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Universiti Malaya continues to scale up the top-100 rank for the second consecutive year.
Universiti Malaya continues to scale up the top-100 rank for the second consecutive year.

UNIVERSITI Malaya (UM) continues to do the country proud by improving its position in the top-100 rank in the QS World University Rankings 2020, released today (Wed,June 19).

Climbing up to 70 from 87 globally, it is the sixth consecutive year in which UM has risen, and the second consecutive year in which it has achieved a top-100 rank.

Three Malaysian universities are now in the top 200 rank: Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) - from 202 to 159; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) - 184 to 160; and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) from 207 to 165. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) narrowly missed the top-200, climbing from 228 to 217.

Also notable is the performance of UCSI University who lists sixth in the Malaysian institutions list. In the 16th edition of the QS World University Rankings, UCSI University has gone from 481 (2019) to 442 (2020) - making it Malaysia’s best private university in the QS World University Rankings for two years running.

UM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim said the varsity's goal is, and has always been, to benchmark against other outstanding universities around the world with a view for further improvement in order to help raise the standard of Malaysian higher education.

Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim
Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim

"This achievement is also in line with our mission to be recognised as the internationally preferred institution of higher learning in teaching and learning, research, publication and innovation,” he said.

"UM has successfully sustained its upward trajectory in the face of fiscal challenges, and emphasized the wisdom and value of increased financial support from the government in order to achieve excellence in teaching and learning, research and innovation, in the years ahead.

"Increased investment will enable the university to intensify international collaborations, enhance strategic research and industry partnerships, and improve graduate employability -all of which are its top priorities. UM also has plans to widen its talent pool with excellent local and international staff as well as retain the services of its internationally-recognised retired academics,” he added.

UM made the greatest strides under Citations per Faculty (rank 317), Employer Reputation (rank 92) and International Faculty Ratio (rank 280), with improvements of 82, 43 and 31 notches, respectively. Academic Reputation improved by 8 places to 91st placing. The Faculty/Student ratio generally maintained its strong performance, ranked at 78, slipping 4 places from last year. The International Student ratio indicator (rank 251) however, dropped 14 places from last year, due to a reduction in the University’s international student enrolment.

“Together with the Education Ministry's continued support, we hope to sustain our position as the nation’s premier and most prestigious university in our quest to global excellence in higher education," said Abdul Rahim.

Meanwhile, UCSI vice-chancellor and president academician Senior Professor Datuk Dr Khalid Yusoff said the latest milestone is a result of a consistent university-wide push for excellence and performance.

Senior Professor Datuk Dr Khalid Yusoff
Senior Professor Datuk Dr Khalid Yusoff

He thanked all staff and students for their belief in the university and in the various initiatives which had been introduced to ensure the improvement and advancement of the university’s performance.

“This has not in any way been a natural or organic growth. Rather it reflects the strategies adopted and the dedication and commitment of all concerned”, he added.

In welcoming the recognition, he said it places a great responsibility on the staff and students alike to continue consolidating and scaling up the excellence pathway.

The rankings, produced by global higher education consultancy QS Quacquarelli Symonds, rank the world’s top 1000 universities.

20 Malaysian universities feature in the published tables, of which 10 improve their position. two remain stable, seven are new entrants this year, and only one drops.

QS states Malaysia’s progressive performance is due to improving results in two key surveys used by QS to compile the tables - a survey on Academic Reputation based on survey responses from over 94,000 academics; and a survey to ascertain Employer Reputation based on responses from over 44,000 employers about the relationship between institution and graduate employability.

Thirteen of Malaysia’s 20 universities have increased their score for QS’s Academic Reputation indicator, while the remainder are new entrants for whom no year-on-year comparison exists. For QS’s Employer Reputation indicator, 11 of Malaysia’s 20 universities improve their performance, and only two of 20 decline.

The QS rankings found UPM, UCSI University, and Taylor's University (which ranks in the 551-520 band) scoring high in the international aspect.

However, Malaysian universities are not yet competing with Asia’s top universities where research impact is concerned. Only five of Malaysia’s 20 entrants improve their performance in QS’s Citations per Faculty indicator.

According to research director at QS Ben Sowter, although the Malaysian higher education system has performed exceptionally well in the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings, it cannot afford complacency as the competition both regionally and globally remains fierce.

Ben Sowter
Ben Sowter

"The Malaysian government has put education at the core of its agenda and it is supporting an ambitious vision with concrete and significant investments. But a key challenge for the leading Malaysian Universities is producing higher impact research outcomes,” he said.

QS uses six indicators to compile the ranking: Academic Reputation; Employer Reputation; Citations per Faculty; Faculty/Student Ratio; International Faculty Ratio; and International Student Ratio.

Apart from insights from 94,000 academics and 44,000 hiring managers; 11.8 million research papers, 100 million citations; the results have also been based upon rigorous analysis of trends in the distribution of 23 million students and nearly 2 million faculty.

In the QS World University Rankings 2020, Massachusetts Institute of Technology is named the world number-one for a record eighth consecutive year. At number two is Stanford University and at three, Harvard university - both maintaining their positions from the previous year.

University of Oxford climbs up from number five to number four while California Institute of Technology (Caltech) goes down to the fifth position from fourth.

Asia’s top universities are the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, which rank joint-11th.

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