UM up to 59th spot in 2020 QS world varsity rankings; Taylor’s debuts in top 400

A student walks past the Universiti Malaya signage March 17, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A student walks past the Universiti Malaya signage March 17, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Universiti Malaya (UM) rose 11 places to 59th spot in this year’s QS World University Rankings, marking its best showing to date. 

Twelve other Malaysian higher learning institutions also improved their rankings this year while six remained stable and only two lost ground.

“UM improved its performance across four of the six metrics utilised by QS, including the noteworthy rise of 76 places in citations per faculty, the research impact indicator,” QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the compilers of the QS World University Rankings portfolio said in a statement accompanying the announcement today.

Three local public institutions that broke into the world’s top 150 QS universities list are:  Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

UPM jumped 27 places to land at 132nd place, while UKM rose 19 rungs to place 141st followed right behind by USM, which climbed 23 places to take the 142nd rank.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia also improved 30 rungs to land the 187th rank, giving Malaysia five universities among the world’s top 200

Taylor's University made the most impressive leap even though it only ranked 379th. The Malaysian private university recorded the most impressive year-on-year growth, jumping 135 places to break into the world’s top 400 universities for the first time ever.

QS research director Ben Sowter said the ascendancy of Malaysian universities in its rankings is the result of concerted efforts and sustained investment.

Malaysia’s Education Ministry got 19.1 per cent of the government’s overall budget last year, separate from its research and development budget.

“The reputation of the local universities is growing steadily among the international academic community and global employers. The positive trend must be celebrated as it is an extraordinary result especially considering that the rankings are dynamic and very competitive,” said Sowter.

“The leading Malaysian universities are committing a good level of teaching resources as measured by our faculty/student ratio. When it comes to research intensity and impact, the best national performer is Universiti Malaya at 241st while the next best is Universiti Teknologi Malaysia at 461st.  

“An ambitious country like Malaysia, will surely aim for research excellence as well as continuing to invest in teaching excellence” he said.

Globally, the top three universities all came from the US. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was named the world’s best university for the ninth consecutive year, followed by Stanford University and in third place, Harvard University.

Meanwhile, 26 Asian universities now place among the global top-100. These 26 institutions are split between mainland China and South Korea (six each), Hong Kong and Japan (five each), Singapore (two), and Malaysia and Taiwan (one each).

The QS World University Rankings rank the world’s top 1,000 universities. They are the world’s most-consulted and most-covered source of comparative information about university performance.

For the 2021 edition of the rankings, QS surveyed 102,662 academics and 51,649 employers whose insights and opinions informed the reputational indicators.

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