Congrats to BN-owned/controlled “mainstream mass media” in achieving a world record in ignoring THE World University Rankings 2014 for two consecutive days because not a single Malaysian university made it to the Top 400 universities list for fifth year
Congrats to the Barisan Nasional-owned/controlled mainstream mass media in achieving a world record in ignoring the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014 for two consecutive days because not a single Malaysian university made it to the THE Top 400 Universities list for the fifth year in succession.
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.
But there is not a single Malaysian University not only in the Top 200 but also in the Top 400 universities listed in the THE World University Rankings, not only for 2014 but for the entire five year THE World University Rankings series since 2010.
Just like the BN owned/controlled mainstream mass media, Barisan Nasional leaders particularly the Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, has chosen to play dumb and refused to make any comment on the shocking absence of a single Malaysian university in the Top 400 universities listing, when not only other Asian countries are represented like South Korea 9, Hong Kong 6, Taiwan 6, India 4, Singapore 2, Thailand 1, countries outside the UK and US region are also represented, like Turkey 6, South Africa 3, Israel 3, Brazil 2, Iran 2 and Morocco 1.
University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin told The Malaysian Insider that the university has not participated in the THE rankings because the UM is not yet in a strong enough financial position to compete with other richer, older and better-ranked universities, but it would be ready to enter the THE rankings in 2018.
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.
At the time, this challenge for University of Malaya to be ranked among the world’s Top 50 Universities by 2020 was accepted by the then UM Vice Chancellor.
Has this been reneged by the present UM Vice Chancellor with a 13-year deferment for UM to be ranked among the world’s Top 50 universities (i.e. in 2033), or is the UM VC declaring that Malaysia would meet the challenge to be among the world’s Top 50 universities in 2018 when UM enters the THE ranking?
In any event, the argument that University of Malaya cannot compete with the “older” better-ranked universities cannot hold water, as out of the 20 Australian universities in the Top 400 (eight of them in Top 200), only eight of them were founded before 1950, namely Sydney 1851, Melbourne 1853, Adelaide 1874, Queensland 1909, Western Australia 1911, Australian National University 1946 and University of New South Wales 1949.
In the fifties and sixties, Malaysians pride themselves in having University of Malaya as one of the world-ranking universities comparable in academic excellence to Universities of Melbourne and Sydney (with all the other Australian universities at the time regarded as “countryside” and inferior universities).
It is sad and pathetic that Malaysian universities have completely lost out in the world higher education stakes and is overtaken by 20 Australian universities, with over a dozen which are younger than University of Malaya!
Muhyiddin cannot continue to keep his silence about Malaysia’s dismal failure in higher education when not a single university could get into the THE Top 400 World University Rankings for five consecutive years – which is during his entire tenure as Education Minister.
Is this going to represent Muhyiddin’s greatest failure as Education Minister?