KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The University of Malaya (UM) has ranked among the top 20 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) listing of varsities in emerging economies.
UM secured the 18th spot in THE’s Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019 — making it to the top 20 league for the first time and its highest position yet.
The private university rose nine spots from 27th place in the list last year.
“Malaya is the highest rising institution in this year’s top 20, progressing across the board — with improvements to its teaching (learning environment), research (volume, income and reputation), international outlook (staff, students and research), citations (research influence) and industry income (knowledge transfer) scores,” THE said in a statement today.
Apart from UM, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have also made significant strides.
UTP rose 17 positions to join the top 60 league, with improvements in all areas except industry income, whereas UTM climbed 15 positions, sitting in the top 100 league at 86.
“Malaysia has 11 institutions represented in the overall 2019 table, up from nine last year. It retains eight in the top 200.
“Alongside two new entrants, a strong year for the country sees six of its total 11 institutions advance, with just three declining,” THE added.
However, THE global rankings editor Ellie Bothwell cautioned that cuts to higher education funding posed a threat to Malaysia’s success in the coming years.
“Malaysia is one of the success stories of this year’s ranking, with many of the country’s universities rising. The nation is rapidly becoming an international student hub, and reforms aimed at granting students greater political freedoms — and its universities more autonomy — are welcome.
“However, cuts to higher education funding pose a threat to the nation’s success in future years. Malaysia must ensure that its universities receive enough investment to thrive in an increasingly competitive global higher education market,” Bothwell said.
The top performer in the list for this year is China that is represented by 72 universities, up from 63 last year.
The republic claimed four of the top five rankings, with a Russian institution claiming the fifth spot.
“Tsinghua University surpasses Peking University as this year’s top institution overall, while Zhejiang University rises three positions to third, the University of Science and Technology of China climbs one place to fourth and Russia’s Lomonosov Moscow State University completes 2019’s top five,” THE said.
The overall 2019 ranking comprises nearly 450 universities — expanded from 378 last year — from 43 countries, across four continents.
THE is a global organisation that produces data, analysis and expertise on higher education.
*A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.