In 2017, over 25,000 Papua New Guinean school leavers completed their grade 12 studies. With a population of around 8 million, that number is expected to increase and the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology is mandated to facilitate and account for it.

Governments around the world maintain a constant dialogue between the needs of the labour sector and development of higher education programmes and awards that cater to those needs, with mind to the rapidly changing environment and economy, the digital divide and the increasing gap between the rich and poor.

The DHERST’s services include:

  • Quality assuring curriculum, governance and sustainability in HEIs;
  • Transparently allocating scholarship funding with merit-based approaches;
  • Building research and advisory networks to advise on the needs of the sector and related human resource development sectors;
  • Managing and implementing infrastructure and curriculum projects; and
  • Using transparency and merit-based approaches to facilitate the National Selections.

The DHERST’s NEC-approved strategy, the National Higher and Technical Strategic Implementation Plan has mapped out a way to unify PNG’s fragmented higher education system, with goals of standardizing and quality assuring higher education awards and offering vast career options and pathways for school leavers to attend HEIs and universities that meet the needs of a growing economy and population, both nationally and internationally.

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. The Department replaces the former Commission for Higher Education and the Office of Higher Education which were established in 1983 as the peak policy bodies for the higher education sector.