As far as the rankings are concerned, Singapore has been a great success story, at least as far as the Big Two (THE and QS) are concerned.
In the latest QS world rankings the two major Singaporean universities, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU, have done extremely well, both of them reaching the eleventh spot. Predictably, the mainstream local media has praised the universities, and quoted QS spokespersons and university representatives about how the results are due to hiring talented faculty and the superiority of the national secondary education system.
There is some scepticism in Singapore about the rankings. The finance magazine Dollars and Sense has just published an article by Sim Kang Heong that questions the latest performance by Singapore's universities, including the relatively poor showing by Singapore Management University.
The author is aware of the existence of other rankings but names only two (ARWU and THE) and then presents a list of indicators from all the QS rankings including regional and specialist tables as though they were part of the World University Rankings.
The piece argues that "it doesn't take someone with a PhD to see some of the glaring biases and flaws in the current way QS does its global university rankings."
It is helpful that someone is taking a sceptical view of Singapore's QS ranking performance but disappointing that there is no specific reference to how NUS and NTU fared in other rankings.
Last February I published a post showing the ranks of these two institutions in the global rankings. Here they are again:
THE: 23rd and 51st
Shanghai ARWU: 85th and 96th
RUR: 50th and 73rd
Leiden (publications): 34th and 66th
These are definitely top 100 universities by any standard. Clearly though, the QS rankings rate them much more highly than anybody else.