A panel of experts advised the Singapore Education Ministry and local universities to not put too much weight on university rankings, which are at best a crude gauge
A panel of experts advised the Singapore Education Ministry and local universities to not put too much weight on university rankings, which are at best a crude gauge for quality and can overlook an institution’s true strength. The panel presented this consensus at the 11th edition of the International Academic Advisory Panel held recently.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, commented on the Panel’s advice by highlighted how each of Singapore’s six autonomous universities has its own focus, and social and economic mission. He conceded that perhaps it is time to “have different kinds of measurements, different kinds of matrices, that can gauge the success and achievements of each of our universities”.
Professor Stephen Toope, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University which came in sixth in the latest world university rankings, said that the key message was to find ways to assess universities based on their main missions. He added that “rankings tend to pull everyone back to a mean and make it seem as if there is only one model of university that is right” which is a “fundamental misconception”.
The Panel also strongly supported Singapore’s efforts in moving towards experiential learning such as internships and overseas exposure. Singapore Management University provost Lily Kong said that ultimately, “it is about throwing students into the real world, getting hands and feet dirty, and learning that way”.
I definitely agree that university rankings are at best a crude gauge. Every university is different and unique. We should thus not be blinded by the perceived qualities that result from such rankings. Instead, we have to help our students make their choices of which schools or institutions to go to with wisdom. The refrain “every school is a good school” may sound clichéd but it certainly rings with much truth.
If you want to find out more about the Panel’s discussions and recommendations, click the following link: