Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dr M: Varsity ranking slip caused by lack of quality teachers

PETALING JAYA, Sept 27 — Malaysian universities have constantly lagged behind in global rankings due to the lack of quality educators here, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed today.
According to the former prime minister, this was caused by Malaysia's over-zealousness in building tertiary institutions.
“My opinion is that if the institutions' developments become quicker, it will be harder to get teachers, professors, lecturers,” Dr Mahathir told reporters here.
“Maybe because we have been too hasty ... We don't have enough teachers. They are qualified, but maybe there are weaknesses.”
Dr Mahathir also joked when asked about the RM20 million paid by Putrajaya to consulting firm McKinsey Co for the recent National Education Blueprint.
“I can be their local expert, but they didn't let me,” he said, laughing.
Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told Parliament in a written reply this week that a RM20,556,400 fee was given to McKinsey in two phases for the National Education Blueprint (NEB), with the payments split into RM4,706,400 and RM15,860,000 respectively.
The National Education Blueprint, which was launched by Muhyiddin on September 6 this year, is a 15-year roadmap for the country’s education system that will cover the years from 2013 to 2025.
DAP MP Ong Kian Ming had criticised the spending on Tuesday, pointing out that the firm’s staff are not education specialists but merely general management consultants.
According to Ong, the project management office (PMO) could have asked other “high-powered” individuals from the Education Ministry and the government’s efficiency unit Pemandu to prepare the blueprint, instead of hiring external consultants.
Meanwhile, the rankings of world universities released by the QS World University Rankings recently showed that the rankings of Malaysian public universities generally continued to drop with only the University of Malaya (UM) remaining in the group of 200 top universities in the world this year.
Only seven Malaysian universities are in the group of 800, and only Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) showed a slight improvement from the 358th position in 2012 to 355th this year.
Universiti Malaya (UM) vice-chancellor Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon and Muhyiddin had defended the varsity's rankings this month, saying that fluctuating world ranking for a university is normal.
According to Ghauth, UM’s ranking fell because the number of evaluators increased by 35 per cent, with a majority of them unfamiliar with universities in the Asia Pacific region.
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