“Malaysia invests much more in tertiary education than its peers in the region,” the report said. “The government has increased public expenditure for higher education consistently over the years.”
Research and innovation capabilities in universities show signs of improving, but mostly in terms of quantity of publications rather than quality and impact. “Responsiveness to industry needs remains an area of concern, as is ensuring quality education in private universities,” the OECD added.
It said: “The quality and relevance of research needs to be strengthened as research impact tends to be low. Much of the intellectual property generated remains on laboratory shelves, and is un-commercialised.”
The OECD also cautioned against a slackening in the country’s emphasis on research. ”Building a well-performing innovation system requires persistent commitment,” the OECD said, sounding a warning on recent government policies to push universities to increase their share of non-government external funding for research.