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime asked for Australia’s help in combating maritime crime in the Indian Ocean. The United Nations identified an urgent need for additional resources and capacity building in the region.
Professor Stuart Kaye, Director of ANCORS, said it was a chance to demonstrate the calibre of academics and expertise available at UOW.
“ANCORS is home to some of the world’s foremost experts in ocean law and policy, so it was the perfect opportunity to work with the United Nations to respond to the maritime concerns occurring in the Indian Ocean, while at the same time opening our subjects up to the digital world,” Professor Kaye said.
An online program was developed in response, supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, enabling students from Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania to study ocean law and policy at ANCORS without leaving their home countries.
The initial pilot program has such a success that ANCORS worked to make it available to all students, beginning this year. More than 100 students have undertaken study, from places ranging from Tonga to Tanzania, since it went online.
It is the first time students from around the world are able to undertake qualifications in ocean law and policy outside of the classroom.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the Masters program was a vital step in educating the next generation of ocean researchers and boosting maritime capacity building in the region and around the world.
“I am delighted that Australian aid program was able to play a critical role in getting this important program up and running,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
“ANCORS is an important partner in delivering Australia’s aid program through work to support Community-Based Fisheries Management in the Pacific. A major obstacle of many developing states is human capacity, and the online ANCORS Masters program is an excellent innovative approach to address these capacity constraints.
“I congratulate the University of Wollongong and ANCORS on this achievement and look forward to seeing the contributions that the graduates make to the sustainable development and economic prosperity of our region.”
Professor Kaye added that the online format, the only fully online course offered at UOW, meant students from developing nations were now able to study without having to take time out from their lives and careers to spend a year in Australia.
“The program is particularly valuable for students in developing regions, such as Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, who will benefit immensely from greater knowledge of ocean law and policy, but who may have previously faced numerous obstacles in undertaking this study in a classroom,” he said.
The subjects covered in the Masters program include law of the sea; maritime regulation and enforcement; international fisheries law; international environmental law; and, shipping law.
The Masters level courses run for 12 months full time, while ANCORS also offers a Graduate Certificate of Maritime Studies, at six months full time.
ANCORS is Australia’s only multidisciplinary university-based centre dedicated to research, education and training on ocean law, maritime security, and marine resource management.
The long-term outlook is positive, despite short-term challenges.
Program gives students the knowledge and skills to accelerate and sustain business growth.