Current Issues / Ethics/Rights

Facts behind NUS “now the world’s eighth best university”

For anyone who is jumping (or gasping) in shock about claims made by the Straits Times (and NUS) about NUS being “the world’s eighth best university,” stop that and start investigating.

This is what the Straits Times published yesterday:

THE National University of Singapore is now the world’s eighth best university, according to annual global rankings released on Tuesday.

And, what NUS published:

NUS is the best-performing university in Asia in the 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject. Globally, it is the world’s eighth best university.

It is true that 12 NUS’ departments did particularly well this year. However, it is not true that NUS ranks as the eighth best in the world when you consider the overall performance.

Looking at the table provided by the Straits Times,  you will see that NUS is the eighth best because it has 12 departments that ranked in the top 10 in the survey.

NUS is ranked eighth in terms of number of subjects in the top 10

NUS is ranked eighth in terms of number of subjects in the top 10 (Source: Straits Times)

Bear in mind, the survey only included academic and employer reputation, and peer review for that one subject. Unlike world ranking surveys, it did not include other criteria like international faculty ratio, international student ratio, and faculty/student ratio. Let us not forget that 12 overachiever departments do not explain the overall academic performance of the university. For example, in the same survey, NUS ranked between 51-100 for its Philosophy subject. I doubt that information was publicised.

I am a NUS graduate, but I cannot stand how information is twisted to propagate false information. For a university that ranked highly in its Communications and New Media subject (no. 4 in the world), I am surprised at the irony of this obvious miscommunication.



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