Apparently, THE-QS World University Rankings is one of the year’s most eagerly awaited publications published by The Times Higher Education.
Universities from across the globe are evaluated based on the four key pillars of (1) Research Quality, (2) Teaching Quality, (3) Graduate Employability and (4) International Outlook.
Our immediate southern neighbour Singapore has 2 Universities in the Top 100, namely National University of Singapore at #30, and Nanyang Technological University at #77. That these 2 are in the Top 100 is not a surprise to me, based on personal experience employing graduates from both universities, when I was working and living in Singapore.
Our immediate northern neighbour Thailand now has 1 University which has made it to the Top 200, namely Chulalongkorn University at #166. (http://www.chula.ac.th/chula/en/index.html). Again, my own personal experience employing graduates from Chulalongkorn University when I was working and living in Thailand tells me that they are surprisingly quite good (despite not having as fluent command of English compared to Malaysians), and it's nice to see them finally made it to the Top 200.
Whereas, our traditionally best University which is University Malaya was ranked #89 in 2004, #169 in 2005, #192 in 2006, and then, just simply fell out of the Top 200 list in 2007 and 2008! What a terribly dissappointing trend! USM - the recently awarded Apex University - is also outside the Top 200. In fact, there is not even a single Malaysian University in the Top 200!
Extremely dissappointing, when our local Uni is nowhere near Thailand nor Singapore counterparts. Worse, if the gap between us increases over time!
What are the root causes to these problems? Given the huge brain drain from Malaysia, clearly, it's not for lack of brilliant and resourceful students. If it's not the students, then, where are the problems? Sadly, in an area where meritocracy means everything if one wants to break into the Top 200, rotten politics and vested interest have a way of screwing our highest educational institutions to the point that we as a nation suffers not just 1 year, but quite possibly for the next generation. Certainly, if nothing is done to arrest this decline, we can expect future generations to suffer.
Full list of Top 200 Universities here - http://www.topuniversities.com/university_rankings/results/2008/overall_rankings/fullrankings/