Thank God, the Pakistani higher education system just got passing marks in the QS World University Ranking 2020 released this week. Among the seven universities in this globally trustworthy database, three successfully maintained their status quo; however, four showed marginal improvements. Collectively, we performed better than neighboring India, having 24 of their higher education institutes in this global system of ranking reduced to 23. Importantly, also maintained two of our universities in top 500 list like the previous year, whereas India lost one of their higher education institute in this list. China added two more universities in the prestigious QS World University list bringing their number to 42 compared to 40 in the previous year list of top 1000. Brotherly country Malaysia intrigued the world by adding seven universities in their list of 13 in the last year comes with a total number 20. Among the 20, one university making its position in the list is Universiti Malaysia Pahang, where I had an opportunity to spend a year and a half, had the first-hand experience of miraculous developments in their educational system recognized across the globe. Though, I had a chance to teach across the world, however, the level of learning, academic governance and overall university management at Pahang was just a lifetime experience.

To quote an excerpt from one of my regular contributions in the “the Nation” a well-circulated newspaper in the country. “During the upcoming visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, there will be several agenda items to be discussed between the two country leaders, however, as an academician, I will humbly request the PM Imran Khan and his team to establish a strong and viable collaboration in the area of higher education. This humble submission is based on the evaluations of my lifelong learning and teaching experiences across the world.” The said article got published on 18th November 2018 entitled “PM visit to Malaysia and higher education” (https://nation.com.pk/18-Nov-2018/pm-visit-to-malaysia-and-higher-education). I would like to reiterate my assertion that one should always learn from the winning teams in comfortable environments.

As a patriot, during my stay in Malaysia, I regularly conveyed to the former higher education leadership team both at the Federal and Provincial levels in Punjab only that Malaysia is a better partner in educational improvements. However, always received a positive cold response. It seems we have some doubts about the Malaysian higher education system. The Malaysia current curriculum and instructional methodologies can be debatable; however, based on my personal experience, I can unequivocally vow that Learning Management System of the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education is the best one in the world. This is based on my professional accomplishments in academic leadership and teaching experience gained through serving across the globe. Importantly, the US government recognized my intellectual efforts with outstanding scientists visa for which preliminary eligibility is to be an awardee of the Nobel Prize or equivalent contributions manifested through various national and international awards.

If we look deeply into the underlying facts that put Malaysian higher education system on the limelight, it is due to well-orchestrated National Economic Development Plan linked with National Educational Plan, and academic excellence observed from the grassroots. The primary and secondary school enrolment is based on evaluating students’ aptitudes, proper advisement linked with national economic gains. Like Pakistan, Malaysia has seen several upheavals; however, they always thrive with more strength and excellence. Historically, Malaysia achieved independence in the year 1957 from British (having commonality of rulers with Pakistan in the past). This followed with the accession of states like Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore with Malaysia. However, Malaysia lost Singapore in 1965, giving birth to another prosperous country having the best education system in the Asian Peninsula. This nation has a geographical and ethnic diversity among the total population exceeding 30 million with 20 universities in top 1000 list. Contrary Pakistani population exceeding 200 million still banking on seven universities globally competing at relatively lower levels. Incidentally, it is essential to mention that the Malaysian Education Minister is either from a former teaching community or receive ultimate intellectual support from higher education academic leaders.

In evaluating Pakistan and Malaysian higher education systems among the ~ 69 recognized higher education institutes for ~30 million population, 20 are competing for the world higher education systems and showing their prominence. Compared to Pakistan ~200 higher education institutes for a population of >200 million, only seven surfacing in the top 1000 list. Importantly, the best university in Pakistan is at position 375; China, 16; India, 152; and Malaysia, 70. In conclusions, I identify Malaysia as the place to go for collaboration, cooperation, and future learning for much-needed improvements in the education system of Pakistan.