(File pix) Under the Universitas 21 Ranking, the only one in the world to assess national higher education systems, Malaysia is ranked 25th this year, up from 36th in 2012 says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh. Pix by Khairull Azry Bidin

KUALA LUMPUR: The nation’s higher education sector is improving by leaps and bounds, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

Under the Universitas 21 Ranking, the only one in the world to assess national higher education systems, Malaysia is ranked 25th this year, up from 36th in 2012.

Five Malaysian universities - Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia - are among the top one per cent universities in the world in terms of research.

The five universities are also among the top eight varsities in Asean, with Universiti Malaya leading the pack at third place behind Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore.

He said Universiti Malaya, which was the first university established in Malaysia, will even break into the top 100 universities in the world within two years.

"Universiti Malaya was ranked 167th in 2013.

“But in just four years, the university improved its ranking to 114,” he said during a luncheon with Malaysian overseas students sponsored by the government.

Nevertheless, he noted that university ranking is not everything as graduates should be balanced, entrepreneurial and holistic.

In view of this, the Higher Education Ministry has embarked on an agenda known as Redesigning Higher Education.

This involves looking into the student assessment method, participation of industry in academia, recognition of prior experiential learning, empowering of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), awarding of credits for online learning and promoting work-based learning programmes.

Redesigning higher education recognises that education must be flexible and accessible to anyone, anytime and anywhere.

The agenda aims to empower choice, encourage knowledge diversity, and instill a strong sense of social responsibility and consciousness into students and the higher community at large.

At the same time, Idris also encouraged Malaysian students overseas to broaden their world view while studying abroad.

He also reminded them to be grateful for what they have at home compared to other countries.

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