From student to teacher

10 February 2021

Graduate Jollanda Mathew successfully completed Crawford School of Public Policy’s Master of International and Development Economics and is now taking home not only her degree, but also the confidence to kick off her teaching career.

When Jollanda Mathew was doing her undergraduate in economics at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), she heard a lot about Crawford School from her lecturers and from reading Development Policy Centre articles posted on the student notice board.

Crawford School and UPNG have a special partnership that first commenced in 2012, benefitting hundreds of students and encouraging two-way staff visits between PNG and Australia.

“Some of the lecturers visited and taught a number of our courses in economics and public policy. Given how well they presented themselves and the in-depth knowledge shared with us, they have sparked my interest in a masters degree. So I decided that I’d come to Crawford for my postgrad,” she said.

“I sat an economics exam along with my undergraduate coursemates. From the exam’s results and our GPAs, 10 of the students including me were selected for an interview. I was fortunate to secure the Greg Taylor Scholarship, which is also part of the Crawford-UPNG partnership.

“I’m so grateful to the ANU-UPNG partnership, particularly the Development Policy Centre and the UPNG School of Business and Public Policy for making my dream of pursuing my masters come true, and for their endless support throughout my two years of studies.”

Jollanda specifically chose the Master of International and Development Economics because of PNG’s developmental challenges.

She enjoyed how practical the courses were, and the opportunity to improve her research,writing, and critical thinking skills by looking at topics she cared about.

“Growing up as a woman in PNG, I felt that this course would help me better understand and unpack what is going on in my country. PNG is very culturally-oriented and not a lot of women are fortunate enough to undergo such studies.

“At Crawford I really liked microeconomics and also Professor Stephen Howes’ course ‘Government, Markets and Global Change’. It was a very practical course, looking at global issues which we were given readings on. We then had to do our own research and do a write up. We had seminars where we had group discussions and, at the end, we usually presented our ideas.

“I particularly enjoyed writing about 2020 United States presidential candidate Andrew Yang and his ideas around the universal basic income (UBI). This is a highly relevant topic in times of COVID-19, when so many people have lost their jobs. For this essay, we had to support our argument, and say why we were in favour of or against the UBI.”

Now that Jollanda has returned to PNG, she’s thrilled to start her career as economics lecturer at UPNG - the only woman in this year’s teaching cohort.

She said her time at Crawford helped her build the confidence needed to speak in front of people, and teach the topics she’s passionate about.

“I didn’t think of teaching as a career at first, but then I did one year of tutoring before I left for my Masters and really enjoyed it.

“Crawford has helped me build confidence in so many ways. We had to do many presentations which helped me improve my public speaking skills. I also learnt a lot about useful software which will be a great resource for my future in teaching. Also, the teaching techniques that each lecturer used will surely help me a lot in my teaching career.

“At UPNG, I will be teaching in the Bachelor of Economics program, specifically principles of microeconomics. I’m the only woman in the Economics Division and everyone has been so welcoming and supportive - I’m blessed and looking forward to working with my male colleagues.”

Jollanda’s scholarship was supported by the ANU-UPNG Partnership, which is funded by the Australian aid program through the PNG-Australia Partnership.

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