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Wednesday March 15, 2006

Ministry sets world ranking target for two varsities


SHAH ALAM: Two Malaysian universities among the top 50 in the world – that is the ambitious target set by the Government for Malaysian public institutions of higher education (IPTAs). 

Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said this was in line with the ministry’s emphasis on academic excellence and internationalisation. 

“Among the tools available to help us gauge our progress towards these goals are international benchmarks and rankings. We have set ourselves a target to maintain at least two of our universities in the list of the world’s top 50,” he said. 

He added that universities with a reputation for being the best in the world would act as a magnet for the most talented students and staff. 

“An environment where the world’s best teach, learn and conduct research is highly likely to produce stellar results and bring immense value to the ecosystem within which it exists,” he said in his speech at the opening of an international conference on university learning and teaching organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara yesterday. 

The speech was delivered by Higher Education Management Department director-general Prof Datuk Dr Hassan Said.  

Speaking to reporters later, Prof Hassan said the ministry was in the process of identifying the two universities. 

“Once we have chosen them, the ministry will give them all the support needed to compete globally. We are developing the criteria they must fulfil,” he said, adding that the deadline set for the two universities to achieve the top 50 standing was 2010.  

“Although we will consider the global requirements needed for a world-class university, we will not forget the national agenda.” 

Universiti Malaya is the highest-ranked local university in the world rankings published by Britain’s The Times Higher Education Supplement. However, it dropped from 89th place in 2004 to 169th last year. 

On another matter, Prof Hassan announced that more places would be offered to post- Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia and matriculation students in 18 IPTAs this year.  

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