MALAYSIA has nine institutions in the top 300 of the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2017.
Universiti Malaya is the highest entrant, and placed 59th. It is joined by another new entrant, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (in the 111-120 cohort) in the top 120. (see table)
On Malaysia’s success, Phil Baty, the editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, said: “It is great news that Malaysia has more than doubled its representation in this year’s ranking of Asia’s best universities, claiming nine places in the top 300 list (up from four last year).”
“UM is the nation’s number one institution at 59th place after taking part for the first time this year. “The data shows that it has a particularly strong international outlook when compared to other leading universities in the continent; it ranks 20th when measured on this indicator alone. Malaysia’s second-ranked university, UTAR in the 111-120 band, is also a newcomer,” he said.
Baty said Malaysia’s success in this year’s ranking is partly due to expanding the table to include 300 universities, up from 200 last year.
But, he added, it is also impressive that the country has done so well despite the increased competition and Malaysia’s own issues around funding.
The only Malaysian university that has declined is its former number one Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, which drops from 70th to the 121-130 band, due to lower scores in terms of its research influence (citations).
“Malaysia invests a huge amount in higher education and has marketed itself as a knowledge economy and innovation hub in recent years.
“Student enrolment has also risen by 70 percent in the past decade and the country has one of the fastest growth rates in research paper outputs in the world,” he said in a statement.
However, the nation’s public universities were hit by a 15 percent budget cut last year, after the economy came under pressure from lower oil and commodity prices.
“University Teknologi Mara, for example, faced a cut of over 23 percent,” he added.
“Overall this ranking of Asia’s best 300 universities proves what a dynamic, diverse and competitive higher education region the continent is becoming.
“Malaysia is a key part of that development but must make sure it does not get left behind,” he said.
For the second year running, Baty said the National University of Singapore and China’s Peking University ranked first and second respectively.
Only two Japanese institutions appear in the top 20, despite the country’s strong representation in the rankings with 69 universities included – almost a quarter (23%) of the top 300 list.
After China with six universities in the top 20, Hong Kong and South Korea are well-represented with five institutions each.
On the Southeast Asian region as a whole, Baty said: “Singapore is the higher education star of the Southeast Asian region, with its national university topping the ranking for the second year in a row.” “Nanyang Technological University is not far behind in fourth place, but it drops two places this year despite an improved performance due to stiff competition from China.
“Thailand is also facing a tough contest, with all seven of its established universities dropping down the table, due to other institutions improving at a faster rate,” he added.
“The southeast Asian region is a key part of that development.
“It must make sure it doesn’t get left behind.”
For more information, visit https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2017/regional-ranking