This thesis is concerned with issues of educational governance in PNG. In particular, this thesis seeks to identify and explain some of the problems PNG has confronted over the past twenty years in implementing its policy of devolution in education. I have approached this task with a macro-analytical perspective on educational policy analysis, designed to uncover some of the historical, structural and cultural reasons for the problems of devolution in PNG educational administration. My analysis is based on historical, political and sociological readings; an examination of key reports and other public documents relevant to the issues of public and educational administration in PNG; and, significantly, interviews conducted with many of the major participants in the devolution debate.
A key theme to emerge from this study is colonialism, in both its traditional as well as its more recent hegemonic forms. I have argued that the continuing legacy of colonialism in PNG serves to inhibit the expressions of a social democratic view of devolution to which the nation once aspired. The operations of the bureaucratic culture PNG inherited at the time of independence; the way centre-periphery relations are defined in PNG educational administration; the manner in which the government seeks to ensure national unity in the face of PNG's enormous diversity; the inability of PNG Bigmen to conceive of any other form of development other than that dictated by western precepts ; and the politics of overseas aid in PNG, work together in concert to ensure that practices of devolution in PNG remain merely symbolic, defined by a narrow instrumentalist, and increasingly managerialist, view of devolution. In this way, the idea of devolution has become an administrative strategy rather than a political principle which the nation once paraded proudly. In my view, a commitment to a social democratic view of devolution requires that, above all, PNG resist in whichever ways it can the encroaching influences of the new forms of colonialism which are increasingly constraining the nation' s policy choices and options, and thus its sovereignty.