Sunday, 15 September 2013

UiTM not worried about slide in QS World University-Rankings


September 14, 2013
Latest Update: September 14, 2013 11:51 pm

The vice-chancellor of Universiti Technologi Mara (UiTM) has slammed parties who criticised the university's decline in the list of world's best universities and called them short-sighted.

Tan Sri Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar said he was not perturbed that UiTM had slipped 100 places to 701 from last year's position of 601 in the list.

"UiTM had never asked to be evaluated in the list and one of the factors that must be taken into consideration is that the absence of international students has caused the university points.

"Where do we admit international students? We are committed to giving the maximum opportunities to the 200,000 local students who are studying at UiTM," he said.

UiTM is run exclusively for Bumiputera students.

He said universities which were listed in the list had only 20,000 students, so how was is it fair to compare those establishments with UiTM?

"UiTM offers diploma programmes and many of the lecturers only have qualifications of a basic degree. The number of lecturers with a doctorate is less than those with a degree.

"Therefore, we have lost points in this aspect. Our intent is to increase the number of semi-professional staff," he said.

He said UiTM was a different kettle of fish from other universities which were intent on chasing places and moving up the ladder in the international rankings.

"We are not a research university but are ranked. There are many other universities which are not in the list, therefore UiTM is considered good as we are on the same list with research institutions."

He also slammed irresponsible parties who bemoaned the university's slip down the rankings saying whoever complained about the slip was short-sighted.

"When you are ill-informed, you talk a lot and people label you as dim-witted. Do your homework properly and then you will know the difference.

"Those who are not knowledgeable about rankings should keep quiet as only academicians should speak on the issue."

Asked about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's announcement on increasing the enrolment of students' into UiTM to 250,000, Sahol admitted it was a challenge.

"The current intake is already about 200,000 students. However, it can be done especially with the appropriate allocation of funds to accommodate the additional 50,000 students.

"Teaching manpower isn't a problem at UiTM as we have sufficient lecturers. The issue would be the comfort of the students due to the increase.

"The quality of students shouldn't be disputed as every department in the university is controlled and monitored by a professional body."

He said the engineering and medical divisions were recognised for five years unlike other renowned government universities which were only recognised for three years.

Earlier today, the government announced the establishment of a RM1 billion Mara Education Fund in the form of a "matching fund" to meet financial requirements for training programmes, education, entrepreneurship, research and development and innovation.

Announcing measures to empower Bumiputera Economy, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the fund will be channelled in stages, with a one-to-one ratio between the government and MARA.

He said the government will increase skills upgrading programmes for youths with low academic and skills qualifications to provide them a second chance so that they will have more opportunities to get a job.

This initiative is among the focus to develop Bumiputera human capital, he said.

Najib also said re-skilling programmes for Bumiputera youths will also be increased. - September 14, 2013.

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