The Tempinis diaries

September 14, 2008

Varsity hit by complacency

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , , — toru @ 10:01 am

Another side of UM. This ties in with my earlier post on the importance of soft factors.  It seems such soft factors are important not just to attract global talent but also for the morale of the students as well.

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Friday September 12, 2008
Varsity hit by complacency
I AM a student currently residing in Univer­siti Malaysia and would like to share what I believe is in the heart of many UM students. When the results of the apex university were announced, most of us were not surprised that Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) had bettered UM.

We believe that UM is still resting on its old laurels of glory and therefore has become complacent, not wanting to improve or develop itself. Residential colleges and faculties are settling for second best in aspects like infrastructure, quality of academic staff, etc.

The motto “Producing leaders since 1905” only holds true because we were the only university around at that time.

Firstly, despite being in the heart of KL, water supply is still inconsistent. Residential colleges 3rd, 4th and 7th have been suffering from severe water cuts as pipe repairs have not been carried out effectively.

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September 10, 2008

Cyndi and Patti: Then and Now

Filed under: music — toru @ 2:30 pm

It seems that this blog has slowly become a higher education blog! It wasn’t meant to be so. Anyway, for a non-serious post: a duet of Cyndi Lauper and Patti Labelle singing Time after Time in 1985 and 20 years later on VH1. Both women are amazing then and now.

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September 7, 2008

Saudis Lure Stanford and Cambridge

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 2:01 pm

The Saudis seem to be racing ahead under the leadership of Shih Choon Fong from NUS (and also big money from oil, of course).

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September 6, 2008

Why Choose USM over UM?

On further research and reflection, I am coming round to the view that the conferral of apex status on USM over UM is a mistake. I did an ISI Web of Knowledge search this morning using the all databases section. This database search includes the highly respected Web of Science database which contains high impact scientific journals. Here are my findings when I typed in the following terms under the “address” field:

1. “University of Malaya” – results – 1,679 hits

2. “Malaya” – results –  7,076 hits

3. “University Sains Malaysia” – results – 160 hits

4. “sains malaysia” – results – 4,010 hits

5. “science malaysia” – results – 1 hit

6. “National University of Singapore” – results – 10,278 hits

7. “Singapore” – results –  79,679 hits

8. “Nanyang Technological University” – results – 1,586 hits

9. “Nanyang” – 20,032

Based on this very simple and primitive search, my impression is that USM is currently very far behind UM in terms of international reputation and publication record. In academia, the crude maxim of “publish or perish” still rings true. A university’s rankings and reputation is only as good as its publications and research. Based on the figures, USM still has a long way from catching up with UM, let alone placing in the top 100 universities in five years time.

I should add a qualification that I could be wrong, of course.  If USM’s “hits” were more recent than UM, then this could indicate an up and coming institution (USM) as compared to one resting on its laurels (UM).

Now the interesting question is whether Khaled Nordin and his Ministry of Higher Education do a proper analysis of these figures before conferring apex status to USM?

September 5, 2008

USM gets Apex Status and Extra Funding

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 4:39 pm

Somehow, I am slightly uneasy about this. By giving USM all this extra funding, the government is undermining the status of the oldest university in Malaysia, University of Malaya. Does this spell the end of the road for UM? I hope this strategy of putting all eggs in one basket, i.e. USM, will work.

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Thursday September 4, 2008
USM gets apex status
By SIMRIT KAUR and KAREN CHAPMAN

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).
Announcement time: Khaled flanked by deputies Dr Hou Kok Chung (right) and Datuk Idris Haron with a copy of the statement announcing USM as the country’s first apex university.

“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.

What an Idiot!

Filed under: Uncategorized — toru @ 4:31 pm

What an idiot!
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Friday September 5, 2008

Ahmad: Why should I apologise?

By ANDREA FILMER

GEORGE TOWN: Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail has refused to apologise over his racist remark calling the Chinese community “immigrants who do not deserve equal rights”.

“Why should I apologise? I didn’t do anything wrong. Those who do wrong should apologise but I haven’t done anything,” Ahmad said when The Star met him outside his Bayan Baru office yesterday.

He, however, refused to comment on whether the press misquoted him.

Sounding calm and collected on the phone, he said a full statement on what transpired would be released after a Penang Umno liaison meeting tomorrow.

Man in the news: Ahmad gesturing as he replies to a question in Bayan Baru yesterday. He said he had been leading a sepak takraw team to a tournament in Bangkok.

He added that he would not say much at present, but wanted to clear up the issue of reporting to the police.

Police are currently investigating five reports lodged against Ahmad under the Sedition Act 1948 for uttering the remarks at a ceramah on the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election.

He said there were reports of his going to the Bukit Mertajam police station on Wednesday night (to make a statement).

“I want to make it clear that I never told anyone or informed anyone that I would be there. It was their assumption,” he said.

Ahmad recorded a statement at the police contingent headquarters in Penang Road at about 10pm the same night while pressmen from television, online and print media were waiting for him on the mainland.

Asked where he had been over the last few days, Ahmad confirmed that he had been leading a sepak takraw team to a tournament in Bangkok.

“My phone has been on and off, but a lot of my anak buah (supporters) have been calling me, so maybe that’s why it has been hard to get through,” he said.

On the alleged misappropriation of funds involving now-defunct company Popular Profile Sdn Bhd (PPSB), Ahmad said he had resigned before any action was taken on the company.

“This issue has nothing to do with me. Action is taken on a company, not on a personal capacity. Moreover, I resigned from the company on Sept 1, 1998. What happened after that, I don’t know.

“The Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) shouldn’t be using his political muscle and power to attack me,” he said, adding that he would not say more on the land deal until he had checked the details.

Lim had recently attacked Ahmad on a 1997 land deal involving PPSB, in which Ahmad had been a director. Lim alleged that the company had cheated the state of RM500,000 in a deal involving 4.2ha of industrial land in Bukit Minyak.

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