Malaysia’s Tertiary Education Promising: Up The Ranks On Universitas 21 Tertiary Rankings

University students


According to the latest Universitas 21 tertiary rankings, Malaysia’s higher education rankings increased year-on-year, ranking 27th out of 50 countries surveyed, a marginal jump from 28th in 2014.

Malaysia’s Minister of Education II, Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh announced recently Malaysia’s increase in the Universitas 21 rankings. Produced by researchers from the University of Melbourne, the U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems rank countries according to contributions to its respective environments to student experience and tertiary growth.

The overall ranking measures the following:

1) Resources – Government & private expenditure towards higher education

2) Environment – Diversity

3) Connectivity – Flow of information between higher education sector & society

4) Output – Research output and impact & employability of graduates

Not surprisingly, United States, Switzerland and Denmark took the top-3 spots, followed by United Kingdom (8), Singapore (9) and Australia (10). Over the last few years, Singapore’s HEIs has made a serious mark and climbed up the tertiary rankings. Just recently, a Singaporean university, National University of Singapore (NUS) took the No.1 spot in the QS University Rankings 2015: Asia and globally on the QS World University Rankings 2014/2015, placed 22nd spot, above highly renowned universities like University of California, Berkeley, Duke University, New York University and University of Melbourne.

Further down the list, Hong Kong and New Zealand share 15th spot, with Korea coming in 22nd and Serbia at 32nd. India disappointingly was at 50th position.

A separate ranking was also done adjusted to the levels of economic development of each participating country.

After adjustment, Malaysia’s ranking jumped up three spots to sit at 23rd rank overall, ranking 3rd for Resources, 32nd for Connectivity, 14th for Environment and 34th for Output. The rankings showed Malaysia also ranked 8th based on tertiary expenditure by the government as a percentage of the country’s GDP and 12th on annual expenditure per student.

Top spots for the adjusted ranking placed Serbia, United Kingdom and Denmark at the top followed by Australia (13), United States (15), India (18) and Singapore (23).

If these latest numbers are any indication, Malaysia’s government seem to be going on the right track towards its vision to make Malaysia a leading education destination within the region. Jusoh remains positive with the release of the Universitas 21 tertiary rankings believing that the numbers exemplifies the country’s commitment and focus on higher education sector through increasing its expenditure for the growth and development of HEIs in the country.

Jusoh continued to add, “[this] improvement in Malaysia’s ranking is encouraging and promising.”

THE 2015 Rankings Show Japan University Still ‘King of the Mountain’



The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2015 released last week placed University of Tokyo at the number one spot this year, for the third year in a row. National University of Singapore finished second, and the University of Hong Kong came in third.


Although the University of Tokyo remains Asia’s number one institution, Japan slips to second place with 19 representatives, down from 20 last year. On the other hand, China has toppled Japan to be the continent’s higher education powerhouse, with 21 universities from the Chinese mainland enter the top 100 of the rankings. Peking University earns the fourth spot among top Asian universities, while Tsinghua University closely follows the former at fifth place.

China’s special administrative regions also performwell, with six universities from Hong Kong (two in the top 10) and one from Macao represented in the top 50.

“The shift in power towards China takes place against a backdrop of investment in research and development while Japan wrestles with cuts as a result of its crippling level of public debt,” Times Higher Education stated on its website.

South Korea is the third-strongest nation in the rankings with 13 representatives, down from 14 last year. Its leading Seoul National University is sixth, down two places, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is in eighth. Although Pohang University of Science and Technology dropped out of the top 10 this year, Sungkyunkwan University jumped 11 places to 16th.

Asia is expected to be the next global higher education superpower, after North America and Europe. As Allan E. Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, states in Asia: The Next Higher Education Superpower?, “Governments in Asia see internationalisation of their colleges and universities as a means to capitalise on rapid globalisation and remain competitive in the global marketplace. Their progress in these regards will define Asia’s future involvement with the world and possibly redefine the way the world engages in higher education.”

On the other hand, six Turkish universities take places in the top 50, making Turkey the most successful representative in the Middle East. Middle East Technical University (METU), its best performer, leaps 17 places to 12th. According to THE, this “stunning progress” is “largely attributable to its outstanding research impact”.

Bothwell said: “[Among] the top eight universities for citations, five of these are in Turkey, up from two last year. Bogazici University has taken 14th position, up from joint 19th, and new entrant Sabanci University almost made the top 20.

Unfortunately, no Malaysian university was able to meet the international standard this year. The last time a Malaysian varsity made the cut was in 2013 when Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia was ranked at the 87th place.


Note: The Asia rankings use 13 performance indicators to compare each university against its core missions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

All Eyes On ASEAN To Usher New Wave Of Regional Student Mobility



Educators would be pleased to know that one of the most exciting trends in international student mobility is a rise in intra-region mobility – the increasing tendency of international students leaving their home country to study in a neighboring country within their home region.

We believe that the increases in regional student mobility are being charged by several factors: 1) overall improved quality and capacity of regional education hubs 2) boost by government with better policies and infrastructure 3) greater affordability of regional study destinations and 4) student preference to be closer to home.

A good example of regional mobility programs that understand this shifting demand patterns is the Erasmus programme in Europe. Now known as Erasmus+, this new programme for education, training, youth and sport will provide funding for 4 million people to study, train, or volunteer abroad till 2020. The programme greatly exemplifies how regional mobility patterns can be accelerated with the support of broader economic and political cooperation within the region. And with indications showing similar systems being established among ASEAN states, this is certainly positive and worth noting. Read more

Singapore Institution Remain Asia’s Top University According To The 2015 QS Asia University Rankings



National University of Singapore once again takes the number one spot, beating The University of Hong Kong and KAIST in the 2015 QS University Rankings: Asia published today. This is the second year in a row that NUS has ranked number one. The Nanyang Technological University added another feather to the lion city’s cap by rising three rungs to fourth this year.



(Source: QS University Rankings: Asia 2015)


On the other hand, the Chinese has 25 institutions among the top 100 in Asia, far outstripping its big neighbour – India with 9. Peking University steps into the top seventh this year while Tsinghua University rises from 14th to 11th.

“The majority of the ranked Chinese institutions are increasing their research output, spurred by the impressive and sustained level of public and private investment, second only to the US. However, the country’s leading universities are still lagging behind in terms of research citation numbers, which reveal the impact of the research they produce,” said Ben Sowter, head of research at QS.

Addressing India’s mediocre ranking performances, Sowter explained that the indian universities had not received funding on the scale enjoyed by their Chinese counterparts.

In Malaysia, the University of Malaya (UM) has successfully broken into the top 30 list. The nation’s oldest university was 20 spots ahead of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), which took the 49th place, up from 57th place a year earlier. Sowter highlighted that Malaysia’s focus on education and innovation is reflected in the improvements in ranking among the country’s top universities.

The other Asian countries featured in the top 300 are: Thailand with 11 universities, Pakistan with 10 universities, both Hong Kong and Indonesia with 7 universities respectively, Philippines with 4 universities, Bangladesh with 2 universities, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Vietnam and Macau with 1 university each.


Note: The QS Asia University Rankings grades the top 300 tertiary education institutions in Asia on nine key performance indicators, including academic reputation (30%), employer reputation (10%), faculty/student ratio (20%), citations per paper (15%), papers per faculty (15%), proportion of international faculty (2.5%) and students (2.5%), and the proportion of inbound (2.5%) and outbound exchange students (2.5%).

Education The Gateway For Growth For Indonesia

A recent World Bank report highlighted that Indonesia is currently facing a developmental crossroad. It has now grown to one the world’s 20 largest economies in the world and aims to be the top 10 largest economies globally by 2030; certainly bold and bodacious goals. Looking at growing major trends and developments not only in Indonesia but also the region – particularly a growing middle class, rapid urbanization, strong growth in the region and an opening up of regional markets in Southeast Asia with the Asian Economic Corridor (AEC) – this has resulted in new challenges as well as strong opportunities for Indonesia, especially in the country’s education sector.

Critical to be competitive

Indonesian female students

The World Bank believes that having a skilled labor force would be crucial to leverage on the country’s existing opportunities. The World Bank further adds,

“Without the right skills, opening up to ASEAN may pose a problem more than an opportunity [whereby] without the right skills or urban migrants, urbanization will not bring about the benefits of scale. [If youths don’t possess the right skills,] the growing demand for higher quality products and services may be met by importing them rather than increasing the value added of Indonesian firms.”

It is clear that for Indonesia future’s success, the country will need to have a serious look at improving its state of education – simplifying access to all levels of education and improved parity of graduate skills to its future labor requirements.

While general unemployment rates in Indonesia has been on a downward trend in recent years (ranging from 6-9& over recent years, and 5.9% in 2014), it is increasingly worrying to note that unemployment rate is highest among high school and higher education graduates (aged between 12 – 24 years old). In fact, the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 – 24 is alarmingly far above the national average. Fresh graduates from high schools, colleges and vocational schools are finding it difficult to secure a job in the national workforce. Read more