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26-10-2010 18:31

Nobel dream for varsities

THE Higher Education Ministry will develop the quality of research in public universities to ensure that a Malaysian wins the prestigious Nobel Prize.

However, deputy minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said no target had been set for the country to produce a winner.

“It is hard to place a deadline to win such a prestigious prize. What is more important (for the ministry) is our KPI requires us to provide university education to all,” Saifuddin told Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping), who asked whether the ministry had plans for a Malaysian to win a Nobel Prize in any category by 2020 .

Earlier, Saifuddin told Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Bukit Bendera) that the QS World University Rankings (QS WUR) should not be used as the sole yardstick to judge the standards of local universities.

“The criteria used in the WUR, especially those that place emphasis on the percentage of international students, do not reflect the country’s priority to its own citizens,” said Saifuddin.

Liew had asked how the Government planned to improve the capabilities of public universities after Universiti Malaya (UM) dropped from 180th to 207th in the 2010 QS rankings.

Saifuddin said the ministry was aware of the drop in UM’s ranking but added rankings for local universities fluctuated several times in 2010.

“For example, Universiti Sains Malaysia rose from 314th to 263rd, Universiti Putra Malaysia rose from 345th to 319th, UTM remained at 320th, while Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia dropped from 291st to 309th,” said Saifuddin.

He said the ministry was taking steps to improve the quality of public universities, such as increasing the student-lecturer ratio and revising the course curriculum.

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