In this day and age when everyone is obsessed with climbing up rankings – in everything from global tennis to human development status – it is no surprise that universities and colleges have jumped into the fray.
Some interesting articles about US college rankings — by US News and World Report — can be found in Inside Higher Ed such as the one here.
Another article ‘Using Foucault to Deconstruct Rankings’ suggests that rankings could be forcing deans to focus on the wrong things. Universities may be rejecting good ideas on improving the quality of education in favour of other activities that could bump up their rankings.
This is referred to as “gaming” the rankings system.
What has this got to do with Malaysia?
Well, local universities have got into the act; look at their obsession now in trying to climb the THES ranking. The talk is that at least one local university may have hired a consultant to see how it can improve its ranking.
Other local universities many be looking into this as well – in exactly the same way as covered in the Insider Higher Ed piece — that is, trying to “game” the items used to score the rankings.
Instead of focusing on real improvements in quality of research and staffing, these universities seem to be trying to master the art of rankings gamesmanship to rise up the charts.