University gets five stars


  • Education
  • Sunday, 15 Mar 2020

(From left) Chan and Williams speak about the university’s achievements.

HELP University has become the first private university in Southeast Asia to achieve five stars in eight categories in the 2020 QS Stars University Ratings.

“This puts us on par with the best universities in the world,” says HELP Research Management Centre director Prof Geoffrey Williams.

Some other prestigious universities also with five-star ratings in eight categories are Harvard University and the University of Oxford.

“Together as a team here at HELP, we can accomplish so much with so little and contribute to turning Malaysia into a regional higher education hub,” says HELP vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Paul Chan.

“The most important aspect is we are building the foundational skills for our young people who are going to be our future leaders,” he adds.

William explains that higher education institutions are rated based on eight categories.

The 35-year-old university took part in the Teaching, Employability, Internationalisation, Academic Development, Facilities, Programme Strength and Social Responsibility.

The university’s overall score was 843 out of 1,000.

They also took part in the Inclusiveness category, and obtained a perfect score of 50.

Williams says their perfect score is mainly due to the help they provide for the low-income students, which is more than just handing out scholarships or bursaries.

“We give them quite generous funds to help with their living expenses,” he explains, adding that nearly 40% of their graduates are from the low-income community.

Williams did not disclose the exact amount they have given in education funding but did say that its monetary contributions to society is equivalent to 46% of the university’s income.

Inclusiveness is about diversity in the student and academic staff population, says Williams, adding that this includes differently-abled people (OKU), minority groups and international students.

HELP also collaborates with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist the refugee communities in Malaysia.

“We want to make sure what we’re offering the communities are formal education so that they come away with a proper qualification,” says Williams.

Chan adds that some of the refugees have left Malaysia and secured good jobs.

“This is because first, they are taught in English and also learn a set of skills such as culinary or coding,” he explains.

“We want to help the talented and the needy,” adds Chan.

“When HELP started, we started as a social business enterprise and it is incidental that we ended up making money,” says Chan.

The university’s mission, he adds, is to “help people succeed in life and to lead a life of significance through education.”

Chan says the five-star rating is a testament to the quality of the teaching and learning process, and the academic and management staff at HELP.

The university’s Master of Business Administration course was given a five-star rating in the Programme Strength category, which is based on student satisfaction and employment rate, among others.

They had achieved 100% for both criteria.

Williams says the ratings is a much more comprehensive review of an institution compared to the well-known QS World University Rankings.

“It gives us an assessment and benchmarking against 39 criteria in eight categories against our international peers,” he adds.

This is also the first time HELP University is taking part in the ratings, says Williams.

Graduate employability is also something the university is proud of.

“From the beginning, we educate our students to be employed but now we also educate them to be entrepreneurs,” says Chan.

He adds there are a number of students who have started their own start-ups during their first year of university.

“Our students choose us because the industry and employers choose us,” he explains.

On its Internationalisation category score, Chan says it is partly due to its partnerships with top higher education institutions around the world.

“These institutions, including Imperial College London, readily accept our students into their graduate schools or final year,” he adds.

Just as important is its international student body which comprises over 60 nationalities, he says.

The QS Stars University Ratings allows institutions to highlight their strengths based on their performance, and not how they compare to their peers.

An institution receives between 0 and 5+ Stars overall, as well as a rating between 0 and Five Stars in at least eight categories.

HELP University is a contributor to the Star Education Fund.
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