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Highly ranked uni may not be a 'better' one

Universities have long been a competitive business (Don't pay too much attention to uni rankings, say experts; June 30).

It doesn't help that governments want top-class universities for their human capital.

Scarcity of funds and an increasing reliance on tuition fees also encourage competition, and universities know how students yearn for a global brand on their degrees as a passport to their future.

This is why such rankings are so lucrative.

However, such metrics measure inputs rather than outputs, and say little about the quality of the teaching. Subjectivity and bias cannot be completely removed from the rankings. Furthermore, there are so many fluctuating factors that make up a university that it is virtually impossible to rank accurately and consistently.

Just because a university is more selective than another does not necessarily mean it is a "better" university.

Getting a quality job after graduation is the most important end goal of earning a degree.

Students should choose a university not because of the rankings but because they love the learning environment and it will help them gain experience and connections in their field.

Rankings are a helpful tool but students ought to think twice before making their decision.

Cheng Choon Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 08, 2018, with the headline 'Highly ranked uni may not be a 'better' one'. Print Edition | Subscribe