The Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST) was established by the Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2014, gazetted on 10 December 2014. Under this Act, the Department has a broad range of policy, coordination, regulatory, financing, and program management responsibilities for Papua New Guinea’s tertiary (post-secondary) education, encompassing both higher and technical education.

The Department replaces the former Commission for Higher Education and the Office of Higher Education which were established in 1983, as the peak policy body for the higher education sector and as its secretariat or public arm respectively.

DHERST works closely with other important Government ministries participating in the sector, including Education, Health, and Labour and Industrial Relations. It also partners with provincial governments and a range of other organisations, including churches, donors and industry bodies.

A three-year Corporate Plan guides DHERST as it transitions to a Government department with wider scope and responsibilities for leading the sector. The Plan encompasses priority objectives, actions and key performance indicators for the Department informed by the National Higher and Technical Education Plan 2015-2024 and the national PNG Vision 2050. The plan is a representation of the aspirations of staff for the Department. For copies of the Plan, please contact the Department.

The organisational structure of the Department includes a Policy and Research Wing, an Operations Wing, and an Executive Unit. It also has a National Higher and Technical Education Board (NHTEB), responsible for quality assurance, and a Higher Education Appeals Tribunal (HEAT).