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.