Sunday, May 17, 2009

Varsities Urged to Compete in Asian Rankings

PETALING JAYA: More public universities should take part in the newly-introduced Asian University Rankings.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he had asked the Higher Education Department to get feedback from the institutions on the time frame on when they could do so.

“Although we don’t want our universities to be ‘addicted’ to such rankings, we can use them as an evaluation process of their strengths,” he said.

He said the public universities should make preparations to be involved, adding that private institutions should also be bold enough to be ranked.

Mohamed Khaled was commenting on the five Malaysian public universities which are in the top 100 Asian universities list by QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.

Universiti Malaya (UM) was the highest-ranked Malaysian institution at 39; followed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) at 51; Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) at 69; Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) at 82 and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) at 90.

QS managing director Nunzio Quac­­quarelli said that QS, which compiles the annual Times Higher Education-QS (THE-QS) World University Rankings, had evaluated top Asian universities in the first regional rankings.

On USM, which attained apex (accelerated programme for excellence) status last year, Mohamed Khaled said he hoped to see the institution (which was ranked below UM and UKM) in a better position in future.

“The apex status was launched late last year so we do not expect to see a sudden jump,” he said.

Meanwhile, UM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Ghauth Jasmon said he was happy with the results.

“We will continue to work hard until we get to within the top 100 in the THE-QS World University Rankings,” he said.

Prof Ghauth had said after his appointment as V-C last year that he had set a top 200 target in the THE-QS World University Rankings in two years’ time and top 100 in five years.

UKM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International Relations) Prof Dr Hassan Basri said the university would use the rankings as a benchmark to perform even better.

“The data for the rankings was acquired last year,” he added.

(taken from The Star Online, 13 May 2009)

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