Thursday, September 04, 2008

USM chosen as Apex University

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has been granted the Apex University status by Ministry of Higher Education.

Hopefully that this initiative can really help Malaysia to have 1 world-class university!

2 articles from The Star on this. It's here and here . Both articles are fully quoted below.

PUTRAJAYA: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has been granted apex status. With it, USM can expect hundreds of millions of ringgit in additional funding to transform it into Malaysia's first world-class university.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that quantitative and qualitative criteria were used to select USM under the accelerated programme for excellence (apex).

“The selection committee evaluated each university's state of readiness, transformation plan and preparedness for change.

“After a thorough evaluation, the committee decided that only one university truly met all the criteria, namely USM,'' he told a press conference yesterday.

The Cabinet had agreed to USM being given the apex status on Aug 27.

The university that is given apex status is one that has the greatest potential among Malaysian universities to be world-class, and as such, would be given additional assistance to compete with top-ranked global institutions, added Khaled.

He said with apex status, USM will be expected to move up the World University Rankings with a target of top 200 in five years' and top 100, if not top 50, by 2020.

In last year’s Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, Universiti Malaya (UM) was the highest ranked Malaysian university at 246, followed by USM (307), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (309) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (364).

A selection committee headed by former Universiti Malaysia Sarawak vice-chancellor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohamad Zawawi Ismail short-listed USM, UM, UKM and UPM.

USM's transformation plan, entitled “Transforming Higher Education for a Sustainable Tomorrow” focussed, among other things, on diagnostics, medical biotechnology, waste management, pharmaceuticals, nano-technology, membrane technology and vaccines.

Asked why UM was not selected, Khaled said: “I hope the apex status will spur other universities to strive for excellence, too. It's not about selecting the oldest university but choosing one with a doable plan that can help us transform our higher education.”

The other universities that applied for apex status were International Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Petronas and Universiti Tenaga Nasional.

PUTRAJAYA: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is grateful for any additional help towards becoming the first Malaysian university to attain world-class status.

“It is a good birthday present as USM is turning 40 next year,” said its vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak of the government's decision to grant USM apex status.

He added that the university’s transformation plan was put in place six years ago.

Prof Dzulkifli added that the university planned to use its autonomy to improve three critical areas – talent, resources and governance.

“We would like to have our own charter like other autonomous universities,” he said.

In terms of funding, Prof Dzulkifli said USM has asked for an additional RM830mil for 2009–2013.

UM vice-chancellor Datuk Rafiah Salim congratulated USM on its achievement.

“Of course, we are disappointed not to be chosen based on our track record of transforming UM to become the top-ranked local university within two years.”

However, she said, UM will continue with its transformation plan, “with or without apex status”.

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