IN the latest QS World University Rankings (2022) released by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) on June 8, Malaysia has five public universities ranked among the world’s top 200.
Universiti Malaya, the oldest university in the country, is ranked 65th, dropping slightly from its previous year’s placing (59th). It is followed by Universiti Putra Malaysia (143th), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (144th), Universiti Sains Malaysia (147th) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (191th).
In total, there are 22 local universities ranked in the list that features about 1, 300 universities from around the world. Among these universities, more than half are government-funded higher education institutions.
Malaysia and Singapore are the only countries from South-East Asia to have universities ranked among the top 200. For Asia, 11 countries have at least one of their universities ranked among the top 200 in the world. The top three Asian countries are China (10 universities), Japan (eight) and South Korea (seven).
Over the years, global university rankings have been accepted as an effective measure to help improve and build the reputation and position of an institution. Rankings also serve as the benchmark to effect changes in the strategic direction by fostering effective national and international partnerships and collaborations.
All universities in the list were assessed according to six key metrics, namely academic reputation (40%), citations per faculty (20%), employer reputation (10%), faculty student ratio (20%), international faculty ratio (5%) and international students ratio (5%).
The only university that received a full overall score was Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
The 160-year-old MIT has been named the world’s top university for the 10th straight year.
UM achieved 69.8 points out of 100. A detailed breakdown showed that UM scored less than half of the points for two criteria – Citations per faculty and International faculty ratio. It was the same for the other top-ranked local universities but with much lower scores.
Citations per faculty is the metric used to measure the quality of research articles published by the university.
More specifically, it measures the total number of citations received by all papers published by an institution and its faculty members over a five-year period.
Normally, research articles published in top quartile journals (Q1) will receive higher citations compared to publications in the lower quartile journals and conference proceedings.
International faculty ratio measures the ability of an institution to attract faculty members from other countries.
A reputable institution that can offer a conducive working environment and attractive remuneration packages will easily attract foreign talents.
Based on the data published, there is indeed room for improvement for our local universities. But we can’t deny that Malaysian universities have achieved significant progress over the years.
There was only one local university listed in the top 200 in the world five years ago. This year, five local universities have achieved this status.
Another piece of good news is that more Malaysian private universities are now ranked at higher spots compared to previous years. Some of these universities are less than 15 years old.
ASSOC PROF DR LAU WOEI JYE
School of Chemical and Energy Engineering
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia