Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Graphical Analysis of UM's position in the THES Rankings

It seems to me that the Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya (UM), Professor Datuk Dr Hashim Yaacob, is taking the THES university rankings very seriously, and Dr. Hashim is using it as an absolute measure of the performance of his university. However, as suggested by Education in Malaysia, it is now believed that UM was incorrectly positioned in the 89th place last year. To have the situation studied analytically, I decided to put the tables in a graph, so that the consistency of the methods used by THES can be statistically validated.

Assuming constant populations of foreign lecturers and students, and using the scores for international faculty and international students for the year 2005, it can be extrapolated that the correct position for UM in 2004 should be at about 250, instead of 89. If this is the case, UM is making a significant improvement by hopping from 250 to 169, as compared to our cousin, NUS, whose position remained relatively unchanged.

As for the challenge put forward by the Najib Razak, it can be seen from the graph that it is not difficult to rise to #50 by 2020 (provided that THES is still doing the survey), since the rate of increase in the range between 50 and 200 is linear, which is approximately 100 gains in rank per 6% increase in normalized score. The real challenge for UM, as it is clear from the graph, is to move up in the top 50 region, in which the rate of increase is factorial.

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