QS ranking downright shady and unethical

Would anyone not under the influence of drugs believe that NUS and NTU are better universities than Princeton, Cornell or Yale? Well, some Singaporeans are gloating over this great achievement by the two local universities, no ill intent in my statement as one is my alma mater. I should be proud that my alma mater is better than top Ivy League universities in the US. Soon many top American universities would be asking for joint NUS degrees to boost up their reputation instead of Singapore begging to host joint Singapore American university degrees here.

Some of the Singaporeans that were so impressed with the rankings are the uninformed or ill informed uncles in the kopitiams and aunties in the wet market. I heard them chirping about it with great excitement, and I can understand, given their exposure and lack of understanding on the QS criteria for judging.

Ok, maybe on face value, maybe the top American universities are living on their past glories while NUS and NTU are what they are today by today's standard. The good American universities were good in the past but no longer. Time has changed. For the well informed, the comments are different and some are outright cynical of the outcome with good reasons. Below are some comments taken from the onlinecitizen.

'On Thursday (8 June), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was named Asia’s top university in the 2018 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, surpassing the National University of Singapore (NUS).

NTU is also ranked 11th in the world, ranking above other notable institutions such as Princeton University, Cornell University and Yale University, and two positions above its previous 13th spot.

Below is a response written by John Ouserhout on question-and-answer site, Quora on the question of "How accurate are the 2018 QS rankings? They seem to rank Nanyang Tech higher than Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and Berkeley."

Ouserhout's response in full

First impressions suggest it is almost laughably inaccurate. UC Berkeley at #27? This is the same university that is affiliated with 91 Nobel Laureates, 13 Fields Medals, 23 Turing Awards and 16 elements of the Periodic Table. The rest of the ranking seems similarly strange as well; NUS and NTU ranked right alongside or higher than Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Columbia and Johns Hopkins?

(Haha, this Ouserhout does not know of the many great Nobel laureates hiding in the Singapore universities or akan datang, ie coming soon, going to happen).

Is it just my Anglo-American bias speaking? I know these universities have made rapid strides in funding and encouraging cutting edge research, so perhaps it’s inevitable that they’ve caught up and surpassed the more well known Ivy League universities. That is obviously partly the case, but after digging around for a bit, there seems to be a whole host of articles about the flawed methodology and downright shady practices of the QS organisation.

Some of the flaw methodology include counting more foreign students and faculty as good without any relations to academic merits. More foreigners mean more points. How silly.

And 50% of the points come from surveys from Academics and Employers. Look, there are hundreds of good American universities and only 2 or 3 good Singapore universities. In the latter, all the scores would go to these 2 or 3 universities while in the US the scores would be thinly spread. See the flaw? Which university would the Employers hired from? In the US they could hire from hundreds of universities but only 2/3 in Singapore.

Ouserhout went on with many other flaws in the methodology. Below are a few more.

 Secondly, QS’s business model is really shady:

  • A dubious Star ranking system, where universities pay to be evaluated. (Conflicts of interest anyone?)
  • ‘Branding Opportunities’ for $80,000 with QS Showcase
  • A highly lucrative ‘consultancy service’ to help universities rise up the rankings

In short, ranking systems might have their flaws, but this one is downright shady and unethical.

No need to say anything more, just let the daft to gloat over this mirage as a badge of honour.  I don’t blame the uncles in the kopitiams or the aunties in the wet market. I understand where they are coming from. Would any reputable academics bother to question the allegation by Ouserhout that the ranking system 'is downright shady and unethical'?


Anonymous said...

Rb, calm down and relax lar. On the ranking, there are only three parties that believed that the ranking is true. 1) QS 2) the universities themselves and 3) may be the sinkie government. True or not, you tell me lar.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

True, true.

Anonymous said...

...and 3) may be the sinkie government. True or not, you tell me lar.
9:20 am

and 4) maybe the 70% who voted for the sinkie govt.

True or not, you tell me lar.

Anonymous said...

and 4) maybe the 70% who voted for the sinkie govt.
True or not, you tell me lar.
9:27 am

The 70% are forced to believe lah.

Got such thing as force to believe, u know.

Anything can be forced lah, as long as those who do the forcing has power.

Anonymous said...

Most incompetent government and yet pay themselves the world's highest salaries. It is laughable everything they say is to boost their own ego. You can never trust this government. Even his own siblings feel threatened. When will the daft 70% wake up? Anyway pinkie has driven the island down the road of no return to hell.

Anonymous said...


Please lah, don't expect the 70%to wake up!

After yesterday it may be 80% at next GE!

Anonymous said...

Global hub of the Mental Masturbation industry.

Anonymous said...

QS Ranking - our new clothes?

"The Emperor's New Clothes" is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.

When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that they don't see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as "unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent".

Finally, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"


Do you think children like Amos Yee is a blessing?

Anonymous said...

Who cares the university standing? Sinkieland is already overrun by foreigners talents with dubious uni degrees..many Sinkies r jobless even with local uni degrees..as wat Ah Wan-ge said that u have a degree but u can't eat on it..

What That Glitters Is Not Gold said...

Only downright hard-up and morally bankrupt people would engage such a Money-Making Business Organization to do thr Ranking for them.

The top rankings given to NTU and NUS do not augur well for these two universities. They only bring shame and disgrace because now NTU and NUS are associated with shady and dubious motives.

Anonymous said...


Challenging NUS-NTU Entrance Exam Question for Young Singaporean Scholars
Q: What do you understand the following statement to mean:
"Demolish my house after I die."

You have more than 2 years to answer this question.
You are advised to carefully mental masturbate over this question.
Please do not rush your answer.
We are not judging you on how quick or decisive you are.
We are assessing you on your ability to think outside the box.

Anonymous said...

@ Parody @ June 15, 2017 12:33 pm

We are assessing you on your ability to think outside the box.
And your suitability to hold a high office in the public sector.

Anonymous said...

After watching the video on yesterday's big fire in London I am very concerned about those people who are living in 40-50 BTOs!

Any escape route? Can escape? Don't play play!

Very scary!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:10pm is right. Getting a good ranking from such money making organisation is no different from buy a degree from a degree mill organisation.

Anonymous said...






b said...

If QS is owned by sg gov, it must reflect good standings for sg universities.

Anonymous said...

Harry Markopolos – Who Exposed Madoff – Has Uncovered a New Fraud

Harry Markopolos, the investigator who exposed the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, has uncovered a new fraud.
The unfunded status of the pension fund of the Boston Transit Authority (the “MBTA”) is $500 million bigger than previously thought, according to Markopolos.
This will have a significant impact on the municipal bond market, especially if it turns out that the MBTA’s problems are endemic among similar pension funds.

The unfunded status of a pension fund is the market value of the assets minus the present value of the liabilities, discounted at an actuarially determined interest rate.
For most public pension plans, this number is negative; the liabilities exceed the assets and it is underfunded.

Although the full details are not yet known, Markopolos said the $500 gap is due to bad investments, fraudulent accounting and unrealistic actuarial assumptions.


We are so lucky such things can never happen in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

You pay for a fake degree at a degree mill they will ask you which university you want and what grade you want. You pay for quality remember.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

PS. Mess up my links to other blogs. Loss some links as a result.

Anonymous said...

A Replacement Of Population Is Taking Place In Europe


Anonymous said...

All the rankings, ranking agencies, world bodies like FIFA, F1 etc are all headed by corrupt officials elected by corrupt committees and told to give corrupted opinions. It all boils down to money talk engineered by the rich.