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Five varsities make it

on 17 Mei 2010.

By KAREN CHAPMAN
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AMIDST an ongoing debate on flaws in the ranking of world universities, an Asian list was published this week on the performance of the institutions in this region.

Five of Malaysia’s universities made it to the top 100 of the QS Asian University Rankings 2010, and that of last year’s too.

Making its first appearance in the top 200 is the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

Universiti Malaya (UM) is the highest ranked at 42; followed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) at 58; Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) at 69; Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) at 77; and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) at 82. IIUM is ranked 159.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd managing director Nunzio Quacquarelli told StarEducation that Malaysian universities have done well, with most institutions holding close to last year’s position or impro-ving.

“I can exclusively reveal that four additional universities are within 50 places of the top 200, and may be well placed to emerge next year, namely Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Multimedia University, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Petronas,” he said.

This is the second time top Asian universities have been evaluated in a regional ranking from QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd, which compile the annual QS World University Rankings.

“There are also strong signs of improvement among universities further down our lists,” he added.

Despite being in the list, USM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said the university had formally informed QS that it was not participating in any of their rankings due to methodological flaws.

“This is especially so when they are unable to assure that their data sets are being verified,” he added.

Prof Nik Mustapha says UPM has moved up to 77 in the Asian rankings.

He said the flaws “are now an open secret” following a disclosure by editor of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings Phil Baty in a recent StarEducation article.

Baty alleged the THE-QS World University Rankings which had been published since 2004 had some serious flaws.

“Our annual world university rankings was published when Times Higher Education Magazine not only had a different editor, but a different name (the Times Higher Education Supplement) and a different owner.

“Last year we took the first opportunity for a full review of the rankings. We did not like what we found, and we took the chance to act,” Baty said.

Baty said THE ended its partnership with the company QS in Nov 2009, which supplied and owned all the data for the rankings between 2004 and 2009.

Quacquarelli in reply (see page 7) has alleged that Baty incorrectly criticised the research conducted by his company in producing the World University Rankings.

“All rankings are controversial, and QS is committed to working with our advisory board to develop methodologies which reflect the diversity of models in higher education, through regional rankings and other new initiatives,” he said.

On the newly released Asian rankings, QS Intelligence Unit head Ben Sowter said that Malaysian institutions have made progress in the Inbound Exchange indicator, meaning there are more foreign students going to local universities.

“UM, UKM and UPM show an improved performance in our Papers per Faculty indicator, which suggest a renewed focus on research productivity,” he said.

On IIUM, Sowter said this was the first time it has appeared in the top 200, adding that it was highly competitive on student faculty and international indicators, but falls some way short at present on the survey and research indicators.

“Nonetheless, its top 200 placing in 2010 represents a significant ascent, fuelled largely by improved recognition in our academic and employer surveys,” he opined.

Quacquarelli said of the 601 institutions considered in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, 448 qualified for the final overall evaluation.

Prof Zaini feels rankings are useful to indicate the quality and reputation of the universities.

The universities were ranked based on criteria including academic peer review, recruiter review, students and faculty ratio, papers per faculty, citations per paper, international faculty review, international student review, as well as inbound and outbound student exchange.

The University of Hong Kong topped the Asian University Rankings this year.

It is followed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, National University of Singapore, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Tokyo, Seoul National University, Osaka University, Kyoto University, Tohoku University and Nagoya University.

Quacquarelli said UKM was the second best university in Asia for the number of inbound exchange students, while UM was eighth.

“IIUM and Multimedia University both score 100 for international students, putting them in the top 10 among the most internationalised universities in terms of student population in the region,” he said.

He said the delivery of high-quality research, excellent employer networks and world-class facilities meant many of these top 200 Asian universities were playing an increasingly important role within the global knowledge economy.

UKM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said rankings was only one of the measures of a university’s global recognition.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that there are important things that universities do such as community engagement and contributing to societal development that bring them to global prominence, but may not be captured in the rankings.

“In UKM we will learn from the rankings and continue to pursue our core functions of research, teaching and service, according to our transformation plan,” she added.

UPM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha R Abdullah thanked university staff for working hard.

Quacquarelli says Malaysian varsities have done well.

“UPM is proud to have climbed up the rankings to 77 from 90 last year and is waiting for more detailed information,” he said.

IIUM rector Prof Datuk Dr Syed Arabi Idid, who is attending a conference in Azerbaijan, said while rankings was important, programmes to produce employable graduates were more vital.

“Over the years we have brought the university community together to strategise in order to achieve our mission and vision,” he added.

UTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Zaini Ujang said any rankings or benchmarking exercise would be useful to indicate the quality and reputation of universities.

“UTM is progressing well according to our five-year plan, and despite not being a research university, has ranked comparably.

“With our blue-ocean strategy on research, postgraduate and internationalisation, I am sure UTM will be ranked better in the future,” he said.

For the full list of results, log on to
www.topuniversities.com.

Extracted from The Star Online.

Arkib Berita

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