I refer to the statement made by the Second Education Minister, Idris Jusoh that Malaysia’s higher education system is on a par with those in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany. I would like to first of all point out that this statement was made not on the merits usually attached to determining the standards of any particular University, but rather on flimsy numbers and data that are not supported by proper reasoning.
Having our universities attract more international students is a welcomed trend and one which we should encourage, nevertheless it is too quick to compare ourselves with some of the world’s best varsities given the gulf in standards that are apparent even in the QS rankings.
The position that our varsities are in does not avail us the opportunity to be boastful, but rather it should create an impetus for us to improve. If our universities are indeed moving up the rankings, then we should be looking to sustain this development and not be content with whatever achievement one year has brought. Remember that the University of Malaya was once much higher in the rankings, but the inability to maintain the required quality has dented its reputation.
The main aim of our higher education system should be to produce students who are of high quality that can contribute back to the nation. Let us focus on ensuring that we retain our best talents by setting high standards of our universities and let the quality speak for itself, rather than boast about having a certain number of international students in Malaysia.