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Intake in public universities an example of cutting off the nose to spite the face

QS world university rankings for Malaysia Universities

I refer to a public statement from Higher Education Department director-general Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail said that public universities would have no space for students if everyone were to be enrolled.

If there is no space for Malaysian students, why a local public university based in Johor has the luxury to allocate 40% space to foreigners in the guise of achieving world-class university status.

Let’s take a quick look on how QS rates the university rankings based on 6 indicators.

1. Academic reputation (40%)
2. Employer reputation (10%)
3. Student-to-faculty ratio (20%)
4. Citations per faculty (20%)
5. International faculty ratio (5%)
6. international student ratio (5%)

Foreign or international student intake under international outlook only contributing 5% of total scores regardless the foreign student intake percentage is 40% or 90%.

Let take National University of Singapore (NUS) as our benchmarking study whom only take in 16% foreign students, but the university is ranked at 22nd place in QS world university rankings with good standing in the international outlook category. While on other hand, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) with an ambitious goal of taking in 40% foreign students only crawls at 294 place.

The point is do not cutting off the nose to spite the face to attain world university rankings by sacrificing university precious seats for local students for a minor indicator in any benchmarking study.

If our public universities want to achieve world-class standard, the focus should be on teaching, research and technical citation which is contributing to 90% of total scores, and not over emphasizing on foreign student intake just for the 5% scores.

At last, I urge BN government to cap the foreign student intake to maximum 15% and free up more seats for local students. Our public universities still can attain good rankings with 15% international students like the NUS if they know what the priorities are.

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