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USM is a loser

USM is having sour grape and “jaguh kampung” mindset.

When USM was in the top 200 ranking in QS ranking, they accepted it. When they are kicked out from top 200 later, USM blamed QS ranking is worthless and absurd.

Our varsities good, no matter what others say

I READ with disbelief “Hard work pays dividend for UM” (The Star, Oct 11), where the writer says that “USM … is a real disappointment and certainly did not live up to its (Apex) status.”

I am a lecturer at USM’s School of Education and I guess the time has come for us to follow USM’s motto – “We Lead” – and start educating the Malaysian public about The Times Higher Education Ranking, or any other ranking for that matter, and help people to realise what an absurd ranking it is.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/10/12/focus/4887114&sec=focus

I quote Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin at the International Exposition of Research and Invention of Institutions of Higher Learning 2009 awards ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre: “We should not relate Apex too much with the THE-QS rankings. Apex isn’t meant solely for ranking purposes and we expect it to show results after 2010.”

Mohamed Khaled added that although the ministry was pleased that Universiti Malaya (UM) had improved 50 spots from last year to finish at 180, it was too soon to have another Apex university.

A quote by Times: “We do not pretend to be able to capture all of the intangible nuances of what it is that makes a university so special, and we accept that there are some criticisms of our methodology.

“These rankings are meant to be the starting point for discussions about institutions’ places in the rapidly globalising world – and how that is measured and benchmarked – not the end point. We encourage that discussion.”

At the same time, we should perhaps start getting the public involved in the various objectives of the Higher Education Ministry’s targets for our institutions of higher education.

We, at USM, decided some time ago that it is irrelevant for us to be caught up in the mythology, that is, the THESR (or any other rankings for that matter), and to instead focus on how we might serve the people of Malaysia and the world in a way that will not just stimulate the intellectual and moral growth of our people, but to also serve the less fortunate and less able.

Whether we are number 1 or number 1,000 on the superfluous and biased rankings of the THESR, we do not care.

Google, “Meaning of the THESR” or “Pros and Cons of the THESR” and you will find that 95% of the world have similar comments about the THESR, and no defence by the top 50 universities.

One would assume that most people of the world will not believe or should laugh at a survey that has a response rate of about 1%, from the 190,000 survey forms and emails issued.

UM, and USM, and all the other Malaysian universities that did or did not “go down in rankings”, are great in their own right and do not need rankings to reinforce this.

Dr THEVANANTHAN NITHYANANTHAM,
Penang.

The nkkhoo.com comment board with Facebook account.