What is Najib and Muhyiddin going to do about the crying shame and national disgrace that not a single Malaysian university could get into the THE Top 400 World University Rankings 2014?
Today the media of all countries with higher education masterplans and strategies to take their people and economies to greater heights are focussing and debating the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014, and the performance of their universities – with the exception of Malaysia.
Not a word in the Malaysian mainstream media owned or controlled by the Barisan Nasional parties about the THE World University Rankings 2014 and the dismal performance of Malaysian universities.
The reason is simple. For the fifth year in succession, since the launching of the THE World University Rankings in 2010, not a single university had made it into the THE Top 400 University Rankings.
The Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin maintains a conspicuous silence about the continued exclusion for the fifth year of Malaysian universities from the THE Top 400 Universities, just as he had continued to maintain a conspicuous, inelegant and infamous silence about Malaysia’s poor performance in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) and 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) both of which fell during his term in the education ministry.
Muhyiddin is only good in eating sour grapes with regard to the ranking of Malaysian universities in international university rankings.
Muhyiddin does not have anything to say when rankings of world universities are released, but his stand on these world rankings are on public record – that international rankings of local universities are secondary or even irrelevant, on the ground that most of the criteria and the yardsticks used to gauge the position of local universities in the world rankings do not meet the country’s aspirations.
Malaysian higher education will never be able regain the international greatness and excellence it enjoyed in the 50s and 60s unless we stop having an Education Minister with “sour grape” mentality about world university rankings, who could be complacent and proud that for five successive years, not a single Malaysian university was able to make it to the THE Top 400 University Rankings!
Nine years ago, at the University of Malaya’s centennial celebrations in June 2005, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister challenged the University of Malaya to raise its 89th position among the world’s top universities in the THES-QS Ranking 2004 to 50 by the year 2020.
Let Muhyiddin declare whether he stands by Najib’s challenge to University of Malaya in 2005 to be among the world’s Top 50 universities by 2020, or whether he thinks this is a scatter-brained idea and is repudiating it as unrealistic and irrelevant to Malaysia’s tertiary education and developmental needs?
It is a reflection of the continued decline and deterioration of higher education standards in Malaysian universities that while in the THE-QS Top 200 World University Rankings 2004, two local universities were cited with University of Malaya ranked No. 89 and Universiti Sains Malaysia ranked No. 111, there is not a single Malaysian university a decade later in the THE Top 400 World University Rankings 2014.
The THE Top 400 World University Rankings 2014 show a “power shift” from the United States and United Kingdom to the Far East.
While US and UK universities continue to dominate the THE World University Rankings 2014, they are starting to lose ground to East Asian rivals.
What should concern Malaysians is why this shift of higher education excellence from the West to the East has by-passed Malaysia.
Some 24 Asian universities are now in the top 200 compared with 20 a year earlier. This includes two listed in the top 25 – Tokyo University and the National University of Singapore.
In the top 400 universities list, 52 are from Asia, comprising Japan 12, China 12, South Korea 9, Hong Kong 6, Taiwan 6, India 4, Singapore 2, Thailand 1.
There can no reason for Muhyiddin, the Education Ministry and the Najib Cabinet to continue to be complacent about Malaysia being by-passed in this shift of higher education power from West to East, to the extent that not a single Malaysian university could get into the THE 400 World University Rankings 2014.
What is Najib and Muhyiddin going to do about this crying shame and national disgrace that not a single Malaysian university could get into the THE Top 400 World University Rankings 2014?