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Malaysia sweeps public, private ASEAN rankings

Universities across Malaysia have garnered success in a big way in the latest ASEAN private university rankings, as well as new public university rankings. 

Malaysia's universities comprised six of the top ten private universities, and four of the top ten public institutions. Photo: Pexels

This is the first year that AppliedHE has included a public university ranking in its system

AppliedHE, which was spearheaded by QS veterans and aims to disrupt the rankings sphere, saw Malaysian institutions clinch the top spot in both tables, with six in the top 10 in the private university ranking and four in the public table. 

The number one public university was the National University of Malaysia, based in Bangi, and the number one private institution was Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur.

“Malaysian universities perform consistently well across all indicators,” according to Pieter Stek, special adviser at AppliedHE. 

[Malaysia’s performance] is likely related to resources. Malaysia has relatively high income levels and a large, internationally competitive higher education sector which brings in additional funding. 

“For their size, Singapore and Brunei also perform exceptionally well,” Stek told The PIE. 

Brunei saw two of its 11 universities in the rankings. Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Universiti Teknologi Brunei came eighth and ninth in the Public Universities Top 20. 

Singapore’s National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University came second and fourth in the same ranking.

Some 40 universities originally submitted data for the ranking, with data also compiled for non-reporting universities from public sources, including media coverage and research output.

“For other data, such as students’ views of teaching and learning and community engagement, as well as employability, we used estimates based on data submitted by other universities or national statistics,” Stek added. 

This is the first year that AppliedHE has included a public university ranking in its system – something which, Stek said, was always the intention since the rankings’ inception.

“The important thing to note is that we rank public and private universities separately, which we believe better represents their different missions and funding models,” Stek noted. 

“For their size, Singapore and Brunei also perform exceptionally well”

In both separate rankings, also featuring heavily was Indonesia, whose institutions took sixth and tenth to twelfth in the private table, and third, eleventh to thirteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and eighteenth in the public table. 

The rankings are chosen based on various factors – 40% is weighted on the quality of teaching and learning; 15-20% on employability; then factors such as community engagement, reputation, research and internationalisation.

“AppliedHE fills an important need in the global higher education evaluation landscape with a focus on quality of teaching and learning, and especially employment and future careers,” said Malaysian Qualifications Agency CEO Mohammad Shatar bin Sabran. 

“This makes [these rankings] especially relevant to Malaysian students and parents when making a decision on where to study,” he added. 

The top 10 for the private rankings was Sunway, Krirk University (Thailand), USCI University (Malaysia), Taylor’s University (Malaysia), Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur, Bina Nusantara University (Indonesia), Asia Metropolitan University (Malaysia), Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS(Malaysia), Paragon International University (Cambodia) and Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia

In the public ranking, the top 10 was UKM, NUS, IPB University (Indonesia), Nanyang, Mahidol University (Thailand), University Putra Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Universiti Teknologi Brunei, and Universiti Sains Malaysia.

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