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Abstract

We outline a novel approach to the coordination of quality assurance, national policy and donor country aid in Papua New Guinea, which aims to improve the quality and sustainability of university education. Background information on the current situation of PNG universities approach is provided, for context, leading to a description of the three-way partnership envisaged in implementation of an Independent Review of the PNG University System.

This partnership is between the Government of PNG, the Australian Government through its international aid agency, AusAID, and the PNG universities. We discuss a range of enabling factors at national and institutional level that facilitate the introduction of external institutional-wide quality assurance reviews for the PNG universities. We also discuss challenges and lesson learnt, including some of the actions taken by universities. In particular, we address the challenges of developing robust self-assessment processes in severely under-resourced institutions not familiar with this practice. From this specific account, we explore past aid practices and the emerging opportunities for developing countries to link higher education quality assurance to other national policy instruments and education aid programs.

There are probably further opportunities for donor countries and aid agencies to craft systematic programs of higher education aid that work in tandem with the country’s higher education institutions as well as with the policy and funding instruments of developing countries. As well, we suggest there may be scope for making greater use of self-assessments as an integral component of sectoral aid programs.