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The first cohort of UPNG economics students taught by partnership staff at their Graduation Day, April 2016
The partnership between the University of Papua New Guinea’s School of Business and Public Policy (SBPP) and the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy (Crawford) commenced in 2012. In March 2015, a new MOU between these two national universities provided a stronger foundation for this collaboration, and in 2018 the MOU was extended for a further three years. In August 2015 a new grant agreement between ANU and the Australian Aid program provided the means to significantly expand the partnership until 2020. A second phase of the project, also supported by Australian Aid, will continue this partnership to 2023.
The ANU-UPNG partnership provides direct benefit to hundreds of students, some of whom will go on to be future leaders, and also helps strengthen SBPP, especially in the key areas of economics and public policy.
The ANU-UPNG partnership has a focus on strengthening SBPP teaching and the student experience, collaborative research and outreach, and exchanges for faculty and students in economics and public policy.
Strengthening SBPP teaching and the student experience
Since 2015, ANU staff have been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses across the Division of Economics and the Division of Public Policy Management. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, five of the six teaching staff had to return to Australia at the end of March 2020. They are now delivering lectures to UPNG remotely, with the support of the remaining staff member still based in Port Moresby.
Collaborative research and outreach
The Development Policy Centre is involved in a variety of collaborative research with SBPP UPNG. The Centre and the School co-host the annual PNG Update which has been held at UPNG’s Waigani Campus (Port Moresby) since 2014. The PNG Update is the country’s premier forum for the analysis of contemporary economic and social issues and feedback from attendees suggests that participation, discussion and quality of conference has significantly improved over time. The Update is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, but we hope to resume it once we are able to. We also support a number of other workshops and seminars, and many Devpolicy faculty undertake PNG-related research under the rubric of the PNG Project. The Centre provides outreach for our collaborative work through a variety of channels, including public seminars at UPNG and ANU, blog posts and occasional discussion papers.
We encourage two-way visits between ANU and UPNG staff, with a particular focus on staff development. An SBPP graduate is currently pursuing the Master’s in International and Development Economics at Crawford School, ANU, with a further four students having completed their studies, returning to teach at UPNG. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, ten of the top performing final-year undergraduate students in economics and public policy from UPNG have travelled to Canberra to participate in a summer school program at ANU, where they have studied at Crawford School, met key figures in the Australia-PNG relationship and attended the Australasian Aid Conference.
Phase I project reporting and evaluation
The current Devpolicy staff involved in teaching and administration of the ANU-UPNG Partnership are:
- Dr Manoj Pandey — Team Leader and Lecturer in Economics
- Dr Nematullah Bizhan — Lecturer in Public Policy
- Dr Michelle Rooney — Lecturer in Public Policy
- Mr Dek Joe Sum — Associate Lecturer in Economics and Partnership Coordinator
- Mr Rohan Fox – Research Officer
- Ms Beth Orton — Acting Centre Manager
- Mr Arichika Okazaki — Program Officer