Why university rankings are pointless exercises for students in Singapore

A number of prominent universities have spoken out against such rankings, which cannot measure the multifaceted goals of higher education.

A number of prestigious US university law and medical schools have withdrawn from the US News & World Report ranking tables. PHOTO: AFP
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A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail asking me to participate in an academic reputation survey for an organisation producing international university ranking tables. Soon after, The Straits Times reported that the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) had been rated the top universities in Asia based on the QS or Quacquarelli Symonds rankings by subject areas involving 1,594 universities in 93 countries and territories. A similar report in 2022 recapped how both also ranked well in the QS World University Rankings.

There are several other international ranking tables – like those published by Times Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and US News & World Report. A key claim made by these organisations producing such tables is that they serve as guides to help students select universities and courses. 

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