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Abstract

Our paper provides an analysis of the Papua New Guinea National Qualifications Framework and experience to date in considering its implementation. It focuses on identifying implementation strategies and ways to improve the approved Framework. We highlight the challenges in aligning this National Qualifications Framework with existing structural and coordination arrangements, with quality assurance measures, with desired policy directions for higher education, and with regional qualifications frameworks. After some brief contextual background and a sketch of the PNGNQF, we address firstly the different roles and responsibilities of a range of agencies and the challenges of coordinated implementation of the PNGNQF under these circumstances.

We also consider the socio-cultural challenge of educating the population about the nature and significance of an NQF. From this discussion, we raise a series of more technical considerations for the PNGNQF, including questions about the links between technical and vocational qualifications and higher education qualifications, the integration of the PNGNQF into existing quality assurance requirements for higher education, the need for a credit-based approach. We also consider the extent to which the Framework, as it stands, facilitates desired Government policy directions for post-secondary education. We discuss as well issues in coordinating the PNGNQF with the regional Pacific Qualifications Framework.

In a final section, we summarise ways forward for implementation but also suggest ways to revise and improve the PNGNQF, for its next iteration. The issues and challenges we explore here can be used to improve the system and processes in PNG and may assist other countries.