ANU seminar - Good Aid, Bad Aid

How has aid affected the development of two Pacific universities? This seminar by Scott MacWilliam took place on 11 March at the Australian National University. The seminar paper and podcast are now available on ANU's website.

The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) were established at the end of colonial rule with comparable objectives. While USP continues to receive and rely on substantial funding from donors, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, UPNG appears to be the beneficiary of little more than benign neglect.

However, Scott MacWilliam argues that UPNG's current condition has been brought about in substantial part by bad aid, primarily in the form of international advice that has consistently argued that the principal national university should not receive priority in government plans. This perverse advisory aid has assisted PNG governments to downgrade the importance of UPNG, decimate the funding per student, providing minimal resources for infrastructure maintenance and expansion. The combination of domestic neglect and bad aid has almost completely destroyed what promise the university held in its early years.

Scott MacWilliam is a Visiting Fellow in the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at ANU. He has taught at UPNG and conducted research on PNG since the early 1980s.


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