Friday, October 9, 2009

Universiti Malaya's success hailed

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Malaya came in for praise from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday for improving its placing on the Times Higher Education-QS World University ranking for the second year running.

The deputy prime minister hoped UM would carry the flag for Malaysia on the international scene by continuing with the upward trend.

"It is something we are all proud off and the universiti should strive to carry on with the good work," he said after opening the International Exposition of research and Inventions of Institutions of Higher Learning 2009.

Muhyiddin was commenting on a report published by UK's Times Higher Education magazine yesterday which placed UM in the ranks of the top 200 universities worldwide.

It rose from 230th placing last year to 180th placing this year, the second year of improvement after a three-year losing streak that saw it plunging from 89th placing in 2004 to 246th in 2007.

Last year, it climbed 16 spots to be placed 230th.

First placing has been held for six years running by Harvard University in the United States.

Muhyiddin told university officials that the ranking did not not remain static and could go up or down.

"I believe the university will want its ranking to remain in the upper levels and will work harder to move even higher."

He said that among the factors that leaned in the university's favour were its focus on research and development.

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said UM's international ranking would not affect Universiti Sains Malaysia as the only apex university in the country.

"We knew UM can be on its own without any special programme. But USM was chosen to help it to be on a higher level," he said.

Apex university status, involving an accelerated programme for excellence, is given to Malaysian universities with potential to be world class.

Universities with such status would receive more assistance to improve quality of education to be on par with the best in the world.

He said USM would remain an apex university and the results of efforts to strengthen it would only be seen in 2011.

"We cannot expect immediate results. They need time to increase citations to climb the world ladder, too."

He said UM had worked on its weaknesses in certain areas to improve its world ranking.

He said other public universities could also score better if the government increased funding for research and development (R&D).

"In the West, they spend a lot on R&D. There are new developments and this increases their citations.

"But here, we are spreading our resources equally among all public universities. If we want to be in the top 100 worldwide, then we would have to spend all our money on one university and forget about the rest."

He said this was not possible as the government wanted all public universities in Malaysia to be equally good.

He cited a lack of funding as one of the reasons slowing down improvement in the international ranking of other public universities.

Under the 9th Malaysia Plan, RM1.8 billion was allocated to public universities with only RM250 million set aside in the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme.

"To be competitive, we need to spend more on R&D. This will increase our rankings," he added.

*Taken from NST Online.

*For Univesiti Malaya's website, click here

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Chia Wei said...

this is good 180...i m from ukm, ukm dropped to 293...criteria changes every year...but i m still proud that UM kae it to top 200! hooray!

wan hafiz said...

Chia Wei: It's encouraging to hear that UM is ranked 180th. But i think our local universities can go even better next year, perhaps.