Sunday, 4 January 2015

2015 World Universities Ranking - The Big Lie

2015 World Universities Rankings – Using The Big Lie to Perpetuate Fraud and Myth of Excellence.
Phony? Fraud? Ponzi? Scam? Snake Oil? Or Academic Dishonesty?

Beware, Singapore Universities NTU and NUS .…!
"The Bigger the Lie, the more it will be believed."
– Hitler in Mein Kamp, 1925 -

Adolf Hitler perfected the “Big Lie” as a propaganda technique about the use of a Lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." Using principles and perceptions seemingly true in them in the Big Lie always endows a certain force of credibility “because the people generally are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily".

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.”
“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
“If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth.”
“If you repeat a lie many times, people are bound to start believing it.
Attributed to Paul Joseph Goebbels,
Adolf Hitler's Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany.

The Truth is often NOT regarded as Authority. Truth is better described as the daughter of Time.  If only these statements were true. To dispel deeply held but erroneous beliefs is extraordinarily difficult, even in the face of hard physical evidence.  It is almost impossible when seemingly well-qualified “experts” attest to their infallibility while others of equal or more “eminent” Authority disputed them.

An European Government-commissioned study concluded that top World Universities Rankings Standards are so based on dubious data and subjective weightings of factors that they are useless as a basis for information if the goal is to improve higher education.  “Useless” - its verdict on a popular World Universities Ranking Standard after a thorough and in-depth decomposition of its methodology.

In the case of World Universities Ranking Standards, it is also very difficult to get past the vested interests involved – the vendors, Universities, Government Regulators, University Administrators, Professors and Managers.   It is impossible to explain something to anyone when their bonus, careers, promotions and paycheck depend on them not understanding it.

World Universities Ranking Standards are a global multi-billion dollar industry.  A higher ranking translates to University fees from more unsuspecting students especially from the emergent rich developing countries from China, India and East Asia. To the Vendors, it means revenue from consultancy, publications and media exposure. To Government Regulators, higher Universities rankings are often hailed as successful higher education policies and management, never mind often at the expense of fewer local potential students. For Universities Administrators and Managers, they represent profitable performance results, never mind that the Standards have little, often nothing, to do with their Universities’ learning mission outcome.

For potential students and their parents, the World Universities Ranking Standards represent a convenient solution to the difficult task of University choice for their children, never mind that they had invented and perpetuated the Myth of “One Best University” as well as the obvious Big Lie that “One University Fits All” regardless of your child’s interests, subject preference, learning ability and career choice. Because these students and their parents do not know better, they became easy victims to the Predators of the True Big Lies and Delusions about Universities Ranking Standards.  

“Global university rankings fail to capture either the meaning or diverse qualities of a university or the characteristics of universities in a way that values and respects their educational and social purposes, missions and goals. At present, these rankings are of dubious value, are underpinned by questionable social science, arbitrarily privilege particular indicators, and use shallow proxies as correlates of quality.”

UNESCO as well as most University Professors and Academics generally considered the World Universities Ranking Standards to be Bogus Ranking Standards of Dubious Excellence.

The London-based QS World Universities Ranking has been called “a Fraud on the public.” Another Eminent Professor said: “QS simply doesn’t do as good a job as the other rankers that are using multiple indicators”. The Eminent Professor Simon Marginson of then Melbourne University remarked that: “I do think social science-wise it’s so weak that you can’t take the results seriously”. 

Professor Simon Marginson is currently Professor of International Higher Education, University of London, UK, and an Honorary Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE). Professor Simon Marginson is Joint Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, the principal world scholarly journal in higher education studies. He specializes in higher education, and comparative and international education, as one of the world’s most highly cited social science researchers in these fields.

The BIG LIE Exposed.
To its naïve, gullible and unsuspecting market of prospective students and their parents, the methodology behind creating the Big Lie of World Universities Ranking Standards is vague enough so that no average reader can quite figure out how and why these Universities are ranked as they did. However, the Standards and their respective systems with its publications of numbers and statistics, supported by enthusiastic endorsements of Universities, politicians and some Professors, seem clear enough to suggest a façade of validity, thereby completing Hitler’s Big Lie formula.

Clearly, one cannot trust any of the World Universities Ranking Standards.  What the Big Lie of World Universities Rankings failed to do is actually inform the readers of how much students actually learn in the ranked University.  The Rankings should strive to delve deeper into the University character, the complexities of its culture and nature of its Schools.  Only thus would students have a better understanding of the University/schools they wise to choose, but also that shift them away from the Big Lie of dubious numbers.  Truth is, it is virtually impossible for any Ranking lists to take each applicant’s interest into account when ranking a University.

Like “snake oil” promotion, World Universities Ranking Standards seduce people under the false assumption that the University they attend would determine their future, their intelligence and their place in the world.  Believing that others would think more highly of a person attending a higher-ranked University further fortifies the Myth and Big Lie that the University attended by a person is the sole or a significant factor in determining his or her success.

Governments have a duty to intervene and ban the use of World Universities Rankings Standards by its public-funded Universities.  It is like any false and misleading marketing.  Some Universities have been known to submit incomplete and false data to Standards Vendors in the hope of improving their rankings. For a quick buck and keeping down costs, most of the World Universities Ranking Standards rely on self-reporting and do not conduct site visits, which are key due diligence practice of top quality assessors, to inspect facilities and interviews parents, employers, students, Professors and Administrators.    

When prestigious Universities have to sacrifice their moral integrity to move up a few numbers on an unofficial and dubious list published by some magazines, it is evident that the system of World Universities Rankings is not only flawed, but that it also encourages immoral, and unlawful, behavior.

When ranked undeservingly low by the Rankers, Singapore’s NTU, one of only 2 top local and Great Universities, began to re-calibrate actively in accordance with the Big Lie’s definition of “world excellence”.  Never mind that their common Mission was and has always been the Creation of Singapore’s Future.  The impact of NTU’s research excellence which had encouraged entrepreneurship in its faculty and students and produced many spin-off companies were trivialized to just research paper citations.       

To satisfy the Rankers’ preference for foreign students and faculty members, NTU embarked on a systematic purge of local Professors, never mind that many are tenured, have accomplished internationally, and have served the University with distinction, and denied admission to many qualified Singaporeans by increasing foreign students admission, and forcing those from better income families to seek and obtain admissions to, ironically, top Universities overseas.

Some laws were also possibly broken with regard to the constitutional protection of Singaporean Professors and their retirement age, but no one really bothered in the irrational, mindless frenzy in sparing nothing for the sake of meeting the Criteria of what the United Nations’ UNESCO had already adjudged to be a Bogus Ranking Standard of Dubious Excellence, in order to obtain a Brand of Questionable Authenticity.

A few hundred Singaporean Professors were purged from 2007 to beyond 2010. And more than 6,500 Singaporean students, or between 1,700-1,900 annually, were denied NTU admission into various 3-year and 4-year Undergraduate Programs from 2009-2013.

Finally by 2014, NTU was ranked as the Top Youngest University in the World by QS Ranker, and ranking just 39th Worldwide.  Indeed, what a “climb” from 77th in 2008!  Indeed, a Pyrrhic and Hollow Victory, nothing more.

Never in the short History of Singapore has so much been owed by the Nation to so many Singaporeans so stupidly sacrificed for nothing of any worthy value to our Future or the World.

Seriously, enough is enough of the stupid stuff! Singapore is an Exceptional Nation deserving of acting responsibly in order to be taken seriously by other nations.  The Singapore Government should direct our Universities to ignore the Big Lie of World Universities Ranking Standards, as so wisely counselled by one of the main Rankers himself

Singapore universities should no longer participate in the Big Lie of any “World Universities Ranking” Fraud. 
Singapore’s presence in the World Universities Rankings Standards invariably lends our hard-earned Reputation for Authenticity and Honesty to mask their lack of credibility, validity and reliability. Our Universities MUST be held to the same high standards of integrity and authenticity as the rest of Singapore.

We must continue to uphold the honest Truth before the World and ourselves, not out of fear of laws and penalties but because this is WHO WE ARE.  Our High Standards of integrity and honesty reflects the Society we want to live in, and the values we uphold and hold ourselves to embrace.


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