Thursday, January 29, 2009

why Malaysian Universities are not in the top 50

Caution: this entry is merely an opinion. it may full with grammatical errors. if any of you has anything to say related to the topic, please kindly leave comments in comment column.

whenever the latest list of world university is out, all of sudden concern for our universities is increasing like hell. then after few weeks when there is another bigger news, people forget the list thingy. thing i hate the most is when politicians start to politicized the issue 'why our varsity fail to be listed in top 100'. these politicians are useless, because in their mind is all about how to win election but completely forgot about the next generation.

ok fast forward... i dont really know what criteria they use to crown world top university. but i think the number of current post graduates (phd) and publications are counted. one thing in Malaysia, most universities merely rely on Gov.'s grant to carry on research. we know such grants are extremely limited. well i bet those researchers in doubt to use their own money to do their own research. plus it is almost impossible to research without proper funding. for example, in biotechnology, they need all kind of machines and chemicals to do research. and those stuff are not cheap. so without funding, it is almost impossible.

so i think private sector may start giving more grants to do research. and i know by saying private sector, then those researches should have commercial value. thus, non commercial field like where i am now is hardly rewarded with private grant. but an international bank has been kindly sponsoring conservation effort in Malaysia. from what i know, not long ago, foreign Gov.s such as Japan, Denmark had been sponsoring some research programs in Malaysia.

so first issue, not enough funding to do research. no research means no publication. no publication means not get enough credit to be in top 100.. agree????

second issue would be, politic, politic, politic

i dont know whether this is just happen in Malaysia or all over the world. rumours say (in Malaysia rumour is more likely true) in order to be in top university post, a person (or academician) need to be 'well connected'. agree?? if we want our varsity to excel, than leave the academic business to academician. so politicians please stick with politic.

i know when you are leader of academic institution it will require you to have multi-ability. i dont really care if 'well-connected' person picked to be the head of academic institution, as long as the chosen leader is fit to the post, and elected not merely he/she is 'well connected' but because he/she is qualify. i guess no need for me to write more about the crossing point of academic and politic because it may cause me trouble.

third issue, bureaucracy???

i never study abroad. so if any of you do, please kindly share your opinion. here, whenever a department need to buy a book or machine, or lab apparatus, or bus or whatever, first tender must be opened, bid here bid there. than may be (i say may be) band of cash is thrown under the desk. then the head of dept. on holiday. then the clerk forgot to stamp the tender form. finally the department can get the book. see... hard.. a freshman needs the book for study, but the book is only available on the shelf of library on his/her graduation day.

i know this kind of complaint is outdated already; not enough references for student. library need to seek advice from faculty or school before subscribing journals or buying books or any reference. if library and school or faculty are moving in nonparallel way, than library may subscribed journals that are not favoured by students or faculty. first wasting money. second wasting money. third nobody win.

references are plenty but just for display. faculty or school, too need to play role, by suggesting to library to buy or subscribe reference their want. when i say faculty or school need to play role, please refer to the second issue (academic and politic).

i conclude 3 causes;

1. not enough funding to do research
2. politic, politic, politic
3. bureaucracy

so in order to increase our ranking, first publish more research paper, second offer more field (explore more research), third work harder (too many holiday in Malaysia, so we must work harder when we are not on holiday). you may agree, you may add, you may not agree 100%.

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