KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) placed 70th in the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2016, continuing the recent renaissance among Malaysian institutions of higher learning.
The university's entry into the top 100 of the THE ladder marks Malaysia's first return to the esteemed list since 2013, when Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia came in joint 87th.
Results from THE's 2016 ranking for Asia also reinforce findings from a competing benchmark released last week by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, which had four Malaysian universities in the region's top 50.
The two rankings diverged, however, as Universiti Putra Malaysia, which was the best ranked Malaysian university by QS, was the second-highest local institution by THE’s measure and placed in the 121-130 category. UTM did not place at all in the QS list.
Other Malaysian universities ranked by THE were Universiti Sains Malaysia (141-150) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (161-170).
Singapore dominated the survey this year, with the National University of Singapore moving up a spot to take first and the Nanyang Technological University sharing second place with China's Peking University.
“South East Asia is one of the most exciting and dynamic regions in world higher education and research today. Not only is it home to Asia’s top two universities (both in Singapore), it is also at the centre of significant initiatives to drive up the quality of universities — and to put them at the heart of the region’s economic growth,” said Phil Baty, Times Higher Education rankings editor.
“This new data release shows that Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have universities able to stand up to rigorous performance benchmarking against the Times Higher Education’s performance indicators.”
Last year's top Asian university as ranked by THE, the University of Tokyo, fell six spots to come in 7th this year.
The THE list released today is only for Asia, and differs from the more prestigious World University Rankings and World Reputation Rankings, both of which Malaysia has never entered, but in which the country hopes to have at least two entrants by 2020.
Findings from the THE and QS benchmarks trigger an annual exchange in which critics lambaste authorities for the state of Malaysian education, and which the latter then defends, often by citing extraneous circumstances that prevent better scores by local universities and offering pledges of continual improvement.
According to THE, its Asia University Ranking uses the same 13 indicators employed for the global edition, but with different weighting for the 13 categories that places less emphasis on reputation elements and puts more importance on industry income and research publications.