UM jumps straight into the top 100 Asian universities ranking

Beatrice Nita Jay

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the greatest potential to become the leading higher education hub in the region in the coming year.

In the 2017 Asia University Rankings by Times Higher Education (THE), the country now has seven universities listed in the top 200 and another two in the top 300.

Universiti Malaya (UM), a newcomer, jumped instantly into the top 100, breaking into the list at 59th placing.

“UM is the nation’s new number one institution. It occupies the 59th place overall despite taking part for only the first time this year.

“The data showed that it has a particularly strong international outlook when compared with other leading universities in the continent; it ranks 20th when measured on this indicator alone,” the report said.

UM vice-chancellor Tan Sri Prof Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin said that international students now made up 18 per cent of the institution’s total enrolment, up from five per cent in 2000, and that about 20 per cent of its academics came from abroad.

“Forty per cent of the university’s research papers are published with international collaborators,” he said, adding that the university’s high impact programme, which ran from 2011 to 2016, has transformed the research culture among academics and postgraduate students.

UM which was founded in 1905 was the first university established in Malaysia and it one of the oldest institutions in the Southeast Asian region.

“This history has given us the time to build a strong reputation and brand new name. However, the key element of its success is that it is always willing to change and transform in accordance to time and needs,” he said.

Dr Amin also said that the institution is focusing on collaborations with the industry, which is already leading to a stronger research output and teaching quality.

“This ability to adjust and adapt has made UM more competitive and relevant,” he said.

Besides UM, University Tunku Abdul Rahman made it into the 111-120 band while University Teknologi Petronas (UTP) is in the 141-150 band.

The overall ranking was led by National University of Singapore for the second year in a row, followed by Beijing’s Peking University and Tsinghua University.