Archive for category university

Asia University Rankings 2016: Malaysia must refocus to develop as a higher education power

By Ellie Bothwell
THE World University Rankings
June 20, 2016

The country spends more on higher education than many of its regional neighbours, so why isn’t this reflected in the Asia University Rankings?

Malaysia aims to be the “education hub” of South-east Asia, says Wahid Omar, vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“Higher education is the catalyst for innovation for the country and the key agent in revolutionising the lives of the community as a whole,” he says.

While Singapore is the strongest country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in the rankings, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also home to some of the continent’s top-ranked universities.

Thailand leads on the number of representatives, with seven, but the highest-ranked institution in the region outside Singapore is Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, in joint 70th place.

Jamil Salmi, former coordinator of the World Bank’s tertiary education programme, says Malaysia has “more consistently focused on excellence in its university sector” than Thailand and Indonesia and has “one of the highest levels of public spending on tertiary education in the world”.

But Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the UCL Institute of Education, says that as Malaysia has “two-thirds of the gross domestic product per head of Korea”, it “should be doing much better”, and he questions whether the country is “paying the price for being a resource-rich economy”.

“This can lead governments to ‘coast’ and underperform in higher education,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Ministers’ failure of leadership and lack of moral courage which is why the Malaysian government has lost its moral compass and Malaysia lost its way in the sixth decade of nationhood

The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh today gave an example of the Ministers’ failure of leadership and lack of moral courage which is why the Malaysian government has lost its moral compass and Malaysia lost its way in the sixth decade of nationhood.

In answering the question by the PKR MP for Penampang Darell Leiking, Idris defended the two forums against Christianisation held by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), claiming that they were meant to explain the threat of Islamic State (IS) and Syiah teachings. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

Call on youths and students to make the ban on Asia’s best debater, Syed Saddiq 23, in public universities the cause célèbre in Malaysia to demand academic and democratic freedom for youths and students

Asia’s best debater, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, 23, has been banned from a third public university, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), after he had earlier been banned from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) and Universiti Tenaga National (Uniten).

The Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh had passed the buck of responsibility for the ban on Syed Saddiq by Usim and Uniten to the public universities concerned, claiming that the ban was because of the autonomy which his Ministry had devolved to the public universities.

Idris cannot wash his hands from responsibility for the ban on Syed Siddiq so easily.

Everybody knows that Idris was evading his responsibility as Higher Education Minister and was trying to pass the buck of the ban by Usim and Uniten to the public universities concerned.

But the third ban on Syed Siddiq by Unimas provides irrefutable proof that there was a directive from the Higher Education Ministry to all public universities to declare Asia’s best debater as persona non grata in the campus of all public universities. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Ban on Asia’s best debater Syed Saddiq from speaking at universities another sign of panic in the Putrajaya corridors of power over the 304 Citizens’ Declaration for Najib’s removal as PM and democratic and institutional reform

On Sunday, I said that there is an air of panic in Putrajaya as a result of the historic 304 (March 4) Citizens’ Declaration for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s removal as Prime Minister and call for democratic and institutional reforms to Save Malaysia.

As an example, I cited Najib’s emergency summoning of UMNO/BN Members of Parliament to his official residence 24 hours after the Citizens’ Declaration on Saturday.

While UMNO/BN leaders put up a stoic front, denying that they were in any way bothered by the Citizens’ Declaration, the ban on Asia’s best debater, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, 23, from speaking at the local universities provides another sign of the panic in the Putrajaya corridors of power over the Citizens’ Declaration, signed not only by the longest-serving former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Ministers as well as by political and civil society leaders totaling 45 personalities.

Even more important, the Citizens’ Declaration has the effect like clap of thunder in the political landscape giving renewed hope to many Malaysians about the possibility of political changes in the country, although there are also reservations and doubters.

This is captured by one social media poll by Malaysiakini’s English Facebook and Twitter accounts, recording 76.2 per cent of 5,5852 respondents in favour of the declaration, 11.6 per cent rejection and 8.8 per cent skeptical about the entire issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Umberto Eco changed my life

THE JOY OF SEMIOTICS

by Annalisa Merelli
February 20, 2016

He did so on a bright, warm day in Bologna — I think it was the late spring of 2003. I was an undergraduate student then, one year away from a degree in mass communication, and with too many ideas (my personal brand of not having a clue) about what to do next. Professor Eco was going to present the brand-new master’s degree in semiotics — the world’s first! — in the room B of the University of Bologna’s communications department, which boasted a total of three rooms.

I went out of curiosity — about him, not the course. I had bent my Italian practicality too much already, had heard far too many times that the path I was on was never going to get me a job, to even consider committing two more years to “the arcane field of semiotics“ — the study of meaning or, as a relative of Steven Johnson’s brilliantly put it, “the study of how plants grow in light. Very important field.” (No one ever knows what semiotics is. No one. Ever.) Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Mismanagement, waste, and corruption in Malaysia’s public universities

by Murray Hunter | 15th February 2016
Asian Correspondent

MALAYSIAN public universities have dropped in the Times Higher Education University Rankings over the last few years. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) made 87th position in 2013, but as of 2015, no Malaysian university made the top 100 Asian rankings.

Malaysian public universities have also shown mixed results in other rankings like the QS rankings, where three Malaysian universities had slight rises in their rankings, while Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), International Islamic Universiti Malaysia (IIUM), and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), all slipped in rankings from previous years. No Malaysian university made the top 100. According to the QS ranking profiles, Malaysian universities have lost significant ground in academic reputation and tend to be weak in research, where no Malaysian university reached the top 400.

Public Universities Vice-Chancellor/Rector Committee chairman Dr. Kamarudin Hussin, who is also vice chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) claims that the ranking methodologies favour older, more established universities. Yet many universities within the THES top 100 Asian universities were established relatively recently. Hong Kong University of Science and technology, ranked 7th, was established in 1980, Nanyang Technological University, ranked 10th, was set up in 1981, and Pohang University of Science and Technology, ranked 11th, was established in 1986.

When comparing performance to Malaysia’s neighbour, Thailand, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, established in 1960 made 55th place, and Mahidol University came in with a 91st placing.

In addition, a number of universities from countries which are not democratically governed like Sharif University of Technology (43, Iran), Isfahan University of Technology (61, Iran), Iran University of Science and Technology (69), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (71, Saudi Arabia), and King Saud University (72, Saudi Arabia), all made the THES top 100 Asian university rankings last year.

Dr Kamarudin accepts that Malaysian universities have “many issues that must be resolved….(and) there are plenty of oversights that must be fixed”. However, unfortunately, he didn’t mention what they are, or offer any solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

My Tribute to Badri bin Muhammad, PhD

M. Bakri Musa
www.bakrimusa.com

Last and for a very special reason, I will cite another example of a free mind, Dr. Badri bin Muhammad. Badri was special to many, most immediately his wife and fellow Professor of Chemistry Karen Crouse, and their children Susanna, Adam, Diana, Nadira, and grandson Mitchell.

Once on meeting a group of Malaysian graduate students here in America, a few happened to have attended University Putra Malaysia. To my query whether they knew of Badri, one bright student beamed widely, “Yes, he was my wonderful chemistry professor!” and the others quickly joined in the praise. Very effusive and very heartfelt, those students were among Badri’s many legacies.

Badri died recently after a brief illness. He was special to me as we had been dear friends for a long time and shared so many bonds. Our wives knew each other well and so did our children who were of comparable ages. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

1 Comment

Idris Jusoh should stop being elitist, patronising or even “Marie Antoinettish”, as he should stop arguing whether there are hungry university students but get down to resolve the problem of students cutting down on meals because of economic exigencies

The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Idris Jusoh should stop being elitist, patronizing or even “Marie Antoinettish”, as he stop arguing over whether there are hungry university students but get down to resolve the problem of students cutting down on meals because of economic exigencies.

His statement two days ago that he went hungry too when he was a student, but lack of money was not always the issue, was not on the level of the infamous Marie Antoinette statement of “Let them eat cake!” when the French queen learned that the peasants had no bread, but was sufficiently unsympathetic to the students’ problems as to approximate Marie Antoinette in callousness and indifference to social sufferings among the people.

Instead of spearheading a campaign to end such a serious problem, Idris could only think of browbeating the media by ordering them not to highlight such issues; while one Minister after another had followed Idris to express skepticism about the existence of the problem of hungry University students.

This is most shocking for the problem of students cutting down on meals or even going hungry because of the economic strains on the students and their families, is not synthetic problem but a very real issue, as I had met university students in such straits in the past few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

The Disgrace of Malaysian University Education

By Murray Hunter
Asia Sentinel

January 6, 2016

Mismanagement, waste, and corruption in public universities

Malaysia’s public universities have dropped completely out of the World University Rankings maintained by the Times of London. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia was ranked 87th in the top 100 Asian rankings in 2013, but has since fallen out. Not a single Malaysian university made the top 100 Asian rankings.

The collapse of higher education in Malaysia has grown so marked that World Bank economist Dr Frederico Gil Sander recently said the state of the system is more alarming than the country’s considerable public debt. The talent needed to develop the Malaysian economy is not being produced.

It isn’t just the Times survey. Malaysian public universities have also shown mixed results in other surveys like the QS rankings,where three Malaysian universities rose slightly while Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, International Islamic Universiti Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi MARA, all slipped. Not a single Malaysian university made the top 100, According to the QS ranking profiles, Malaysian universities have lost significant ground in academic reputation and tend to be weak in research, with no Malaysian university even reaching the top 400.

Public Universities Vice-Chancellor/Rector Committee chairman Kamarudin Hussin, also vice chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) claims that the ranking methodologies favor older, more established universities. Yet many universities within the top 100 Asian universities were established relatively recently. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, ranked 7th was established in 1980, Nanyang Technological University, ranked 10th was set up in 1981, and Pohang University of Science and Technology, ranked 11th, was established in 1986. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

UiTM must give assurance it will not organize a third anti-Christianisation or anti any religion conference and Higher Education Minister Idris should convene meeting with all universities to ensure universities do not become breeding grounds for inter-religious misunderstanding, enmity and hatred

Tan Sri Dr. Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar should be sacked as UiTM Vice Chancellor of University Technology MARA (UiTM) for setting the worst possible example as a responsible Malaysian citizen for allowing the university to host a second anti-Christianisation seminar for the second consecutive year.

The seminar against Christianisation held in the Lendu, Malacca campus of UiTM on Saturday, was the second to be held by the university, after a similar seminar held last year at the UiTM Shah Alam campus, titled “The word ‘Allah’ and Christology in the Malay Archipelago”.

It is most shocking that Sahol, who had been UiTM Vice Chancellor for 15 years since 2000, and UiTM administrators responsible for the two anti-Christianisation seminars, do not seem to know or understand Rukunegara, whose core values and principles teach the diverse races and religions in Malaysia to respect each other so that we can settle our differences through dialogue and not confrontation.

The last thing the drafters of Runkunegara would want or expect our University Vice Chancellors and administrators to do would be to turn universities into breeding grounds for inter-religious misunderstanding, enmity and hatred.

If our undergraduates are taught to hate or fear other religions and adherents of other faiths, it is not only a repudiation of the Rukunegara, it is a most anti-national act as we are laying the seeds for inter-religious distrust, enmity and hatred which can only result in national discord and disunity. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

PAS loses shine with campus students

by Zulkifli Sulong
The Malaysian Insider
14 December 2015

Groomed by PAS in university for a future in politics, four close friends who lived and studied together, and were part of the Islamist party’s campus network, have decided to abandon the party and affiliate themselves with other political parties instead.

In events that mirror developments at the national level after PAS progressives left to form Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), the four friends, Khairul Najib Hashim, Mohammad Amar Atan, Fahmi Zainol dan Adam Fistival Wilfrid, said they found PAS to be stifling.

The Universiti Malaya (UM) student activists said the PAS network, also known as “jemaah” (congregation) on campus was controlling and restrictive. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

As 2020 deadline looms, Malaysian students fail to shine in science

by Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
November 2, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 ― Less than 13 per cent of those who sat for the Form 3 PT3 examination last year scored at least a C in both science and mathematics, Putrajaya has revealed, despite Malaysia’s aim to achieve developed nation status in less than five years.

The Education Ministry also said that the average percentage of secondary school students who qualified for the science stream, based on their results of the previous Form 3 PMR examination, only hovered around 30 per cent over the past 10 years, though Malaysia has been aiming for a 60:40 ratio of science/ technical/vocational and arts students since 1970.

“The most probable reason for this could be the new format for the PT3 science and maths papers,” Education director-general Datuk Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof told Malay Mail Online in a recent email interview, in explaining the PT3 science and maths results.

“There were very few multiple choice questions which most students are very familiar with; and the test items demand a lot of thinking on the part of the students to gauge their understanding of the subject matter rather than regurgitating rote-learned concepts.

“It does not encourage teaching to the test and teachers need to engage the students in the learning process by asking more higher-order thinking questions. It is hoped that this kind of format will encourage the students to learn meaningfully and in future, the PT3 results will become better,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Why there is no academic freedom in Malaysia

– Murray Hunter
The Malaysian Insider
5 October 2015

The Malaysian government is trying to develop the country into an education hub.

Most universities seek awards of excellence and to get their institutions into the rankings.

However, even with these aspirations, Malaysia’s overall rankings have been slipping over the last decade, while many other universities within the region have been rising dramatically. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

A call to Malay M’sians to reject red-shirt menace

Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Malaysiakini
8th Sept 2015

I am writing as a concerned Malaysian and as a responsible Muslim against the overt threats of those I will refer to as the RSMM – the Red Shirt Malay Menace.

I have no idea what the official name of this group is, so I am using my academic licence to call them RSMM. Were this a Bahasa Malaysia article, I would dub them MMTM – Melayu Merah Tiada Maruah.

But strangely enough, this article is not about the RSMM but more about the deafening silence from the Malay political leadership, the Malay leadership of public universities, the Malay ulama who are muftis, and the Malay leadership in one particular political group which claims to be the sole warriors of Islam.

From the first day that the activities of this group were reported in the media and online videos showing them as ‘pahlawan’ or warriors getting ready for battle, I have kept a close eye on not their childish statements and loud bravado but on who amongst the Malay elites of this country holding the bastion of power socially, religiously and politically would say about this group and their more-than-clear intention. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

3 Comments

Call on newly-appointed Minister for Higher Education Idris Jusoh to advise university administrators to respect the intellectual freedom of students and stop treating them as children as Malaysia aspires to university academic excellence

I call on the newly-appointed Minister for Higher Education, Datuk Idris Jusoh to advise university administrators in the country to respect the intellectual freedom of students and to stop treating them as children if Malaysia truly aspires to achieve university academic excellence in the world.

Idris should advise Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) to withdraw the suspension of two students, Hanif Mahpa and Afiqah Zulkifli for organising a forum on the goods and services tax (GST) and inviting a Member of Parliament and PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli to the forum last May. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments

Academic freedom, critical thinking tools to fighting extremism, forum told

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
17 June 2015

Universities have a role to play in preventing fanaticism and extremism from festering in society, academic Professor Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid said, warning that Malaysia was at a turning point.

Ibrahim, the deputy vice-chancellor of INTI-Laureate International University said extremism was taking hold and urged intellectuals to reclaim their fundamental rights.

He also said the Malays were “cultural prisoners” in Malaysia and that in many ways, the non-Malays were freer than the Malays in this country.

“When university people surrender and are not courageous and allow lesser thinkers take over because of their articulation and their loudness and their mechanism of power, they can actually oppress the masses.

“It is tragic when they oppress the intellectuals and the intellectuals accept the oppression,” he said.
Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

3 Comments

Is criticising Putrajaya more serious crime than kiddie porn, ask student activists

by Diyana Ibrahim
The Malaysian Insider
6 May 2015

Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) decision to give a “second chance” to child porn convict Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin gives the impression that sexual crimes are less serious than criticising Putrajaya, said two student activists.

The duo, who had disciplinary action taken against them by their respective universities, said students who disagreed with the government faced suspension or expulsion from their institutions of higher learning.

Adam Adli Abdul Halim said Mara’s proposal was unfair because the same opportunity was not given to undergraduates fighting for their rights and vocal in defending democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Don’t rely on our university rankings alone, QS tells Putrajaya

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
2 May 2015

Despite Malaysian universities’ continued strong showing in QS Quacquarelli Symonds’s world rankings, the London-based firm has cautioned Malaysia not to solely rely on its results to gauge the performance of the nation’s varsities.

While Putrajaya often cites QS’s rankings as proof Malaysian universities are world class, QS head of research Ben Sowter agreed with Times Higher Education (THE) that Malaysia must refer to multiple sources to get an accurate picture of how local varsities fare compared with the rest of the world.

“Ours is only one of range of publicly available measures. Universities and policy-makers should combine data from multiple sources to form an accurate diagnosis of their strengths and weaknesses,” Rowter told The Malaysian Insider in an email interview.

“We strongly discourage anyone from making important choices on the basis of only one input.” Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

4 Comments

Malaysia needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also new world-class Education Minister

Calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to stand down as Finance Minister led by DAP MP for Kluang and DAP National Political Education Director, Liew Chin Tong have reached a new crescendo with last Friday’s statement by the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin withdrawing blind and total support to Najib’s handling of the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, with the triple position:

1. That the Auditor-General should audit freely and independently, and tracing back to the accounts in 2009 when 1MDB first started, not just the accounts of 2013, as well as a forensic audit to ensure “there is no corruption in 1MDB transactions.

2. That the Public Accounts Committee begin investigating 1MDB without having to wait for the outcome of the Auditor-General’s findings.

3. No bail-out of 1MDB whether in the proposed disposals of lands in Tun Razak Exchange and Bandar Malaysia which were “obtained from the government on the cheap”.

However, the nation needs not only a new Finance Minister, but also a new Education, a need driven home after Muhyiddin’s speech today admitting his shock with the poor performance of Malaysian students in international assessments, despite the millions of ringgit being spent to improve the education system.

What is most shocking about Muhyiddin’s “shock” is that it has to take him 15 months for the Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Education Minister to be shocked by the dismal performance of Malaysia’s 15-year-olds in the three subjects of mathematics, science and reading in the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), when the results were released 15 months ago in early December 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

5 Comments

Yet again, Malaysian varsities not among world’s top

BY ANISAH SHUKRY
The Malaysian Insider
12 March 2015

Malaysian universities have once again failed to make the cut in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2015, with too few scholars citing the country’s tertiary institutions as being among the best in the world.

The list of the world’s 100 most prestigious universities released today includes two Singapore varsities, and is based on the largest survey of leading academics across the world, said THE rankings editor, Phil Baty.

“As long as academics cite them as being among the very best universities in the world, they will appear in the rankings,” Baty told The Malaysian Insider in an email.

“Unfortunately, not enough scholars around the world named any Malaysian university in sufficient numbers for them to make the top 100. Singapore had two top entries – NUS (National University of Singapore) in 24th place and NTU (Nanyang Technological University) in the 91-100 band.”

Malaysia has never been featured on the list, which is in its fifth year, despite Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s recent statement that the country’s universities are world class and on par with varsities in Britain, Germany and Australia.

But unlike Malaysia, those three countries were singled out by THE as having among the highest number of institutions in the World Reputation Rankings 2015.

The US had the most number of institutions at 43, followed by the United Kingdom (12), Germany (six) and Australia (five). Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

13 Comments