Top Universities in Australia and Papua New Guinea

In this post, we look at the factors that determine the rank of universities in the World. Using the factors we can identify where Papua New Guinea (PNG) universities are relative to the other universities. The university management and government can make informed decisions to improve the standard of teaching and learning at higher education institutions in PNG.

PNG Insight arranged the top universities in Australia from using the Webometrics Info (WI) and Time Higher Education (THE) as sources. WI used over 28,000 universities.

THE used 1251 universities to present this information. It is, perhaps, important to note that the intensity and quality of research are paramount.

In fact, the quality of a university’s teaching, research and overall outlook determine its rank. PNG Insight uses the 2018/2019 ranks to show the top universities in Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

NOTE: The article was first posted on Insight.

Key points:

  • Sources are the Webometrics Info (June 2018) and Time Higher Education (2019)
  • WI used more than 28,000 unis and THE used more than 1250 unis for the 2018/19 ranking
  • Sorting is done by country – PNG and Australia
  • Refer to the discussion below for the key takeaway of this post

PNG Universities

There are 6 operating universities in PNG. The Western Pacific University is the 7th addition. Construction started in 2016 and marked for the first student intake in 2019. However, for some reason or other, the university is still under construction. The 5 PNG universities featured in the global ranking is shown below.

Though PNG universities do no fare well on this rank, it does not mean everything is doom-and-gloom. The undergrad and postgrad programs offered at PNG universities are respected and have their merits.  The postgraduate programs like the MBA (Masters in Business Administration) at UPNG are top class.

PAU offers an exciting program in MLD (masters in Leadership and Development). The research components of some of the postgraduate programs are very intensive.

But, we may have to ask why the PNG universities are not ranked well on Global universities matrix. This begs the same questions paused by the universities ranking bodies WI and THE:

  • What kind of *teaching* is taking place and what are the qualifications of the *teachers*?
  • How well are the taught masters and research masters conducted?
  • Are the *research* papers good enough to catch the World’s attention?
  • What is the overall outlook of the university in terms of teaching, learning, research and productivity?

PNG Unversities rank
Top universities in Australia

The top 5 universities in Australia were the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Australian National University and the University of Sydney.

In fact, the top 5 universities in Australia maintained the top ranks in the Pacific in 2018 and 2019, though there were shuttle shifts by one or two places.

top 10 Aust unis
2019 Time Higher Education Rank

The Times Higher Education compared over 1250 universities. The comparison, audited by the renowned Price PricewaterhouseCoopers, showed 6 Australian universities in the top 100 list of universities in the World.

The University of Melbourne maintained the number one place and the Highest Ranked University in Australia (= 32nd rank in the World). And, Australian National University ranked 2nd in Australia and 49th among all the best universities worldwide.

These are universities with healthy funding, quality teaching and learning, quality research and their research work have been recognized and quoted internationally.

Aust universties rank 2019

Discussion – Make PNG Unis Great!

There are 6 operating universities in PNG with the 7th under construction. The quality of teaching, research and overall outlook of each university determines a university’s rank.

An increased level of participation and partnership with the top Australian universities is required to rank in the top 100 among the 28,000-odd universities in this World ranking.

At present, the exchange programs, web seminars, partnership research are examples of some great collaborative work. For example, the Australian National University (ANU) resident lecturers are working at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).

The annual conference called the PNG Update is another example of collaboration between PNG universities and ANU.


However, there is more needed doing in PNG for the universities to rank high. PNG universities must take ownership. Lead from the front in any partnership. Active rather than a passive partnership is required in order to be recognized internationally.

As mentioned earlier, every university in the country should lift the standard of research work by actively collaborating with the top universities in Australia. Tap into the resource and manpower.

In retrospect, the vision to improve the quality of teaching, research, and knowledge transfer, in terms of partnership and collaboration, among the PNG universities and with Australian universities cannot be realized overnight. It is not easy. It requires vision.

Both the political-will and university management’s long-term vision is necessary to give PNG universities respectful ranks. Understandably, work together with the top overseas universities is one way to set the pace for improvement.

Strong and active partnership and collaboration among the PNG universities, PNG government and well-ranked universities within the region is urgent.

For detailed information about the latest rankings of the world universities, visit the Time Higher Education website.

Source: Webometrics Info (2018) and Time Higher Education