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11/23/2005

how to become a laffing stock

the times higher education supplement(thes) has ranked nus and ntu at 22 and 48 positions. this places nus ahead of many reputable universities in the usa. and if we work on it, it is so easy for nus to be the top university in the world. singaporeans really excelled in the area of examination. we are exam smart. just let a singaporean go through the exam for a few times and we know exactly how to score in every area. the criteria set by thes is no different. we will learn quickly and overcome them, and score As in every section. another few years and we will be there, the top university in the whole world. but being at the top comes with a price. financially this is chicken feed. we have the dole. we can afford it. if not enough we can raise fund. if necessary we can raise tuition fees. as simple as that. but the financial cost is nothing. today nus is 22. even at 22, many people are already sneering at nus. how could nus be better than such and such a university in the states. these universities are well established and with records of producing brilliant and successful graduates. what is the track record of nus? just imagine when we become number 1. we out ranked all the top ivy league universities in the usa. we are on top of harvard, mit, carnegie mellon, princeton, stanford, yale, ucla...etc etc we may become number 1 on paper. but nobody is going to take us seriously. we may work very hard to be tops in the thes ranking. but we will only work ourself to become a laughing stock. a really good university is not just because of its ranking by some superficial survey. there are more to it than having how many foreign students, how many papers published, how good are the facilities and how many reputable professors. it is a history of many things in combination. and most important thing is the x factor. people just know and recognise it as the best. do we want to work so hard to be number 1?

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