Friday, November 04, 2005

Once Bitten ... Twice Not Shy!

When I first read YB Lim Kit Siang's blog today, I thought that my eyes were failing me. Was I seeing the same billboards which so peeved me while I was driving around UM during my summer break - except that it had recently been "updated"? I couldn't believe that the UM VC had the audacity to paste the latest THES rankings over last year's ranking, this time "proclaiming" that UM is in the top 100 in biomedical sciences, social sciences and humanities and that UM is among the top 200 universities in the world. I would have thought that as a part-time poet, he would understand the phrase 'once-bitten, twice-shy'.

Apparently not. Didn't the whole debacle about UM dropping from 89 to 169 warn him about the variability of the THES rankings? UM could easily fall out of the top 100 in these subject rankings. Indeed, the methodology for these subject rankings are so vague as to make the variability even greater and hence more suspect. The subcategory rankings are only based on peer reviews and citations score. What if UM falls out of the rankings in these subject rankings next year? The fact that the VC once again pub

licized these subject rankings ensures that he can be made to account for them next year.

Sadly, my sense is that there will always be something in the THES rankings that VC can 'boast' about. This is because it is in THES interest to be more 'inclusive' in terms of having more countries represented rather than less. Given the fact that UM is the leading university in country, it is likely to feature in the top 100 or top 200 in one of the THES rankings, whether it is the overall rankings or the subject rankings.

The VC's tactics is typical of someone who's fighting for his short-term survival. As long as he can 'escape' the recent attacks on him by subterfuge, in this case, subject rankings, he can live to fight another day. Meanwhile, the long term decline of our premier public university continues.


Bigjoe99 said...

You are abosulutely right about the guy idiocy. As a matter of statistics, UM ranking can only fall further. You want to know why? China, India and East European countries.

These countries have underinvested for a long time and only began reinvesting in the universities again in maybe less than 5 years or China slightly more. They have a tradition of excellence that was just neglected by lack of investment not system wised. So by virtual fact of just pouring money into their universities, they should just push UM here lower and lower in a medium term.

I visited a couple of university in Eastern Europe several years ago and I was amazed at the students there. They had little or nothing in terms of facilities like in India and yet these people were capable of inventing things that top students/faculty from NUS and Taiwan now still cannot do today.

My prediction is that within 5 years or sooner UM should fall out of 200 ranking easily.

Gentleman, welcome to the real world.

Anonymous said...

Hahah Bigjoe99 I wonder what is our reaction will be if he is still not fired by that time. I mean he practically is being dishonest, no integrity and makes a big mockery out of I dont know either of himself (which I dont mind) or the people in Malaysia.

It is already the biggest sin for not firing this guy,(total dilbert principle). Now that is the real world where unfair practises runs and the most incompetent rules.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand what is the big fuss about the decline in UM ranking. I can understand why UM VC still celebrating after seeing UM ranked 169 in the world in THES. Since UM was never a world class university, he must celebrate everytime THES rank it amount the top 200. To be a top university, it has to be a leader of a field (any field). Can anyone tell me what field UM is the leader? Does anyone there doing any cutting edge research work? Research as in with originality, not those that copy other people stuffs (mmm.... what is it called in UM? invention! which won medals!)

UM academia hardly published in any world class journal, i.e. Nature/Science. The lecturer there has a brain of a peanut!. One of its lecturer, Assoc Prof Dr Iskandar Idris Yaacob, wrote to the TheStar online, (In defence of local lecturer, StarEducation, July 31) saying that Nobel laureates have not published in Nature and Science. That is his defence for not able to publish in world class journal! As a matter of fact that statement is totally untrue. So you tell me, how can UM be a top university in the world.

As far as I know, UM only good at teaching undergraduate (not sure whether that statement still true today). Being a good teaching institution doesn't make it a world top university (maybe a world top college or polytechnique) but definately not top university. So to stay on as world top, maybe the VC can consider changing UM name to College Melaya.

Anonymous said...

To distinguish oneself between a University and a teaching institution or a college, is the research. Research should be the primary driving force. Unfortunately for poor o Malaysia they are willing to blur the line in that sense because of 3 main reasons
1) No industry sponsorship, too much trouble and not feasible.
2) Many bussinesses in Malaysia dont think research is financially sound and has not direct monetary values, hence no use to them at all.
3) People in the so called University has no capability to even start a decent one.

So that is why you have people like Dr Iskandar defending themselves saying that they are doing their best they can in TEACHING. Since teaching is the most tangible, fastest money making and of course easiest to claim credit from.
Like what you have said being good in teaching does not even come close as being a university, definitely not being the top. Assuming that they are good in undergrad teaching. The syallabus in undergrad are most of the time mere regurgitation and less of understanding, of course it is not cutting edge. New things are introduced upon grad levels(Masters and PhD). So if this keep going on the course as it is, you will have a mass of Malaysians, jobless because they simply cannot meet the employer standards. The employer review on this uni is 0 by the way.
In order to fill this void the goverment will create extra positions and jobs to allow these people to fill in. So this is where all hell break loose as the quality of services goes literally into the ditch. That is a scary thought indeed in the years to come.

PS: I heard the VC is a dentist from holding a UM degree itself.

Disclaimer: Yes I know there are some few exceptional people from UM which are genuinely smart and dilligent. Kudos to those who really strive for excellence in the unfair environment in UM where privellege group gets it all. But on the grand scheme, they failing the education level in our country to a level of unthinkable shame.

Annabelle said...

The reason why the administration of UM updated the billboard and boasting about other minor achievement in THES ranking and its achievement as one of world's 200 universities is because UM knew the level of stupidity of its students. The facts that none of its students knew anything about THES, its ranking and the facts that nothin can be done or said by them make it easier for UM to do what they want of the bilboard. I wouldnt be suprise if majority of UM students together celebrating and really believe what the bilboard said. What do you expect when you have a repressive laws on university and when pig breding pigs.

Anonymous said...

For that I say Takziah kepada Kecermerlangan *sigh*.