KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 ― Malaysian universities again failed to make the cut to this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) top 200 global rankings while southern neighbour Singapore's National University leapt into the top 25 schools list.
The latest index shows a significant drop from last year’s ranking where Malaysia’s second-oldest tertiary school Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) at least made it to Asia’s top 100 list at 87th spot.
THE noted that 2014 is a strong year for Asian varsities, with 24 universities from the Asian continent making it to the top 200, compared to 20 last year.
“This year, two of its institutions appear in the world top 25 (Tokyo University and the National University of Singapore).
“Japan’s University of Tokyo maintained its status as Asia’s number one ― holding steady in 23rd place ― and Japan retained its position as Asia’s top nation for world-class institutions, with five of the top 200 universities. But of Japan’s five universities, four lost ground,” the report said,
The National University of Singapore this year closed in on Tokyo’s position as the number one in Asia, moving up one place into 25th.
Singapore’s other top-200 university, Nanyang Technological University also continued its upward climb from 76th to 61st spot.
THE editor Phile Baty commenting on the matter said strong governmental support contributed to the rise of Asian varsities in the global ranking.
“East Asia’s top universities continue their strong upward movement in the rankings, on the back of strong government financial support, strong leadership and a strong commitment to excellence in higher education and research.
“There is little doubt that key East Asian nations have emerged as powerhouses in global higher education and research, while traditional leaders including the UK, Canada and the US, risk losing significant ground in the global knowledge economy,” Baty said in the report.
Despite the drastic drop in quality, Education and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has insisted that Malaysia has one of the best education system in the world.
The statement drew criticism that the minister and the ruling coalition were too detached from the ground reality.
Critics have blamed the drop in Malaysia’s education quality on Barisan Nasional’s attempt to control the academic sphere.