Sunday, October 08, 2006

Higher Education Minister clutches at straw

USM used to be 111th on the THES rankings just two years ago before falling down to 326 – in other words, completely off the scale for the top 200 universities around the world.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang of the DAP said that there is no official ranking outside the 200, but perhaps if badgered (in a private capacity), the THES people may provide the enquirer a sub-200 university’s position, obviously beyond what had been published.

my underlining

He was alluding to the Higher Education Minister, Mustapa Mohamed, possibly making such a private enquiry because the later has been elated that USM rose form 326 to 277th, as if it’s an achievement when the university is still way outside the published scale. Talk about people clutching at straws.

He said: “I am surprised that there has been an unofficial ranking of universities which fall outside THES’ 200 best universities, which must have been communicated privately to the individual universities concerned.”

“If so, why hasn’t the Higher Education Ministry made public the ‘outside 200 Best Universities’ ranking of all the public universities evaluated for the annual THES World University Ranking?.”

Yeah, what other 76 sub-200 chowkana* universities would be standing above the 277th position?

* sub-standard

Lim admonished Mustapa, reminding the minister to curb his enthusiasm over the achievement of two Malaysian universities in the ‘unofficial’ Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) rankings. Note ‘unofficial’ but that’s what desperate people would do, just like a drowning man clutching at straws.

The very revelation of the ‘unofficial’ listing for our universities is itself a shameful, disgraceful and pathetic insult to Malaysia. Malu lah!

Lim sneered at Mustapa: “Malaysia must be the only country which is celebrating about the scores of two universities, not because they are within the 200 Best Universities Ranking, but outside – USM (Universiti Sains Malaysia) and UPM (Universiti Putra Malaysia).”

my underlining

Lim was aghast and utterly flabbergasted by news reports of Minister Mustapa’s sense of delight over the two universities' significant gains in the rankings. UPM climbed from 394 last year to 292, while USM rose from 326 to 277.

Lim said Mustapa’s elation at the pathetic placing of the two universities would provide the wrong impressions to our local universities that those sub-200 standards are acceptable. Lim stated correctly that the minister should only celebrate when those two universities have made the top-200 grade.

Our premier university, UM, has also been making a consistent slide down the rankings to a precarious 192th position, behind several regional universities such as Singapore’s National University (ranked 19) and Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University (161).

Malaysia Boleh, where we celebrate mediocrity!

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