Saturday September 9, 2017
01:32 PM GMT+8

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SEPTEMBER 9, — The 2018 World University Rankings by Times Higher Education (THE) put nine Malaysian institutions of higher learning into the list, with the top-ranked Universiti Malaya among the world’s 400 best.

Notably, it is also the first time three local private university colleges have made it to the list, with Utar ranked in the 501-600 band.

In THE’s Asian University Rankings released earlier, nine Malaysian universities were in the list, with UM at 59th and Utar in 111-120.

Universiti Malaya has always been the top university in the country and it doesn’t therefore come as a surprise that it led other local universities in THE’s latest rankings.

By comparison, the meteoric rise of Utar is a pleasant surprise to many. Compared to other more established institutions, it is not easy for the relatively young university set up only in 2002 to become globally recognised.

In the meantime, the exceptional employability of Utar graduates reflect the wide acceptance of the school’s quality by Malaysian employers.

Utar’s success has attested to the fact that provision of quality education is the single most effective approach to bringing a tertiary institution to a higher level of excellence.

The performance of Malaysian graduates has been said to be declining in recent years. Along with it the quality of local universities has come under heavy public scepticism. However, following the continued improvement in our universities in international rankings, the standards of some local institutions have been proven and internationally acclaimed.

Despite the better global rankings, there is still much room for improvement as our universities still fare very badly compared to top-notched institutions worldwide in the likes of Harvard and Cambridge.

Competitiveness is stiff on the global level and to stand out among the pack, a crucial factor that warrants our attention is human talent.

As a place to groom our future talents, institutions of higher learning must move with the changing times, providing the most qualified teaching resources and creating a truly conducive learning environment for the students that will help unleash their potentials and creativity.

Along the way our universities must move ahead towards the direction of excellent teaching and academic freedom undisrupted by any non-academic factors.

It is not easy to create world class universities and train high-calibre students. It requires the concerted effort of all relevant parties. The future of this country can only be assured if we move down the right path towards world class universities.

As we yearn for better global ranking of our universities, bear in mind that the rankings only serve as an indicator. Most importantly our universities must be able to provide high quality education to the students and groom large numbers of high-calibre talents that form a basis for the country’s continued growth in future.

* This article was first published here.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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