Papua New Guinea

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Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Papua Niugini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Australasia, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and around 600 offshore islands (the western portion of the island is a part of the Indonesia provinces of Papua and West Papua). It is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia. The population is 6,700,000. The capital is Port Moresby. Papua New Guinea is one of the most diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies. It is also one of the most rural, with only 18% of its people living in urban centres. The country is one of the world's least explored, culturally and geographically, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior of Papua New Guinea. The majority of the population lives in traditional societies and practise subsistence-based agriculture. These societies and clans have some explicit acknowledgement within the nation's constitutional framework. The PNG Constitution (Preamble 5(4)) expresses the wish for traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society, and for active steps to be taken in their preservation. The PNG legislature has enacted various laws in which a type of tenure called "customary land title" is recognised, meaning that the traditional lands of the indigenous peoples have some legal basis to inalienable tenure. This customary land notionally covers most of the usable land in the country (some 97% of total land area); alienated land is either held privately under State Lease or is government land. Freehold Title (also known as fee simple) can only be held by Papua New Guinea citizens. After being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea gained its independence from Australia in 1975. It remains a realm of the Commonwealth of Nations. English is an official language and is the language of government and the education system, but it is not widely spoken. The primary lingua franca of the country is Tok Pisin (commonly known in English as New Guinea Pidgin or Melanesian Pidgin), in which much of the debate in Parliament is conducted, many information campaigns and advertisements are presented, and until recently a national newspaper, Wantok, was published. The only area where Tok Pisin is not prevalent is the southern region of Papua, where people often use the third official language, Hiri Motu. The courts and government practice uphold the constitutional right to freedom of speech, thought, and belief, and no legislation to curb those rights has been adopted, though a previous Chief Justice of Papua New Guinea and an outspoken proponent of Pentecostal Christianity frequently urged legislative and other curbs on the activities of Muslims in the country. The 2000 census showed 96% of citizens were members of a Christian church; however, many citizens combine their Christian faith with some pre-Christian traditional indigenous practices.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Papua New Guinea.

Education in Papua New Guinea

For a general description of education in Papua New Guinea see Education:Papua New Guinea.


For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Papua New Guinea.

Although there are opportunities for using ICT in distance education in PNG, the lack of basic services, such as good roads, good communication services and reliable supply of electricity, prevents widespread use of ICT. Recent deregulation of telecommunications has increased the number of telecommunications providers; however, ICT capacity is low, even by Pacific standards. (1)

Quality procedures

Internet in Papua New Guinea

Internet in Education

The Papua New Guinea Academic and Research Network (PNGARNET) is a nonprofit organisation owned and operated by the Papua New Guinea Vice-Chancellors Committee. PNGARNET's stated mission is to expand the availability of cost-effective Internet services to the nation's universities and research centres. PNGARNET was launched in April 2008, and its initial membership consisted of four state-funded schools – University of Goroka, University of Papua New Guinea, University of Technology and Vudal University – plus the privately-owned Divine Word University and Pacific Adventist University and two government agencies, the National Research Institute and the National Agricultural Research Institute. Among PNGARNET’s earliest projects has been the development of a computer satellite virtual local area network designed to increase Internet bandwidth to the nation's higher education institutions. The first installation coordinated by PNGARNET was a 3.7 metre satellite dish at the University of Goroka, which was designed to replace an older and slower dish while enabling the facility to facilitate full Internet research and communications services across Papua New Guinea and in connection with other nations. Papua New Guinea’s topography, with its rugged landforms and seismic activity, discouraged the installation of optical fibre as the main telecommunications medium for Internet connectivity. A microwave transmission was not pursued, since the technology requires line-of-sight between towers, which could only be constructed and maintained by PNG Telikom. Therefore, it was decided to use satellite transmission for PNGARNET’s connectivity. The PNGARNet system is made up of the participating institutions and a hub that is located in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong location was chosen due to the guarantee of uninterrupted electrical power and Internet connectivity and for its access to technology experts and supplies. PNGARNet rents its bandwidth on a geo-stationary orbiting satellite. (2)

Copyright law in Papua New Guinea

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Papua New Guinea

The ICDE report on regulatory frameworks for distance education (1) notes that innovative applications of technologies (see the community radio project of Nauru) would seem to have much potential for PNG as a low cost innovative infrastructural approach as supported by COL. There is no doubt there is many opportunities for the further application of innovative technological solutions in the complex educational context of PNG. PNG has many needs that could be addressed by the expansion of DE programs. Although no regulatory barriers are present to hinder the expansion of DE, the country is challenged culturally, financially and infrastructurally to provide even the most basic access to education for its population. In addition the underdeveloped ICT infrastructure, a lack of incentives and understanding of the value of DE to the country by teachers employing traditional face to face teaching methods and programs that are not responsive to the labour market are some of the factors that combine to make the environment for the growth of DE difficult. However, it is difficult to contemplate any more suitable teaching mode for the complexity of the PNG educational context and therefore offers many opportunities and possibilities for the future. Although the ICDE report does not use the term OER, in pointing out the potential for projects similar to the community radio project in Nauru, the report is suggesting that there is a place for OERs of a certain kind in Papua New Guinea. Additionally, the same difficulties and possibilities which the report highlights for DE may well apply to OERs: ideal for PNG's educational situation, but made difficult to adopt by that very situation.

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives


2. ReVica/VISCED page for Papua New Guinea (


1. ICDE Report: 'Regulatory frameworks for distance education: A pilot study in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia region - Final report'. December 2011. Prepared by the Project Team (Team leader, Dr. Rosalind James) (accessed at on Wednesday 11th July 2012)

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