Sunday, June 11, 2017

University Sour Grapes?

I am sure you would have read my following posts:

(1) Red-dots' academic excellence which tells us how both Sing and five Hongkie universities are among the World's top. I was personally amazed by the latter. 

(2) Why our universities are jokes which directed you to
 my BolehTalk post Why Malaysian universities are disgraceful

And in that BolehTalk post there is an Asia Sentinel article titled The Disgrace of Malaysian University Education, written by Murray Hunter.

In above 2nd post, the focus was on the corruption, pilfering and profiting by some of those people responsible for running our universities. You would have to decide whether the sheer shameful sickening corrupt practices had adversely affected the standards of our universities.

I wasn't in the least surprised when I recently read authored claims from "some" quarters that the World Universities Ranking have been a scam and thus we should evaluate the rankings of Malaysian universities ourselves.

Has the imputation been that our universities are "actually" doing great or even better than those Red-Dot CinaBengs' universities?

I read one of those allegations of scam with great disappointment as it wrestled with its own questions on unreliable data collection for university rankings. As an analogy that World Rankings are untrustworthy, it then used or cherry-picked a (ONE) failed financial rating to shore up his arguments.

It's like saying forecasts by the Japanese Meteorological Bureau have been totally useless because in 2011 a tsunami, though predicted but which turned out to be much bigger than expected, destroyed Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, killed nearly 16,000 with 2,500 still missing.

The damage in Fukushima in terms of dollars to Japan was more than US$300 Billion, mind, still less than what was wasted in Malaysia over a 22-year period.

BESUT, June 10 — The report on the five research universities in the country in the top one per cent of the world rankings was conducted professionally and non-random, says Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

He said Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Ranking was made based on reports from 75,000 academics and 40,000 employers, 12.3 million publications and 75.1 million citations and analysed from bibliometric database Scopus/Elsevier.

“Since the establishment of research university 10 years ago, the quality of the universities have improved and show potential to rival other top universities in the world,” he told reporters after speaking at a charity programme by the Puspanita branch of the higher education ministry at Masjid Hadhari in Jertih here today.

Idris refuted claims by some parties on social media that questioned the way QS conducted its ranking and that they were made not adhering to the rules.

“QS ranking is not something we should argue about because it is issued by those who have no vested interest,” he said.

Well, at least Idris Jusof has been honest in refuting the preposterous claims by sour grapes.

As I told Brother Hasan (one of my regular blog visitors), "Look at the World rankings [there are two, by QS and Times of London] and see which universities are among the Top 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or even 100 and you can then decide whether those rankings are false and unfair to Malaysian unis."

But it's more the self mutilation by our university people through their corrupt pilfering that frightens and disgusts me. They are destroying the future of our Youth.

As Asia Sentinel reported: 
World Bank economist Dr Frederico Gil Sander recently said that the collapse of higher education in Malaysia has grown so marked that the state of the system is more alarming than the country’s considerable public debt.

The talent needed to develop the Malaysian economy is not being produced.


  1. Is studying at the world's lowest ranking university a waste of money? Because the qualification from the university is inferior? It is indeed an unavoidable bias! No?

    The danger of such ranking is that it would be used to besmirch the reputation and damning the achievements of lower-ranked universities by people like Murray Hunter and unfortunately imprimatur-ised by KT..(for political reasons perhaps). Wakakaka..

    Mind you.. many people did not go to Sing unis or work in Goldman Sachs but are doing and living a comfortable if not better lives.

    The priority of any government is to getting as many people to the university as possible. Those  who have managed to Ivy all the way should be in the academia and become the Deans and VCs of universities especially in the lower-ranking one.

    1. rankings give students and parents a choice - are you against that?

      but you have NOT commented at all on the disgraceful criminal seditious pilfering at large in our world of universities

    2. Once we were working on a joint venture to establish a College. We were talking to a college in UK and the stake holders came to view the proposed campus (not shop lots). We signed an agreement. We arranged for a RM20 million loan with a bank for working capital. We arranged for lecturers from UK. We discussed with Pemandu. We discussed with MOHE. We have many many meetings with its officials. Akhir cerita..  we just gave up. Que sera sera.. enough said.

    3. "Those  who have managed to Ivy all the way should be in the academia and become the Deans and VCs of universities especially in the lower-ranking one"

      That's exactly why lah! Should, but never, Cakap tak serupa mikin

  2. local uni is reserved for the poor that need so called decent education, like national car, u cant have both affirmative action n excellent result at the same time. as long as msian make enough money to send our kids for overseas education, i think that is fine. we can still have both the best policy in the world, many r jealous of our success.

    under najib, there is no pilfering n corruption, kt n world bank r talking kok.

    that said, i think language bias play a big part in the ranking, though i admit i dun go thru the methodology of measurement, that's y many spore, hk uni r at top.

  3. The QS Rankings are a metric.
    No More, no Less. It says something, but Don't get too fixated on it, unless you are just trying to gain bragging rights. My Dick is Bigger than Yours.

    There are universities which focus on giving the best possible teaching and learning opportunities for its students, and actually make a great success of it, while showing very modest QS rankings.

    I deliberately quote a foreign case to avoid Malaysian politics. One good example is the City University of New York. It is a community university, focused on giving a university education to its student base, many of whom work part time, and come from less fortunate backgrounds.
    Modestly funded, nothing flashy, no fancy research laboratories, no big name Professors.
    They don't have research articles which get cited in Nature.

    Hence its QS Ranking is a very modest 550.

    However, there is no denying City University in New York has for years been doing an excellent job providing a path to a rigorous university degree and career opportunities for people who didn't have rich parents or rich benefactors and have to work while they study for their university degree.

    Nevertheless, the Corruption and Kleptocracy that haunts Bolehland's academia is to be condemned. It has been going on for a long time ,and is worsening due to unethical leadership right from the country's top .

    Musa Hitam, no friend of Mahathir, and no Opposition supporter, has openly compared Malaysia to Phillipines during the Marcos era, and is on the slope to failed state status.

    Serious problems are not being attended to because the top leadership is focused on saving itself from self-created Mega Scandals.

    1. The corruption within out society did not start yesterday, last year or even 10 years ago. It began more than 30 years ago, at a time when we rolling in oil wealth, where then money was no problem and financial largess by big shots were handed out willy nilly. Your matey Mahathir has a lot to answer for.

      As for the university rankings, as you said, it's a metric, but nonetheless a metric for measurement as to what progress our Malaysian uni have made compared to other Asian nations. If Malaysian unis do not want to see them, so be it. But it's not a crime nor a sin nor a bragging point to have your uni up there in the top 100.

    2. My point, on this flip side of this, it's not a crime or sin if your unit QS rankings up in the '00s.

      Plenty of universities which do a great job of educating and training their undergraduates have very modest QS rankings.

      You constantly fail to or deliberately pretend not to understand that your matey Najis is part of the CURRENT problem of falling Malaysian education standards and the accelerating fall.

    3. more your matey as you extolled mediocrity

    4. Typical snob still confusing QS rankings with educational excellence and modest QS rankings as mediocrity.

      What QS Rankings REALLY measure is Fame among academics (40% academic community survey input + 20% citation in academic journals =60%).

      Granted the majority of those with high QS rankings are well respected academically.
      But it does NOT translate into disdain for universities with modest QS rankings.

      Parents better be ready to do more research on the background and achievements of the universities than looking at the QS rankings, unless they have the wherewithal to insist on "Only Top 30 QS ranking universities for my child"

      As a result of their methodology, QS rankings have a tendency to be slanted towards

      a) English-speaking countries and English-medium universities as , like it or not, the current state of world academia is dominated by English-language academic publications , especially in Science and Technology-based fields.

      b) Old universities, typically over 100 years old.
      They have had decades, even centuries to build up their reputation.

      c) Universities with deep budgets, able to hire "Rock Star" staff, especially international academics and Nobel Prize winners.

      d) Universities with deep research budgets.
      A ground-breaking published research paper on how Ebola spreads or a breakthrough in high-speed computing, or a heavily cited paper on global warming, just as an example, will shoot you straight to the top.

      e) Universities from developed countries
      f) Universities from countries with a large academic population. People tend to give good ratings to institutions that they have knowledge of, that's human nature.

      If your institution doesn't fall into any of these categories, tough luck....snobs like Ktemoc will snort down at you....