Wednesday 21 Feb 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the gains Malaysia made in the 2015 QS University Rankings: Asia, local varsities failed yet again to be included in Times Higher Education’s (THE) 2015 ranking of Asian universities that was released yesterday.

THE’s Asia university rankings see Singapore’s National University of Singapore maintaining its second place and Nanyang Technological University rising to 10th place.

Topping the list is Japan’s University of Tokyo, while University of Hong Kong is at third place, followed by China’s Peking University and Tsinghua University.

Thailand has two universities in this year’s top 100: King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi at 55th place, and Mahidol University at 91st.

Countries such as Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran also showed improvements.

In contrast, Malaysia has so far featured just once in THE’s annual Asia University Rankings ­— Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia came in at 87th place when the ranking debuted in 2013.

THE representative Fran Langdon told The Malaysian Insider on Wednesday that local universities had “poor global visibility”.

“In the case of Malaysia, it really is a case of ‘you have to be in it to win it’ and unless we see more participation from Malaysia as a whole, I do not anticipate its universities making the tables in the near future. They are suffering from poor global visibility for one.”

But she could not reveal which Malaysian universities submitted data to be ranked, saying THE only disclosed the names of those that made it in the top 100.

Previously, THE editor Phil Baty told The Malaysian Insider that local universities’ refusal to submit data to be ranked, as well as weak research, were two reasons they fared badly in THE’s rankings.

DAP’s member of parliament in charge of education, Zairil Khir Johari, said Malaysia should not be afraid to compete with the world if it wished to be world class.

“A few weeks back, Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh once again repeated his claim that Malaysian universities could become world class at their current rate of progress,” he told The Malaysian Insider on Wednesday.

“The only way to prove that Malaysian universities are progressing is through competitive international assessments such as the THE, QS, Thomson Reuters and other world rankings.”

He said the government was wrong to point to Malaysia’s performance in the QS rankings as proof it was doing well, since world-class universities did well across the board in all rankings, rather than in a select few.

But Idris said: “We are aware that the QS ranking isn’t the only ranking out there. But we must begin [somewhere and that’s] the QS rankings,” Idris said. — The Malaysian Insider

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 12, 2015.

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