PKR: Immediate Action to Save Public Universities


SHAH ALAM, September 11: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has expressed concern on the ranking drop of public universities in the country in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Ranking 2013.

Member of Parliament for Pandan, Rafizi Ramli said that the Central Government and the people of Malaysia in general have to face the reality that public education institutions need to be saved.

“The fact that six out of seven public universities in the country are declining in their rankings should be taken seriously by all parties openly.

“Even more so when the best university in Asia is the National University of Singapore (NUS) which is ranked 24th, making it the best university in Asia beating universities in Japan, South Korea and China,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

This list is one of the three international university ranking lists that are influential and widely followed, in addition to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The report shows six out of seven public universities in Malaysia have dropped in their rankings.

The report is based on the six important indicators which are academic achievement, the ability to obtain employment and employer’s views, the ratio of students to teaching faculty, research references, international student body and teaching faculty.

The six local universities that have dropped in their rankings are the University of Malaya (UM) from 156 in year 2012 to 167 this year, the National University of Malaysia (UKM) from 261 to 269, University of Science Malaysia (USM) from 326 to 355 this year.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has dropped from 360 to 411-420, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) from 401-450 to 501-550 and the Mara University of Technology (UiTM) from 601 to 701 this year.

Meanwhile, only one of the country’s institute of higher learning which is the University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM) rose from 358 in year 2012 to 355 this year.

“The problem of unemployment among graduates, especially Malay Bumiputera graduates stem from the declining quality of tertiary education every year which has been confirmed by the ranking of the country’s public universities,” said Rafizi.

He suggested six steps to restore the integrity and quality of public universities i the country in the next 10 years. He emphasised that this has to be mobilised starting from now.

The steps are: to restore academic freedom by giving autonomy to the University Senate without Government interference; to restore university leadership according to merit based on credibility, experience and integrity; to stop all political propaganda oriented activities or programmes or which stifles critical thinking of students; a scholarship system that gives the best place in the best universities in Malaysia to the best students; and the empowerment of the academic faculty credibility by bringing in the best teachers and researchers from around the world.

“I believe that these measures are the beginning in restoring the excellence of public universities in the country with the aim of having UM ranked in the world’s top 100 universities 10 years from now,” he added.

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