Consider quality, performance of graduates in varsity rankings

I congratulate the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University for being rated 24th and 54th respectively in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings ("NUS, NTU rise up Times list of world's varsities"; last Thursday).

University rankings provide valuable information, especially for future students, on a university's standing in research capabilities, teaching quality and student feedback.

Interestingly, many universities do not show the same ranking across different rating agencies.

However, older universities usually have an inherent advantage over the newer universities, in terms of perception and popularity.

So how much reliance should we place on any of these rankings?

What is missing is a lack of information on the relative performance of graduates. Potential students need to know the true value added by the university's programmes.

What is missing is a lack of information on the relative performance of graduates. Potential students need to know the true value added by the university's programmes.

Ranking agencies should collate and present information on:

•The number of prominent businessmen and politicians from each university, with consideration and weighting on both noble and ignoble achievements;

•The number of Nobel prize winners across all disciplines;

•The number and profile of graduates who have contributed significantly to laudable humanitarian efforts;

•The community and civic involvement and charitable efforts of each university.

It would be more meaningful to incorporate these practical criteria into the rankings.

Even as universities emphasise learning outcomes for students, they should also look at the long-term performance and quality of their graduates.

George Lim Heng Chye

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'Consider quality, performance of graduates in varsity rankings'. Print Edition | Subscribe