Singapore Tertiary Education - Better than Yale?!

Singapore education is great, especially their primary and secondary education. I’ve interacted with people who went through Singapore education, looked at their curriculum for my nephews and nieces, and I’m genuinely impressed by the education system here. 

I’m saying this upfront because the recent QS Ranking where National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are ranked above Yale and Cornell is a horrible joke. The fact that local media hails it an achievement, with Channel NewsAsia carrying the headline "NUS, NTU rise to top 15 in QS world university rankings" and Today Online boasting that "NUS, NTU leapfrog Yale, Cornell in university rankings", is sad because it perpetuates a terrible miscalculation. 

Accordingly, QS ranked 891 universities based on academic and employer reputations, student-to-faculty ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international student ratio. Just from this, I think the employer reputations and international student ratio can be easily skewed to favor Singapore. As an international hub, its international student ratio should be higher than most. As most local graduates work locally, where there are plenty of international conglomerates with international reputation, it’s also easy to see how that skews it in favor of higher ranking for employer reputation, without actually being on the quality of the education. 

 Local media should not readily advertise a blatantly inaccurate assessment to the less informed public.

Yale has $20 billion in endowment. That’s with a “B”. Cornell doesn’t have the same endowment size as Yale, but there have been 50 Nobel laureates affiliated with Cornell University. NUS has one! (NUS Geography Associate Professor Wong Poh Poh). 

The rest of the world should know that this year’s QS ranking is some sort of major miscalculation, but local media in Singapore are celebrating it without really considering how their tertiary education could somehow be miraculously better than universities with a $20 billion endowment and one with 50 Nobel laureates overnight. 

It’s a shame that local universities are not demonstrating integrity by correcting the mistake and it’s a shame that local media do not have the brains to realize the seriously flawed methodology.

I’ll say it again, Singapore education is great, competitive in Asia and certainly worth considering for any college prospects. But, is it better than Yale or Cornell? I suspect that most people would doubt it and they won’t be wrong.