Are we gaming the university ranking systems?

Within a few years, the rankings of NUS and NTU have shot up by leaps and bounds. It is like out of the blue we are world champions or nearly there in table tennis and nothing else. And every time when the media proudly splashed in their pages that we were ranked higher than the Ivy League universities in the US and UK, my goose pimples popped up instantly. Really ah? Even if we are really better than these Ivy League universities, why are our graduates ended up as rejects and unable to compete for jobs in our very own country, in our very own system, in our very own companies, organisations and institutions? Never mind.

Our universities are flooded with foreigners in the administration, the teaching staff and among the undergrads and post grads. Is their presence part of the gaming process? If they are, I say if, cause I dunno, how much are we paying for all these foreigners just to put a mask over our face? Foreigners in administration and teaching staff, mostly academically highly qualified, don’t come cheap unless they are from Timbuktu. But Timbuktu doesn’t count for high rankings, so NG. And there is the often repeated complaints of hundreds of millions, by now could be billions of dollars, given as scholarships to foreigners. Are the scholarships and money spent part of the gaming process too?

Now what is the gain, what is the return if the money were spent on gambling. Shit, why did I say gambling? It must be the influence of the casinos or the big gamblers managing big funds. I mean gaming the system, not gambling the system. Ok, just to be clear, I am not saying anyone is gaming the system, I am just asking if we are gaming the system and what is the cost of gaming the system?

Before I forget, what is the gain? Like the medals for table tennis, what is the gain and is the gain worth it for the money spent? So what if our rankings are in high heavens. What is the point? It would be better to use the money to build a few monuments, maybe cheaper if the maintenance is low. Just don’t build monuments that need hundreds of millions for upkeeping and to provide jobs for highly paid foreigners.

Anyone knows if we are hooked on gaming the university ranking systems and who gives the green light if we are really doing it? It costs a lot of money that could be used for better things. My gut feel is that we cannot be so stupid to waste public money on such cheapo reputations. Our administrators would have better sense and circumspection not to waste public money. Our rankings are high because we are good and the presence of the foreigners is coincidental. There is nothing to it. Go look somewhere else. We don’t game the system for some cheapo unrecognised subjective rankings that really mean nothing.

Kopi Level - Green


Anonymous said...

"So what if our rankings are in high heavens. What is the point?"

So that we can attract even more and better foreign talents to our universities lah. That's the point.

Remember, we are competing for foreign talents, whether as students or as workforce, in the whole, wide world. Hence it pays to have universities which rank high among the best in the world, tio bo?

RB, now u understand?

Anonymous said...

The only danger for daft Sinkies is that PAP sometimes see foreign duds as talents, so duds may also be welcome in, especially when no enough real talents come in, or want to come.

But never mind. As long as even the strongest Sinkie opposition party is not ready to be govt, there is no danger to PAP to remain as the ruling party.

So it is OK for PAP, and with welcoming arms, to let even foreign duds in. Daft Sinkies may suffer lah, but so what, u tell me lah?

Anonymous said...

What's the point (WP) being the strongest opposition party but not ready or don't want to get ready to be govt?

What's the point (WP) of 40% daft Sinkies making such a party the strongest and then kpkb about the govt, opposition, the real foreign talents and dud ones and whatever lah?

Anonymous said...

Rb // Our administrators would have better sense and circumspection not to waste public money. Our rankings are high because we are good and the presence of the foreigners is coincidental. There is nothing to it. Go look somewhere else. We don’t game the system for some cheapo unrecognised subjective rankings that really mean nothing. //

Rb, no gaming lar!

IVORY TOWERS 2,000 storeys high confirm got "HELICOPTER VIEW".

So how can they get the "incorrect view" at such "height" and make the "wrong bet", oops, it meant to say make the "wrong turn". So high sure can see, how to get lost unless "eyes paste stamps" lar!

Anonymous said...

Singapore needs Talents from all round the world. The more talent you have in Singapore the more will Singapore shines. Shiny Singapore will attract more talents and more investment from overseas. This increase of foreign investment will grow the GDP which will result in credits to the government and therefore a good reason for increase in ministerial rewards and salaries.

In the case of Mr. Anoop Shankar, this is only one case and nobody to blame. Singapore system is very transparent and everything above board. Nothing is hidden from the public and every cent spent is accounted for. Clean and corruption free. So please do not worry and everything is well taken care of.

PAP is doing a fantastic job and WP is not ready to take over. WP is in my opinion not ready so in the meantime you have to live with the good PAP. Please do not complain too much. Be happy and do not stir up too much muddy water. HLP is a place for lost causes and whatever happens there is of no use to anyone. 2015/16 GE will be no different to the 2011 election. Please do not raise you hope to high for any changes. THERE WILL BE NONE.

Anonymous said...

// So high sure can see, how to get lost unless "eyes paste stamps" lar! //

In Singlish it's call " Mud Jiu Tuck stamps "!

Actually YEW ( you )want use "LUI" ( dollar notes ) TUCK ( paste ) the "MUD JIU " (eyes) oso can.

When YEW pay ministars too much "LUI" ( millions and millions in remuneration like free air liddat), this could be the outcome as "LUI" ($$$$$$$$) run out of place to safekeep so sometimes "TUCK" (paste) on the "MUD JIU "(eyes) .

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, Anoop is only one case. Once in 50 years. The rest all genuine.

Do yew need to employ highly qualifief foreigners to be paid highly as administrators?

Anonymous said...

RB, u can do whatever ranking gaming but the employers are not stupid lar. Some of the top foreign banks in sg do not even consider recruiting local uni graduates for their front office jobs cause they don't believe mah. That is why smu in a way is better as they don't get into the ranking shit. You will find that there are less FT there.

Anonymous said...

Is it believeable that universities is a tiny dot no bigger than 800 sq kilometres with less than 50 years of autonomy is able to produce world renown institutions? At internal rating maybe.
But, if the Institutions are occupied by the creams of 7 billions, any newly formed organization will be at the top for the occupants are top of the Lots Worldwide.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you say, Singapore is still a place where many are coming to make their home. Looking at that, Singapore must be a damn good place. People who come from India and China do contribute to the growth of the economy. Without the cheaper labour from Bangladesh, India, China, Vietnam and Malaysia, who would do you hard work? Singaporeans cannot pick and choose. You must not only want the cheap labour and not want the higher talents. It comes as a package. Singaporean PMETs who have been replaced by the FTs may just be those who have passed their useful date. This is part and parcel of life. You get replaced when you become unproductive and too costly. I think the FTs who come to Singapore are contributing to the growth of this country and must be given due credit. After all they pay their taxes and they live by the same laws that governs Singaporeans. Therefore Singaporeans MUST be thankful for their contribution. Please be more compassionate and charitable.

Anonymous said...

// Please be more compassionate and charitable. //

Many oldies commented online and offline PGP "bluff" people.

Many commented G published in newspapers and "blow" about PGP until "bigger than buffalo "?

But in actual use "hardly" make "SIGNIFICANT" difference?

Go hospitalization surgeries still cost an arm and leg.

So called "KING" of "all cards or CHAS card " is more like a " pauper "? Even tapping the "max benefits " still make oldies like a " pauper "?

= hardly much use? = more hot air than the giant hot air balloon?

When the couch your backside is sitting is on fire, should YEW not be more "CHARITABLE" to YEWR-SELF than still "pretending " to sound "generous and magnanimous "? Izzit IVORY TOWERS TOO HIGH, cannot feel the ground?

When YEW cannot EVEN be "CHARITABLE" to YEWR own oldies, why be hypocritical and try to call for magnanimity towards, ermmmmm ......, "ANOOP" and his fella men and some other "fakes"?

Would YEW or the system be so "CHARITABLE" if sinkies are caught "FAKING" ?



Some people are so "CHARITABLE" when YEW ill treat and so "blo-dy" harsh and HEAVY HANDED on YEWR OWN SINKIES?


Michael Heng PBM said...

University ranking is OK if and only if it is not manipulated in the following ways:
1) Reporting a high number of foreign students whom we actually "paid" through 'scholarships' to study in either NTU or NUS. OK if scholarship foreigners are excluded and only count those we choose to come on their own funds.
2) Reporting lots of research papers because professors include each other and their friends and cronies, especially their supervisors and school management, as co-authors even though many "co-authors" did not actually contribute to the stated research. Rule of thumb is that anything more than 5-7 really good papers mush be subjected to review as to their authorship authenticity.
3) Clear evidence that Reviewers who rank Universities were not beholden to the University whom they ranked highly because they were appointed to some paid positions or their associate organisations were awarded lucrative contracts.
4) None of the Reviews ever visited NTU or NUS BEFORE the Review exercise.

I shall leave all to judge the validity of NTU/NUS Ranking.

Anonymous said...

@ 11.05am from anon 12.34pm

Btw, no disrespect intended.

Just surfacing some sentiments and happenings on the ground.

On behalf of many oldies and sinkies, wishing YEW in advance HAPPY 91ST BD!


No matter what happen in the future, YEW have brought prosperity to this tiny red dot despite all ODDS!

For that YEW will always have the respect YEW genuinely deserved!

It just that YEWR successors such as Char Tau and RamboTan still have NOT DELIVERED CHAR TAU'S PROMISE OF "SWISS STANDARD OF LIVING " and also broken promises such as "GOAL 2010" etc etc.



b said...

This only shows money can buy many things including reputable rankings. Sometimes what is real and not real in this world is not based on rankings.

Anonymous said...

A beauty does have to win in any pageant.
An honest person wants not to be rewarded for honesty.
Any good school will not go for reputation but to produce good students.

What's so difficult to understand?

Well, vainpots are the Problems.

Anonymous said...

Not vainpots lah. It is silliness that is the problem. Take OPM anyhow throw, anyhow spend.

Anonymous said...

We really, really, really need wise leaders. Definitely not insecure vainpots that need superficial glory to feel good.

Anonymous said...

Give me more gold medals, give me the world cup, give me more number one rankings, by hook or by crook. I must have them to look good.

Money is not an issue.

Anonymous said...

University ranking criteria is hardly ever straightforward. Many of the elements assessed do not relate directly to academic scholarship. Rather they are proxies including endowment received, library stock, university facilities etc. Is it any wonder the same ones come up tops every year?

Michael Heng is right to question the possible subjectivity of how university rankings are arrived at.