05 October 2018

Singapore’s two leading universities, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have performed very well in international rankings. NUS is currently 23rd in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings while NTU is 51st.They are 50th and 73rd in the Round University Rankings, and 43rd and 55th in the US News Best Global Universities. A report by Kalinga Seneviratne in University World News indicates that Singapore is reconsidering the dominant research university model and the current global research-based rankings.

Ong Ye Kung, the country’s Education Minister, said at the THE World Academic Summit, that global rankings do not reflect the changing roles of contemporary universities. He noted that the International Academic Advisory Panel, which gives advice to the government, had suggested that Singapore should stop being so concerned with international rankings. He also argued that ranking methodology needed to be improved.

The article reviews discussion by local and international academics who have criticised rankings for their focus on basic research rather than applied research and innovation. Another problem is that the search for talented foreign researchers might lead to the marginalisation of native academics and the neglect of teaching quality.

Woo Jun Jie, a lecturer in the NTU Public policy and Global affairs Programme, is reported as arguing that the emphasis on research and rankings could undermine the Singaporean identity of the universities while Joon-Nie Lau, a journalist and former university lecturer, asserted that there was a lack of research that was relevant to Singapore society.

Source:
University World News

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