Archive for category university

Would Najib ask all the 34 UMNO/BN Ministers who send their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign, to resign for their lack of confidence in the Umno/BN national education policy and system?

Malaysians must thank the former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad for highlighting the scandal of more and more Umno/BN Ministers and leaders sending their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign, as it has been a standing example in the past decades of the hypocrisy of UMNO/BN leaders who preach one thing for ordinary Malaysians but do the exact opposite for themselves and their family.

Would the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak ask all the 34 Umno/BN Ministers who send their children to private or international schools, whether local or foreign, to resign for their lack of confidence in the Umno/BN national education policy and system?

I have been informed that one of the first things a Minister of the Najib Cabinet did on his appointment was to transfer one of his children to an international school.

Why?

Is this because Malaysia’s education system sucks, stuck in the bottom third of the countries surveyed in international assessments and not making any significant moves towards the upper tier of the top one-third of the countries with 15-year-olds in Shanghai, Singapore and South Korea performing as though they had four or even five more years of schooling than 15-years-olds in Malaysia in mathematics, science and reading? Read the rest of this entry »

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In solidarity with UM8 – UM alumni, academics and concerned individuals

The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014

We, the undersigned individuals, call on University Malaya (UM) to drop the charges against student leader Fahmi Zainol and all other students pertaining to the forum entitled “Empat PuluhTahun Dari UM ke Penjara” which took place on campus on 27 October 2014.

We support the right of Persatuan Mahasiswa University Malaya(PMUM), as an elected bodyrepresenting UM students, to organise events on campus. Their choice of topic for the lecture is reflective of the currently debated issue within academia and society.

We laud the students’initiative in seeking knowledge and critical views in understanding this issue further. The choice of inviting a politician as a guest speaker is not extraordinary as the university regularly haspolitical leaders coming to speak on its campus.

We wish to also record our serious concern and raise objection to the series of actions taken byUM in the handling of this event. The university’s response raises serious concerns regarding the professionalism of its administrators and the institution’s commitment to academic integrity and intellectual freedom. Read the rest of this entry »

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Time to rally against ‘oppressive regime’, says convicted youth activist

The Malaysian Insider
6 November 2014

Youth activist Safwan Anang, who was sentenced to 10 months in jail for sedition in September,‎ said the recent outcry among student activists against the “oppressive regime” was no ordinary protest and could usher in a greater movement at the societal level.

“It is time for the students to unite all Malaysians from among the youths, workers, social activists, NGOs, party activists and ordinary citizens who are fighting against endless issues such as the rise in fuel price and living costs, the goods and services tax, the use of the Sedition Act and the oppression of people’s rights.

“The students should be the pioneers in mobilising a huge ‎movement to shake the regime from its comfortable position,” said Safwan in a statement.

The ‎Lensa Anak Muda (Lensa) executive director praised his juniors for initiating the student movement on October 27, when they invited Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim into the Universiti Malaya (UM) campus despite the university’s ban on the event. Read the rest of this entry »

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University of Malaya guilty of global educational scandal of first magnitude when it is completely indifferent to its omission in the 2,100 slots for 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects but totally paranoid about penalizing Fahmi and UM8 for student awakening and activism

The country’s premier university, University of Malaya, is guilty of global educational scandal of the first magnitude when it is completely indifferent to its omission in the 2,100 slots for 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects but totally paranoid about penalizing student leader Fahmi Zainol and the UM8 for student awakening and activism.

So far, the only person in authority who had deigned to pay notice to the new world university ranking series, the Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 released by the US News and World Report, is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself – as even the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, has kept silent on the new global university rankings in the past 10 days as he seems to be leading a national campaign to “dumb down” Malaysians on what they should expect of academic excellence and standards in Malaysian universities.

But the Prime Minister was badly advised, as he only congratulated the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for being placed in the 54th rank in the 100 Best Global Universities for agricultural science, but failed to congratulate the University Sains Malaysia (USM) for being ranked No. 87 in the 100 Best Global Universities for engineering.

Malaysians must be very concerned that in the 2,100 slots for 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects, Malaysia’s 21 public universities which have a total of over 200 schools for different disciplines, could only manage to be placed in the 100 Best Global University for two subjects – agricultural science for UPM and engineering for USM.

In failing to get ranked in any one of 100 Best Global Universities for 21 subjects, UM’s lowly listing of No. 423 in the 500 Best Global Universities Rankings 2015 is further diminished – as reflected by the Prime Minister’s congratulations to UPM for being ranked No 58 for the 100 Best Global Universities for agricultural science but not to the UM for the lowly 423rd position for overall university ranking among the 500 Best Global Universities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should also congratulate USM for being ranked No. 87 in the 100 Best Global Universities for Engineering and direct full inquiry why Malaysian universities could only get two out of 2,100 slots for the 21 subject areas for 100 Best Global Universities

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should also congratulate the University Sains Malaysia (USM) for being ranked No. 87 in the 100 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 for Engineering, as he seems to have overlooked USM’s listing when congratulating Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for being placed in the 54th rank for agricultural science.

While congratulations to UPM and USM are in order, for being ranked in the 100 Best Global Universities in the field of agricultural science for UPM and in engineering for USM, the Prime Minister should be very worried and concerned about the overall failure and inability of Malaysian universities to compete with universities not only in Asia but also at the global level.

The Prime Minister cannot make a worse mistake or be more wrongly advised if he regards the Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 released by the US News and World Report on Oct. 27 as a cause for celebration, when it is in fact a terrible indictment of the lowly standards of public university education and excellence in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin not proud that UM is ranked No. 423 in latest US News 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 although it is only Malaysian university ranked, because it confirms lowly international position of UM and Malaysian universities

The Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is not proud that University of Malaya is ranked No. 423 in the latest US News 500 Best Global Universities Ranking 2015 although it is the only Malaysian university ranked, because it confirms the lowly international academic position and repute not only of Malaysia’s premier university but also of other public universities in the country.

This is the reason for the “conspiracy of silence” in all the mainstream media in the past week since the publication of the new ranking for universities in the world last Tuesday, as if the new world universities ranking does not exist.

This is totally unlike countries which have received recognition for producing world-class universities as to be ranked in the Top 500 in the new ranking series by U.S. News & World Report, which published its first Global Universities Rankings online after producing the Best College in United States rankings for 30 years.

The new rankings of the top 500 global universities, based on their academic research performance and their global and regional reputations, come from 49 countries with 134 from United States, 42 from Germany, 38 from United Kingdom, with 90 from Asian countries, led by China with 27 universities, 17 from Japan, 11 from South Korea, 7 from Turkey, 5 each from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Israel, 4 from India, 3 from Iran, 2 from Singapore and one each from Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for return of student activism on national issues in universities and abandonment of all pending plans to penalise Fahmi and university students for Anwar programme in University of Malaya on Oct. 27

The nine charges slapped on University Malaya student leader Fahmi Zainol by the University of Malaya in connection with Anwar Ibrahim’s return to his alma mater university on Oct. 27 and the show-cause letters to eight other University of Malaya students as well as pending disciplinary actions against other university students from other pubic universities must deplored in the strongest possible terms.

They must be dropped completely as they reflect a Barisan Nasional government and university administrators who can only think of how to control and brainwash students, instead of cultivating and grooming a new generation of thinking and critical citizens, which is essential if Malaysia is to stand tall in the world in competition with other countries in this age of science and technology.

Malaysian education, whether primary, secondary or university, are facing a prolonged crisis, which is translated into lesser competitiveness for Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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The war to restore student autonomy in UM

By Chow Yu Hui
Malaysiakini
Oct 29, 2014

ADUN SPEAKS The night before PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s final appeal against his sodomy charge, the nation was moved by the brave act of the Universiti Malaysia Students Union (PMUM) who invited Anwar to return to his alma mater to give his final speech.

The venue for his speech was UM’s most historical structure, the Dewan Tunku Canselor (DTC). It is a symbolic structure which witnesses the start and end of a UM student’s academic life.

The student movement which once threatened political power of Umno and BN was first gagged by the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) in 1971.

After various amendments to the Act, Umno/BN succeeded in controlling all universities through oppressing the student leaders, academic staffs and the core value of a university, which is the academic freedom.

And after all these years, we were left asking: ‘Will the UM administration allow a programe involving the Opposition Leader?’ Read the rest of this entry »

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UM should withdraw its police report, admit it has made a colossal blunder in the campus lockdown and power black-out and enlist student/alumni/academician support to restore academic freedom to regain international repute for academic excellence

The University of Malaya should withdraw its police report allegedly over “trespass” on its grounds when students and supporters defied a lockdown and blackout of the university campus on Monday night to attend Anwar Ibrahim’s talk on “40 years: From UM to prison” at Dataran Dewan Tunku Canselor.

The University of Malaya administration should take an enlightened attitude to what happened on Monday, admit it had made a colossal blunder in the lockdown and power black-out of University of Malaya and enlist the support of university students, alumni, academicians and the Malaysian public to restore academic freedom to regain the university’s international repute for academic excellence in its early decades.

Of course, the university administration can go on a witch-hunt and vengeful campaign to penalise students and even academicians for what happened on Monday night, but this would be an even greater disservice to its national and international reputation and would do nothing to restore its repute as the country’s premier university. Read the rest of this entry »

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Anwar brought out the worst in UM

– Thulsi Manogaran
The Malaysian Insider
28 October 2014

It has been long written by William O. Douglas that the most important aspect of freedom of speech is the freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue comprising of questions and answers that pursue every problem on the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom.

I am not a big fan of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but I stand for academic freedom and freedom of speech. Anything that curtails the intellectual growth of my fellow Malaysians is a barrier to the nation’s growth.

I stand against suppression and indoctrination especially in the field of education. By now, we all know the reaction from Universiti Malaya’s administration on the close down of the entire university. UM staff were sent home early and classes cancelled. All entrances were locked.

However, what happened thereafter in UM is proof that no amount of suppression can work to curtail progress and change. Malaysia’s social landscape is changing and it is time those in power remember and accept the fact that you are in control because we, the rakyat, gave you control. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lock-down/shut-down of University of Malaya to prevent Anwar from speaking to students is latest example of “first world infrastructure, third world mentality” afflicting our universities which will condemn the nation to a future of mediocrity

Imaging the lock-down of the University of Oxford and the shut-down of all electricity supplies to plunge one of the leading universities in the world into darkness just to deny the British Opposition Leader, Edward Miliband from returning to his alma mater campus to address the undergraduates?

Or imaging the lock-down of Monash University and the shut down of all electricity supplies to prevent the Australian Opposition Leader William Shorten from addressing students in his alma mater university, which had advertised itself online thus: “Monash is ranked in the top one per cent of world universities – 91st in the world – according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/14”. (Monash this month improved its franking in the THE World University Rankings in 2014/15 to No. 83).

Banish both thoughts, for it would be completely unthinkable that such silly notions would be entertained by any self-respecting university administrator or even political leader in United Kingdom – just as it would be completely unthinkable that world-class American universities like Harvard, Stanford, California Institute of Technology or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) would be locked down or their electricity supplies completely shut down to prevent Opposition politicians from returning to their alma mater universities to speak to the university students.

Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s indictment of Malaysia a decade ago as “a nation of first-class infrastructure but third-world mentality” is even more telling and relevant today in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Malaysia in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why is Universiti Malaya afraid of Anwar Ibrahim?

— P Ramakrishnan
Aliran
October 27, 2014

OCTOBER 27 — We can understand why Barisan Nasional, particularly Umno, is so terrified of Anwar Ibrahim. If anyone can send the BN packing off from Putrajaya, it has to be Anwar.

He is the only one who can hold Pakatan Rakyat together and mount an effective challenge to unseat BN from Putrajaya. He is the only one who can galvanise the Malays and non-Malays to come together to bring about a change in government.

Anwar is undoubtedly a political threat to the BN’s power and position. So they fear him — with justification!

Why is Universiti Malaya afraid of Anwar? Is he any threat to UM? What kind of threat does he pose to UM? Why are they imposing a ban on his speaking engagement at the invitation of the UM Students’ Council? Read the rest of this entry »

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Students come together in defiance of UM

by Muzliza Mustafa and Lee Shi-Ian
28 October 2014

The students who forced themselves into the University Malaya campus tonight to listen to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speak said the situation would not have come to this if only the university’s administration had not banned the event.

Many felt that the failure by UM in acknowledging academic freedom and the rights of students was what pulled the crowd together.

Wei Yan, 21, a student from UM said what happened last night was historical as students stood united in support of each other.

“This is big. It is not about politics. I just believe that he (Anwar) as an individual should be allowed to address the students in campus, like other leaders. He has given speeches before, but it was outside. This is good because the students could listen and digest what he said,” said Wei Yan.

The event, ‘Pidato Anwar Ibrahim: 40 Tahun Dari UM ke Penjara’, had been declared illegal by UM vice-chancellor of student affairs Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof.

But the crowd, which numbered about 2,000, forced their way through the main gates before Anwar arrived and spoke for about 20 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

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What is the rankings’ message for varsities?

By Dr I Lourdesamy
Malaysiakini
Oct 15, 2014

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014-2015 has caused some concern in Malaysia, and rightly so. There is not a single Malaysian university in the top 400 positions. What is more discomforting is the decision of Universiti Malaya (UM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to opt out from participating in the THE ranking exercise. They argue that the THE ranking is less relevant to their direction and focus.

They are featured in the QS World University Rankings, which seems to present a more favourable picture of their performance. Their decision to accept the QS ratings and reject the THE ratings has only compounded the problem, for it seems to reflect a lack of academic honesty. At one time UM was on the THE list but as its rankings began to fall, UM decided not to participate in the survey.

Several criticisms have been levelled at Malaysian universities for their poor showing in international rankings of educational institutions. Malaysian universities are constantly compared with Singapore where the National University of Singapore (NUS) secured a world ranking of 25 in the THE list for 2014-2015 and Nanyang Technological University was placed 61.

Several universities in East Asia have also shown high rankings, with the University of Tokyo leading the pack at position 23.

What is the message for Malaysian universities, especially for UM which started off at the same time as NUS? Read the rest of this entry »

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Chasing a generation of globally mobile students

By Helen Warrell
Financial Times
October 7, 2014

More than 150 years ago, the Catholic cardinal John Henry Newman set out his vision for a university as “a place of concourse, whither students come from every quarter for every kind of knowledge”. As students have become more mobile, and higher education institutions more international, Cardinal Newman might be surprised at the truly diverse concourse of the modern education market.

Driving the globalisation of universities are children from the middle classes in emerging economies who aspire to highly skilled jobs. In Asia especially, the development of universities has not kept pace with rising levels of affluence, creating a shortfall of places. As a result, western economies are vying to attract a growing pool of youngsters looking to study abroad. And in fast-growing nations such as India and Brazil, the race to build more universities is on.

Much of this change is necessitated by sheer demographics. More than half of India’s population is under 25 years old; by 2020 it will be ahead of China as the country with the largest population at tertiary-education age. The flow of Chinese students overseas is expected to grow as much as 15 per cent a year until 2018. Already, 2.5m students globally are studying outside their home country, creating a sector worth $30bn a year for the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, according to the Parthenon Group education consultancy. Read the rest of this entry »

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No joke, UM ranked among world-top 300 Universities in Times Higher Education ranking, but this UM is not University of Malaya but a university most Malaysians do not know

I could not believe my eyes when I received an email yesterday proclaiming “UM ranked among world-top 300 universities in Times Higher Education World University Rankings” as every informed Malaysian should know by now after a week-long controversy that University of Malaya had suffered the ignominy of being excluded from annual Times Higher Education (THE) Top 400 University Rankings for the fifth consecutive year since the launch of the series in 2010.

When I opened the email, I found that it was indeed true that “UM ranked among world-top 300 universities in THE rankings” but this UM is not the University of Malaya but an university most Malaysians had never heard of before.
This UM is the University of Macau.

The email contained a press release issued by the University of Macau (UM) on 2nd October 2014 that it had been ranked among the world’s top 300 universities, between 276 and 300, by THE World University Rankings 2014-15, and that “this is the first time UM made the list, and, it should be considered an outstanding and momentum building result because merely a few years ago the university were not in the top 400”.
The “UM” announcement, which was forwarded to me yesterday, went on to say:

“In recent years, UM has made a great effort to improve teaching and research, following international standards and making significant social and global outreach.

“In particular, it carried out a comprehensive reform of its undergraduate curriculum, established the Honours College, incorporated international perspective into its curricula, implemdenting an unique ‘4-in-1’ model of education (which consists of discipline-specific education, general education, research and internship education, as well as peer and community education) and established Asia’s largest and in-depth system of residential colleges.”

The UM statement went on to say that while UM welcomes the good results of THE ranking, “it would nevertheless like to stress that the university is not working for a place in the ranking” but “takes to heart the principal reason of education, namely it works to provide the best education for Macao kids to be outstanding global citizens of the 21st century”.

The University of Macau was founded in 1981 as a private university and only became a public university with Macau’s handover to China in 1999. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Najib mention in his 2015 Budget speech on Friday the exclusion of Malaysian universities from the THE Top 400 University Ranking for fifth successive year?

Will the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak mention in his 2015 Budget speech on Friday the exclusion of Malaysian universities from the Times Higher Education (THE) Top 400 University Ranking 2014 for the fifth successive year?

Or has he forgotten and regretted his challenge to the University of Malaya nine years ago to be among the world’s Top 50 universities by year 2020, which is only five years away?

Three weeks ago, Najib twittered congratulations to the five Malaysian universities which were ranked higher in the Top 400 of the QS World University Ranking 2014, namely University of Malaya (UM) ranked 167 last year to 151; University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) from 269 to 259; University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) from 355 to 294; Universiti Sains Malaysia from 355 to 309; Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) from 411-420 to 376.

But there has been a deafening silence from Najib as well as from the DPM-cum- Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in the past week over the exclusion of Malaysian universities in Top 400 in another global university ranking – THE University Ranking 2014-2015. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hold a referendum to let the 50,000 undergraduates and post-graduate students of UM and UKM decide whether to join or boycott the THE university rankings

The Universiti Malaya Students Association (PMUM) has come out in support of Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia opting out of the annual Times Higher Education Top 400 World University Rankings.

PMUM president Fahmi Zainol said the two universities deserve praise for their move, pointing out that the institutions have been plagued with problems for being too focussed on rankings.

I can understand the view that quality education is not dependent only on university rankings and that universities should not be too obsessed with them. In fact, it has been asked: “University rankings: reliable or rubbish?”

The Norwegian government has even commissioned a study of the placement of Norwegian universities in global rankings and concluded that university rankings are “useless” as a basis for information if the goal is to improve higher education as they are so based on subjective weightings of factors and on dubious data. This Norwegian report was described as “A Kiss of Death for university rankings” by a Norwegian academician.

There are undoubtedly pros and cons on university rankings.

Have Fahmi thought through the whole subject of university rankings and are his views his personal ones, or the official view of the PMUM Executive Committee, as well as representing that of the UKM Students Council?

Are they the views of the 50,000 undergraduates and post-graduate students in the two universities?

If Fahmi is opposed to UM and UKM taking part in the annual THE World University Rankings, why does he support the two universities taking part in the annual QS World University Rankings and UM’s decision to take part in the THE World University Ranking in 2018 when UM is more ready to compete with other established universities around the world?

It would be a good for hold a referendum to let the 50,000 under-graduates and post-graduate students of UM and UKM decide whether the two university should join or continue to boycott the THE university rankings, and let the proponents of both the pros and cons of the argument to state their case, not only to the university student-and-lecturer population but to the nation at large.

This referendum proposition is a subject which PMUM and the UKM Students Council should seriously consider to take up with the university authorities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin should initiate a review to end the policy of boycott of UM and UKM in the annual THE World University Rankings to demonstrate our seriousness in wanting to restore the international reputation and academic excellence of Malaysian universities

For the third day in succession, the Barisan Nasional owned/controlled mainstream mass media has maintained a blanket of silence on the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2014 in tandem with the Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Barisan Nasional leaders also going dumb on the latest world’s Top Universities Ranking because of the shame and disgrace of not a single Malaysian university able to crack a placing among the Top 400 Universities listing for the fifth consecutive year.

This is a most strange and abnormal international behaviour, for in the past three days in countries which realize the critical importance of education in determining the future of their economies, the THE World University Rankings 2014 released on Thursday had dominated the public domain and debates, with their mass media and public opinion leaders either celebrating the success of their universities or lamenting their setbacks in the latest THE Top 400 University rankings.

For instance, while the US and UK media reported on the continued dominance of their universities in the Top 400 Universities Ranking, they also warned that “Western leading universities risk declining, Asian institutes keep rising in new rankings”.

Similarly while Australian media take pride in not only having world-class universities but a world-class university system, they worry whether such world standards could be maintained with the full deregulation of tuition fees underway in its radical reform programme, as reflected in headlines like “Australian universities rise in world rankings but report questions proposed tertiary education reforms”. Read the rest of this entry »

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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