Malaysia out of THES Top 200 Universities for second consecutive year – another fall of domino

In his press statement to announce his decision to step down as Prime Minister next March, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi spoke of the initiatives to “regain our country’s competitiveness” which are “necessary to enable our nation and our society to face the challenges that the world has in store for us”.

But in actual fact, under his five-year premiership, one domino after another of our national and international competitiveness has been collapsing one after another.

Two weeks ago, one such falling domino was Malaysia’s ranking on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2008 which plunged to No. 47 placing, a fall of ten places from No. 37 in 2007.

Another domino has collapsed today when it is revealed that for the second consecutive year, Malaysia has fallen completely out of THES-QS 2008 World Top 200 Universities – further testimony of the country’s deteriorating competitiveness.

Two years ago, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Malaya (UM) were listed at the tail-end of the Top 200 in the THES-QS 2006 ranking, and I had repeatedly warned both in and out of Parliament that Malaysia risked being pushed out of the 200 Top Universities ranking unless there was the political will to check brain-drain and restore meritocracy and excellence to Malaysian academia.

It gives me no satisfaction but extreme sadness to see my dire prediction come true – in two consecutive years in succession.

UKM was ranked 185th in 2006, the only time it appeared in the THES-QS chart.

UM, once the nation’s premier university, has a sorry tale of continuous decline. It was ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in 2004 at 89th position, fell to 169th in 2005 and 192nd placing in 2006.

Have Malaysian universities fallen into the “black hole” of international university competitiveness stakes, unable to prove their academic quality, excellence and worth in the international arena?

At the University of Malaya’s centennial celebrations in June 2005, Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak threw the challenge to University of Malaya to raise its then 89th position among the world’s top 100 universities in THES ranking to 50 by the year 2020.

Instead of accepting Najib’s challenge with incremental improvement of its THES ranking, the premier university went into a free fall for two years followed by completely disappearing from the Top 200 Universities ranking in the past two years.

Clearly, Najib and government leaders did not realize or know that the rot in academic excellence and quality of the nation’s premier university had become so deep and septic that far from being able to become the World’s Top 50 Universities, it was to plunge completely out of the Top 200 Universities chart in the past two years.

After he became Prime Minister, Abdullah called for a “education revolution” to achieve world-class universities in Malaysia.

This is another dismal failure of the Abdullah premiership as totally lacking was the political will to carry out such an “education revolution” to liberate our universities from the culture of mediocrity and free lecturers and students from the fetters strangling academic freedom and student idealism.

Malaysians are not asking our public universities to scale new heights never achieved before – but to restore the academic eminence, standards, excellence and quality which University of Malaya had enjoyed in the sixties and even the seventies.

If Australia can have seven universities among the top 100 Universities, Japan four, Hong Kong three, Singapore two, China two and South Korea two, why can’t Malaysia have at least one or two among the Top 100?

National University of Singapore is ranked No. 30, while Nanyang Technological University of Singapore No. 77. What must be more mortifying is Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University is ranked No. 166.
When will Malaysia’s leaders wake up from the slumber and realise that Malaysia has been losing out in the competitiveness stakes and risk being relegated to the “stragglers” instead of the “achievers” in the global society?

If Abdullah’s call for an education revolution is not to end up as another empty slogan, the government must confront and resolve the continuing crisis of higher education standards by elevating meritocracy as the primary criteria for all public universities – from appointment and promotion of academicians to university student intake.

There should be an immediate end to the divisive and fraudulent system of meritocracy for student intake by introducing only one common university entrance examination, whether it be STPM or matriculation.

Furthermore, Malaysian universities should give top priority to academic excellence which should not be compromised by non-academic considerations.

It is most ridiculous for instance that University of Malaya, unranked, refuses to recognize the degrees of Beijing University, ranked No. 50 Tsing Hua University ranked No. 56 in THES 2008 Ranking of the world’s Top 200 universities.

  1. #1 by yyh on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 4:47 pm

    Rot started under Mahatir’s hands and Abduallh just did nothing about it except to pay lip service.
    another 10 years under this UMNO-led Government, this country will be left so far behind that we cant even smell our neighbours’ fart.

  2. #2 by BioLovepulse on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 4:48 pm

    Our local private Us are not participating in the ranking!! How can that tell about our standard of education?

  3. #3 by Thinking Two on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 4:56 pm

    And yet still insist on non-exam based assessment for the school.
    Every student is at the mercy of the teacher concerned who gives them mark and to make up the overall score.

    This also open up to red tape. Parents would pay something to the teacher concerned in order to obtain higher mark.

    In malaysia, everything is make up! For show only. No Quality.

  4. #4 by Johorean on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:00 pm

    Malaysia’s education has become such a big joke that it isn’t funny anymore. Starting a ministry of higher education does nothing at all and frankly speaking I do not know what this ministry is doing. Our ministry of education is itself a big failure; when other countries are moving ahead with better educational policies, our MOE is still using our children as guinea pigs. I have absolutely no confidence in our educational system should politics be a part of it. Our future looks grim if this continues.

  5. #5 by waterfrontcoolie on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:01 pm

    YB., I don’t think they ever bother to give ant thought to this outcome. As you have rightly pointed out, we refuse to recognise those universities which are ranked higher than our premier UNIs. I don’t think those UNIs are bothered whether we recognise them or not! Our actions and behaviours are those of losers, just like the ostrich with the head in the sand.
    the other day, I picked up a second hand book which I thought is about someone’s experience of doing business in China. No! it was a book about how Microsoft built its research centre in China. Based on that write-up, it certainly proved the point that we are only good to organise ant opening ceremony!! Compare the Centre’s achievements with our MSC and its sprouted companies, we are certainly finisto!! Even when Microsoft changed the name of its centre from MRC to Microsoft Research Asia, only NUS was invited to participate from the ASEAN region. I thought our IT was good enough [ even though we depended on MNCs ] to put us into this field, obviously, ours could be just at screw driver level!!
    Continue to have any TOM & Harry with PhDs from Zimbabwe to head our UNIs, then we have to advertise for applicants WITHOUT any degree to apply for any job in the near future!

  6. #6 by hongsichuan on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:03 pm

    This is my view on the state of affair in the Malaysian tertiary education sector. The problem with the government universities in Malaysia is that they are too politicised. Academicians are rewarded based on political agenda. On the other hand, most private universities in the country are too commercialised placing profits above academic excellence, hence giving impression that they do not have the worth to be academic institutions. Pay a visit to the website of some private universities and you could not find any webpage that tell you about their academicians. Academicians are the most important “assets” of a university!

  7. #7 by vp on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:06 pm

    Reform by Abdullah? complete his job in 5 months? education revolution so that um or etc can back to 200 list?
    FORGET IT! After these few years, we should understand Abdullah, he talk only, no action. What has he done to fulfill his promise? really can’t remember. Furthermore, he is only tiger “without teeth” today, how can we expect him to do something beneficiate to the rakyat!!!!!

  8. #8 by Tonberry on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:24 pm

    The Sleepy Head is a failure from the beginning to the end. Period

  9. #9 by gofortruth on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:35 pm

    We have a sleeping PM but where is our EDUCATION MINISTER???

  10. #10 by AhPek on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:38 pm

    ‘Academicians are the most important “assets” of a university!’.hongsichuan.

    Yes of course for they are the people who can inspire their students to excellence thro the example of their own scholarships.You will never find people like Alexander Oppenheim,John Thumbo Danaraj,Chin Fung Kee,Rayson Huang,Wang Gungwu,Thong Saw Pak or Ho Peng Yoke walking thro the once great hall of UM anymore unless UMNO is thrown out by the people.Many of the scholars like those above left was because university’s autonomy has been taken away by none other than the mamak making the running of the university under the purview of the education ministry.

  11. #11 by baoqingtian on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 5:44 pm

    The policy-maker themselves are the products of NEP. So, how do you expect them to understand the meaning of meritocracy.

  12. #12 by taiking on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 6:05 pm

    They obviously must have thought that by burying meritocracy in the ground, meritocracy bearing plants will one day grow out of the ground. The final outcome was a complete net loss. Any idiot can see it. Nothing grew and something got buried and died instead.

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 6:37 pm

    Artificial meritocracy is partly to blame for the decline in standards of local universities.

  14. #14 by k1980 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 6:51 pm

    The THES Top 200 Universities should set a new criteria in their selection, that of the competence in the English Language of a particular university’s students and lecturers, and malaysia will fall off into the last 200

  15. #15 by c730427 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 6:52 pm

    actually we should celebrate because it reflects the true situation! however, the administration under BN has taken our next generation into the drain! therefore, we must vote correct the time time around.

  16. #16 by raven77 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 6:54 pm

    Ahmmm….so Rafiah baby…..looks like your UN exposure did you no good at the UM………to raise standards….you first need to get rid of the TNC who laps up and carries your handbag for you…….Malaysian universities can change….only if you put a top class CEO from outside the university to ruthlessly run it……….it’s time to act…….but with the NEP around…we need to hit rock rock bottom first before anyone will act…….

  17. #17 by lew1328 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 6:56 pm

    It just like RPK case (“cut & paste article”): We have copy cats & dogs everywhere here in Malaysia. When asks where they’ve learned that, nothing more from the well renovated building with government funds. If one of them falls, the others will follow. Ha… ha… that’s Malaysia institutional artificial meritocracy, well said.

  18. #18 by Jan on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 7:06 pm

    I think the root cause is about race. Race is the priority over meritocracy.
    They rather have a mediocre Head of Department of one particular race than to have a brilliant acaedemic of another race. Then there’s this annual hoo-ha about students with a string of As not getting places or not getting the course of their choice. Of course those who complain seems to be from the minority races, how coincidental.
    Everything in this country is about race, the right color that is.

  19. #19 by abunsui on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 7:28 pm

    Our VC busy with politics. Look at Ibrahim Abu Shah. Talk politics. He should keep the University in Order first. He has no right to speak on behalf of the Malays and Bumiputras pertaining to the UiTM.

    If Pakatan take control of the Federal and want to open UiTM to other races, let it be. That is their policy. You have to submit to the government in charge on that time. If VC wants to protest, resign and Joint any political party. Speak what ever you want then. But NOW, you are government servant – NOT a politician.

    ALL VCs in Malaysia – Don’t involve in politics PLEASE. Your assignment among others is PUT our Universities in TOP 100. NOT 200. If possible top 10.

  20. #20 by CJ 27 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 7:43 pm

    How can our universities achieve international standard if our minister in charge is a racist. I mean this idiot Kerispudin la. I pity of my sons and our next generation. How are they going to face in this challenging world in their future!!!

    So PR take over now before it’s too late. We have no time to waste anymore. Enough is enough.

    Uncle Lim, pls take over the education ministry once PR runs the country. We need you.

  21. #21 by StevePCH on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 7:59 pm

    AIDS and quotas … that what helped the downfall of universities in Malaysia. Bravo !!! it’s very much expected that the rot will continue.

    When will Malaysia produce a Nobel Science and Arts laureate ? Never ! at this juncture. When you look at the type of research conducted, it’s more of like trying to emulate rather than discover. What is the glory of copying ?

    Qualities are compromised and the current ranking or rather out of rank is not unexpected.

    What has Krismudin and Mohamed Khalid got to say about this ? It is their responsibility to improve the eduction system and quality in Malaysia.

  22. #22 by nkeng11 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 7:59 pm

    My son told me this…!

    No need to sharpen pencil becos the keris the minister of education holds is sharper!

    No need to learn English because most of the minister cannot speak and can become sucessful and rich. Look at Muhamed muhamed who carries so much money and cannot speak England.

    No need to attend classes… becos our MPs also don’t attend parliment and the country also function mah…

    No need to go to university onelah… later can buy instant degrees, mbas and even phds. … don’ t believe…go and ask Wong Chee Meng and Kee Keon Chuan.

    No need to have chairs and tables in school onelah… most parents sent their children for tuition after school. Tuition centres doing very well. Look at 3A tuition centre in Cheras….

    No need, no need, no need.

  23. #23 by James on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 8:43 pm

    This most dismal affair has been initiated and has gone on irrevocably right after Tunku’s tenure as PM. The successive PM’s have merrily helped the deteriorating trend under the pretext of NEP. The previous PM is the main culprit in sealing the fate of the education debacle. All have left their “legacies” resulting in the ignominious educational image!!!

  24. #24 by sikui on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 8:46 pm

    Malaysian U policy….blind leading the blind…flip flop teaches the flip flop theory….idiot prof lectures idiotic principle. No wonder our Minister of Eduction and Ministers send their children to oversea study. When come back the children can speak Englisssssshhhhh.

  25. #25 by rahmanwang on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 8:48 pm

    What do you expect when they put UMNO cronies to run all government universities?
    There will only be changes when saudara Anwar run this country under Pakatan Rakyat.Everyone is accountable.
    Under BN, if you support me, posts will be given.
    Now all Malaysian Universities cannot even compare with the Singaporean Uni.We are far behind.What a pity.

  26. #26 by toyolbuster on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 8:51 pm


  27. #27 by lopez on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 8:51 pm

    what is sickening when one or two out of the all who got places in english speaking uni overseas wrote back to defend they are doing very well despite their weakness in the english language.

    and the papers put them out for all to read, cynically these editors must be equally stupid or are promised promotions.
    and those morons who think entering into such university means they are aleady the elite and can speak on behalf of all…another testimony of how narrow their education has taught them…well just complete the course first.
    Just for the sake of comparison …stupid against another stupid
    my bangla deshi worker proclaimed the KLCC tower is erected by them…how this..hard to swallow …
    my negro friend says he is now a doctorate after getting his degree from upm, he took his doctorate in estonia.
    Great aint it , lets get into the paper chase.

  28. #28 by Jimm on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 9:15 pm

    The best is yet to come…
    The 6th pm from umno will bring us further lower and possible out of the ranking qualification …….
    umno ..the world of difference..

  29. #29 by Godfather on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 9:28 pm

    Yes, Najis isn’t going to bring us out of the doldrums. He will continue with the racist policies of having only one eligible race as VCs. These VCs either play politics (as in UiTM) or dabble in business (as in the commercial development of UM).

  30. #30 by FY Lim on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 10:08 pm

    Our higher education system goes for quantity rather than quality and that is the end result.

    Our universities are generating Phd’s students by the thousands and what do you expect of the quality ? We can show on paper that Malaysia has tens of thousands Phd’s but of no use since they could not undertake basic research. Some Phd’s students cannot even speak a coherent sentence in English what more writing a thesis.

    Our system where VC’s and Deans are appointed based more on political inclinations rather than abilty definitely will cause the rot.

    Some university professors who provide ” con – sultancy ” work to govt. depts are more interested in how much they will rake in and using out-dated data rather than providing original material.

    Well, the Education Minister as well as the Higher Education Minister are not committed to producing top class universities and what more do we expect from the VC;s and Deans ?

  31. #31 by t1000 on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 10:18 pm

    In Singapore, new lecturers are on contract basis, 2-3 years. Important Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are research findings, papers etc.. international journal papers most prized. If you dont perform, out you go, everything is based on KPI.
    But they are paid well. Lecturers will then be too stressed out on these to keep their job than play politics… but these are what academics supposed to be; research, educate, research. Politics gets you nowhere. And these are what that boost their rankings.

  32. #32 by aje on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 10:45 pm

    Actually to raise our universities rankings just recruit more non-malays into our teaching profession.My daughter applied for teaching after her SPM and she was rejected in the first round.So much for the statements made by the Deputy Education Minister in Seremban.To raise productivities and standards in our schools and universities just rope in more non-malays and I can assure u that in no time our universities will be listed in the top 200 again.But do our leaders have the political will to implement those steps?

  33. #33 by aje on Thursday, 9 October 2008 - 11:02 pm

    Being a Johorean I am not the least surprised that Singapore’s NUS and NTU secured 30th and 77th positions respectively in the THES top 200 universities.English remain the medium of instruction in their schools.But over in Malaysia English is ignored even in schools.At the end of the year the MOE might even scrap altogether teaching Maths and Science in English.Then our ranking will fall even lower.

  34. #34 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 12:33 am

    1. uitm will never reach top university never mind their position
    2. kemaluan bolehland di bawah pimpinan (malu nak sebut) terserlah lagi
    3. kalau diikutkan negara negara yang berakhir dengan land umpamanya england, scotland, ireland, poland, switzerland, dan lain lain malahan thailand malahan faroe island, pasukan bolasepak mereka senang senang menyerlahkan kemaluan bolehland
    4. peduli apa ranking universiti kita, kita korek duit diaorang kita bagi lah orang orang kita ke oxford ke mana mana lah selain bolehland
    5. patut pun merudum sekolah sekolah dijadikan makmal babi guinea
    sigh sigh sigh mana lah nak sorok kemaluanku…

  35. #35 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 12:53 am

    ya pun,orang politik zaman sekarang sibuk yang nak bergelar ‘DR’.sedap bila dipanggil dog. yang lawan dengan anwar tapi kalah teruk tempoh hari, dengar cerita sibuk sambung belajar ntah di mana. di mana hah ? tak pernah dengar pun…kalau tak malu sambung lah ke usm apa salahnya. kalau tak pun mintak lah dengan dolla nak sambung ke oxford. kalau oxford tak bagi masuk kata la kat depa negara aku tak amalkan meritocracy aku memang layak sebab nama aku DOLLA BIN SEMAN. kalau tak bagi masuk lagi siap kau sebab kat negara aku aku akan mintak tukar si yang tak bagi aku masuk…

  36. #36 by takazawa on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 12:54 am

    Kulitfication and Kulitocracy are the order of the day in Bodohland. Yeah, colour and creed rulezzz…!

  37. #37 by bclee on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 1:09 am

    When our education system no base on meritocracy,so don’t look for any advancement in our overall learning system. our universities entry still base on race. so how u what other peoples to look at us? in this cyber age our government still don’t see the whole world as our playing ground, but only Malaysia, how can we compete with outside world?
    I just can’t imagine how many good students has been ignored for enter university each years.even they have good academy result.
    how can a country like Malaysia can improve without proper educaton system?
    we will be lacking far behind if we don’t change now.
    we need a total tranform of education system.a different mind set of new government. to strive for excellent for our beloved country MALAYSIA

  38. #38 by UzMiNoOnist on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 1:25 am

    Why bother to comments here if the gomen is not going to do anything but keep on saying that we have the best universities.

    According to BN politicians “We will do it the Malaysian Way” the Pariah Way.

    Where is Zak, your comments please?

  39. #39 by Jan on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 1:31 am

    ….compete with outside world? Najib said at one time the Malays only want to compete among themselves, not with the Chinese or Indians much less the world. And Najib is going to be our PM. I don’t have much hope for Malaysia with this man up there.

  40. #40 by daryl on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 2:01 am

    To be top in the world you need top educatore. However, due to political involvement in our beloved education system it is more like a commodity that can be offer to those that are good to the old BN or UMNO. So, until that is taken out we will have dumb professors and administrator in our universities.

  41. #41 by ReformMalaysia on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 2:03 am

    This shows the fruit of discriminatory NEP policies.

    Perhaps UM, UITM & UKM ‘would what to protest and want a quota allocated to them to be in THES Top 200 universities list’…’

  42. #42 by ReformMalaysia on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 2:10 am


    should be :
    Perhaps UM, UITM & UKM ‘would protest and want a quota allocated to them to be in THES Top 200 universities list’…’

  43. #43 by menarambo on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 5:08 am

    Didn’t we have an education minister and also a minister for higher education? I guess both are sleepy head…. taking gaji buta as the rest of the cabinet members. Who is the current minister for higher education anyway?

  44. #44 by Jeffrey on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 6:02 am

    THES ranking will onfluence how outsiders view the merits of our tertiary standards but no matter, the shame if any may be mitigated by questioning and pouring cold water on the methodology and criteria of THES ranking.

    For it is an issue of competing political priorities : what matters is that our local universities have the highest standard in engineering – of the socio-economic kind, and that’s what ultimately counts underpinned by the priority that its better to be a big fish in a small pond here than a small fish in the wider and bigger international waters.

  45. #45 by trublumsian on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 6:29 am

    sad but true – 2 distinct groups of malaysian graduates in the u.s. meet 2 different outcomes when applying for jobs under the f1 practical training allowance with u.s. companies – malays just don’t get hired. not even calls for interviews! sending these bumi kids on government money does nothing more than icing an ill-baked cake. their foundation is weak, their english suck even after graduation. this is what you get if your qualifications from primary schools, on to secondary and university are all artificially enhanced.

    malaysia’s competitive index could have been much much worse had it not been prodded up by the non-malays.

  46. #46 by trublumsian on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 6:43 am

    here’s an idea – will a forward thinking pakatan state, any of the 5 states, please stand up?! start a state 4 yr college with state seed funds, and a simple formula – hire internationally qualified instructors and admit solely based on merits. collect some tuition, then sign up partnerships with large employers with promises of good quality future grads working for them on a 1-3 year bond structure. teach everything in english, base entrance on the spm, teach everything in english, n use the american or aussie system. do well, n u’ll be on ur path to self-sufficiency.

  47. #47 by wtf2 on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 7:18 am

    just another victim of the supremacy thingie

  48. #48 by ctc537 on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 8:04 am

    Our government wants our country to become the education centre. Will foreigners continue sending their children in the thousands here to study now that we are out of the THES rankings of 200 universities?
    First PM Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman said to this effect ‘One who hasn’t learned English is like one who hasn’t received education’. Can’t read English well means that one has no access to extra knowledge which is found in the more than 80 per cent library books written in English in libraries. That’s why you can’t blame employers for preferring workers with a sound knowledge of written and spoken English.
    From hindsight we can clearly see that the downgrading of English language since the 1980s has destroyed the bright future of many people and stifled the growth of the country as a whole.
    And the sad truth is that our leaders are arrogant and never want to learn.

  49. #49 by StevePCH on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 8:18 am

    AIDS …. AIDS …. AIDS

    Instead of acknowledging the downfall, the poor minister and vcs hails their so called ” achievements” in degrading the status of THES ranking.

    PATHETIC is the only word.

    How do you expect improvement in the ranking when we have such people heading our Higher education institutions ?

    Please go to Singapore and learn from their counterparts or else when coming another 15 years, UM and UKM would be in the ranking of “thousands” range.

  50. #50 by Swordsman on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 8:55 am

    The deteriorating ranking of our universities provides only a macro and superficial view of the state of affairs in our educational system. Setting a simplistic goal of improving our ranking within a certain set time frame is unrealistic and unachievable, as we have not addressed the underlying problems plaguing our educational system.
    A rotten educational system takes at least one generation of “correction actions” before we could realize tangible results. Our universities not only failed to provide the “appropriate education” in terms of academic achievements and excellence, they infact stifled
    personal drive and motivation to excel.
    I once asked my former professor, who was still lecturing in the engineering faculty at the University of Malaya at that time, how does the present students compared to those during my time?
    His frank reply was “I don’t mean to sound racist, let me leave out the Bumi students in the comparison because during your time there was’nt a single Bumi student in your batch and there was only one Bumi student who was one year junior to you.”
    “I would say in general students of your time were far better than students today. I could see the competitive spirit and the will to excel very clearly during your time. Nowadays, the “smarter” students tend to be more lazy and relaxed as they know they would still finish at the top of the class without really having to study hard or struggle to compete with their peers. They know at the very least they are on top of the 60% Bumi students. Just a little more effort would put them infront of those intellectually less endowed non Bumi peers.”
    ” In any institution of higher learning, the competitive spirit, the inquisitive mind, keeping abreast in one’s own field of specialization and staying at the frontier of knowledge, networking with other universities with similar research and development programs, the academic quality of the students, quality of the teaching staff, and publication of research articles in top rate international journals etc are the necessary “vitamins” to keep our universities healthy and competitive.”
    Before we attempt to set the simplistic goal of improving our ranking, let us first measure the “level of deficiency” in each of the above “vitamins”. To rebuild the health of our universities, we must first have a “pharmacy” ( a Govt with strong principles in governance), a qualified “pharmacist” ( the Minister of Education)
    and a “nutritionist” (the Vice Chancellors/Leadership of the universities) who will administer the dosage of the “vitamins”. Whether the universities would respond to the intake of “vitamins” would depend on the “academic health” of the student population.
    Improving the “academic health” of the students so that they would respond to the efficacy of the “vitamins” will take a long time, probably a generation if we were to take the first step today.
    Is Najib capable of setting up a “pharmacy” as a first step in this overall scheme to improve our educationl system?

  51. #51 by veddy.lum74 on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 8:59 am

    so,what is the point of getting into local Us so desperately for our children?

    if our domestic graduates were to work in MNCs,i think probably their fixed-salary is equivalent to rm1 to one thousand!

  52. #52 by Swordsman on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 9:04 am

    Oops… “correction action” should read “corrective action”.

  53. #53 by twistedmind on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 10:00 am

    Is UITM going to hold a mega protest on all its campuses and insist that the people behind “THES-QS 2008 World Top 200” retract their rankings and apologize to UITM?

    Are they?

  54. #54 by elaineganmaclaine on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 11:34 am

    Sigh!! Another expected fall!
    I hope this is the last!

  55. #55 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 11:39 am

    1. “the reason we did not do well in the last election was not because of the leadership but because we did not fulfill the promises of 2004” KJ abstract from I Am Not To Blame For PM’s Exit The Star 10.10.08. kenyataan bodoh ! why the leaders did not fulfill their promises are because there are none good leader from an existing corrupted leadership system ! if such a remark came from oxford grad what do you expect from uitm grad ?
    2. aiya like the ahmad ismail remark la..senang cakap tak payah dari hati ke otak kemudian ke mulut. terus dari mulut kalau tak dari dubur
    3. don worry la…uitm tak ke mana…depa tu institut aje
    4. kalau aka ada duit, kalau dolla bagi duit sikit kat aku akan hantar anak aku ke luar negara macam najib macam hisham…apa kelas uitm

  56. #56 by alancheah on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 11:48 am

    This country really needs many GOOD leaders
    to make many dramatic changes, so that we
    can only have HOPE!

    God Bless.

  57. #57 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 4:47 pm

    menteri pelajaran dan menteri pendidikan tinggi seharusnya bukan dari kalangan orang politik…macam hisham tu tak logik…anak orang lain dijadikan bahan kajian tapi anak dia ntah di mana ya? mana sekolah anak dia? bila belajar kat luar negeri balik jadi orang besar kata tanah ni bapak aku punya…

  58. #58 by cemerlang on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 9:49 pm

    The politicians in charge of education should look into this matter seriously. Are you satisfied with records that look real good ? All students get A + + + . Or somehow at the back of your mind, you wonder if this is purposely done to please you ? It is all about you, the politicians and if it is all about you, then it is nothing about the rest; the teaching staff and the students. If you feel so proud with the good records and you do not have the slightest suspicion, then there is something very wrong with you. If only you have come down and see for yourself what is the real thing going on. Spot check. Can you really ignore it when people tell you that the student is not bright but somehow can enter university ? Can you block your 5 senses if people tell you that another student help another student to do his assignment ? A teaching staff is very respectable no doubt, but if he allows any hanky panky to occur, then he is contributing to the destruction of the country. An education revolution is not about getting all the students into universities. How intelligent can they be if they play internet games more than reading academic or good books ? How intelligent can they be if they prefer to be like the most popular singer instead of spending time studying ? In many ways, intelligence is linked to gathering more and more knowledge. Sport makes one healthy but not necessarily intelligent. Co-curriculum makes one sociable but not necessarily intelligent. So if you want an intelligent population, you have to make sure that the students are interested in absorbing knowledge. All sorts of knowledge and not just the one which he has to pass in.

  59. #59 by alaneth on Friday, 10 October 2008 - 11:50 pm

    If we rank world universities only in 1 subject – Political Science, we will definately rank top 10…..

  60. #60 by pulau_sibu on Saturday, 11 October 2008 - 9:10 am

    Recently there is a guy who was made the big post at UTM with the news that he is the youngest person appointed to the post (I forgot whatever is the post and his name). Is this the best person around for the post? He is a great researcher, but if you go to America, the universities must be flooded with professors having better accomplishments like him.

    Boleh has to think of a way to attract the big guns to come. Hong Kong and Taiwan are doing it and their universities started to pop up in the ranking. In boleh, people care about the title only, like Prof. Datuk Dr…… that made no sense at all to the academic standard and ranking. Unless THES will add in an other criteria, number of Datuk Professors….

    Have boleh universities put down in writing how are they going to attain a better ranking or to become a better university? Ask the vice chancellor to show it to the public. If it is not achieved, then the person has to quit in the specified years.

  61. #61 by normandy on Saturday, 11 October 2008 - 9:12 am

    Yes, lots of lecturers in the local universities are of very low-class quality. I am not sure about other universities (which readers could write in to spill the beans) but I was informed that in UPSI, lecturers were promoted to Associate Prof. and Professor easily without any substantial international publications. More shockingly, I was told that one lady (a senior lecturer) got a conditional offer for an Ass Prof; the condition is that is she publishes one journal article (since she has no journal publication at all)! Many of my colleagues say that they are not applying to UPSI to undergo a PhD programme because the supervision there is of substandard. Imagine if you, as an experienced teacher, would want to do a PhD in education, let’s say science education, you will end up being supervised by a lecturer who has no experience in education. He/she does not even have a teaching qualification, let alone school-based experience. No wonder the UPSI graduates are equally substandard because their practicum was supervised by lecturers who do not even have a Diploma of Education and have never taught in schools!!!!

  62. #62 by Kasim Amat on Saturday, 11 October 2008 - 12:57 pm

    The THES-QS University ranking system is a flawed system itself that it measures universities based on certain criteria which is totally biased and is very unfavourable to Malaysia Universities. We should not pay too much attention to this flawed ranking system. If we adapt to the criteria that purely aim for the sake of getting our universities to get a higher ranking and forget about the basic fundamentals of the education system in Malaysia, then the whole educational landscape of the country may be misshaped which will eventually results in social instability. The world will finally know that Malaysia Universities are among the best in the world. My son is a graduate of University of Malaya and he took less than 1 week to get his first job with an International Investment Bank in KL. Beside that, he also has several offers from Maybank, Ambank and other big names. I admit that his English may not be as fluent but in Malaysia he does not have to worry that he could not find a decent job.

    As a Malaysian we should not downplay the standard of our own universities. We should also not compare ours with the other countries’ because Malaysia’s situation is unique and different from other countries.

  63. #63 by Isamu on Saturday, 11 October 2008 - 3:00 pm

    I agree that a degree is not a pre-requisite to success but without good education, it’s a long shot and your only other option is to work hard and work smart.

    I agree that some successful entrepreneurs and tycoons do not have a degree, much less formal education but if you observe the history of human civilisation, good education has changed its role in society from being a privilege to a basic right.

    I agree that one’s command of the English language do not have to be that of the BBC’s (perfect or near perfect level) to be successful but let’s get real, most Malaysians (regardless of status; graduate or not, local or foreign, race) don’t even have a good enough grasp of it.

    I agree that the conditions in Malaysia are different and that we should not downplay our own universities but even if the rating system/criteria are indeed biased, you will only see British universities at the top of the list. In addition, all universities around the world were rated using the same set of criteria and that includes NUS Singapore, NTU Singapore, Chulalongkorn Thailand, Beijing China, Tsing Hua China & etc. These Asian universities are rated at least 50 places on top of the best placed Malaysian university. A really biased system knocks you down 10 or 20 places, not 50 or more. Reality and truth from competitive benchmarking hurts.

  64. #64 by Isamu on Saturday, 11 October 2008 - 3:20 pm

    Uncle Lim,

    BTW, although Chulalongkorn is seldom heard of, it is actually the most prestigious university in Thailand. It is also the oldest (91 years old, people in Kedah, Perlis & etc were still busy fighting the Siamese occupiers at that time).

    Quality of education is reputed to be of a very high standard as it’s the focal point of Thailand’s top talents.
    It’s lack of fame in Malaysia could be due to Malaysians’ fixation on Singaporean universities and also could be due to the fact that the medium of delivery is in Thai.

  65. #65 by LBJ on Saturday, 11 October 2008 - 5:29 pm

    There is no point arguing whether our universities are good or no good. As a country, we need to decide and that means politicans of all grades and citizens, whether we want to have quality universities in this country

    If we all decide that that is what the country need, then put resources and policies to get what we want. Even of we have to implement merit selection and promotion, and attract renown professors to our shore.

    If we decide that we need quantity university education, then by all means do so. Reduce public expenditure and provide tax break for parents to send their children, if they want a world class eduction. Forget about going to world class status. Let us be happy about being mediocre.

  66. #66 by pulau_sibu on Sunday, 12 October 2008 - 7:19 am

    Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Head, Prof Ir Dr Mohd Sapuan Salit, won a gold medal in the technology category at the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO Science Prize) 2008 in Baku, Azerbaijan, recently.
    According to a statement from UPM here today, Prof Mohd Sapuan’s research in the design and manufacture of polymer composite products won him a cash prize of US$5,000.— BERNAMA

  67. #67 by spirit_up_high_above_the_sky on Monday, 13 October 2008 - 9:43 am

    Currently I am a first year student study at NUS. Before this, I had done my UPSR(7A),PMR(8A),SPM(11A),STPM(3A,1A-) in Malaysia. I think my result is considered quite not bad in Malaysia. But i now having a hard time study in Singapore. i just had my midterm test. Even though i passed every paper, all my result were below average mark . How the average mark will be? It is about 75% of the paper. It is not that i never study, skip lecture or anything. I had never be this hardworking before. Is it something wrong with me? No, not really. There are a lot of Malaysian study in NUS too. most of us, past STPM student, found that our level is very low compare to the other countries student, especially those from China. Ironically, Malaysian students are the oldest compare to the rest. I really that hope Malaysia government can do something to improve the quality of education. It is no use always saying how good Malaysian are and only if it is true. Perhaps you all never notice, NUS rank at 30th in the top 200 university.

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