[SINGAPORE] The Republic's universities are getting more global recognition, with both the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Techonological University (NTU) climbing up the ranking charts.
NUS has been placed 25th in the 2012/2013 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, up three spots from its 28th placing last year.
Although NUS was consistent in improving in almost all the indicators measured by QS, the university has done particulary well in certain areas. For instance, it was placed 9th in the world for academic reputation, and 14th for employer reputation.
NUS also did well in the number of research papers published and citations generated.
"We are pleased to be ranked once again among the very best universities in the world and in Asia. We are also delighted to be recognised for our high quality education and world-class research. This is a strong indication that our bold enhancements to education and research are creating a positive impact," NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said.
NTU rose to the 47th spot in this year's rankings, up from 58th position last year. The university's rise up the QS rankings has been spectacular as it jumped 11 places this year and 16 last year to become the fastest-rising university in the top 50.
"As a young university, being in the top world's 50 is a remarkable milestone and reaffirms our global standing in education and research," said NTU president Bertil Andersson.
"Singapore should be very proud to have two universities ranked in the world's Top 50. We are up there with the best in the world because Singapore believes and invests in quality education and research."
Professor Andersson attributed NTU's sharp rise to two factors - the quality of students it attracted and a growing international reputation among employers.
"We have successfully attracted and delivered good students and good research. NTU has always been the preferred choice of top polytechnic students. This year, NTU also significantly increased our share of top A-level students by 43 per cent over the last academic year," he said.
NTU also has a growing international reputation among employers for the high-calibre of graduates it produces, said Prof Andersson. "Stories abound about NTU fresh graduates who land plum overseas jobs. And their employers come back the next year and hire more of our graduates, which can only mean they like what they have seen."
He expects that in the coming years, the university will go further with the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine enrolling its first batch next year.
However, Singapore universities appeared to have declined in attracting international students as a representative from QS notes.
"Singaporean institutions' success this year can partly be attributed to their improvement in faculty/student ratio and citations per faculty scores," Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, said. "However, their international student scores have dropped slightly. This does not necessarily mean intake has slowed, but it could be that other top-ranked institutions are recruiting international students at a more rapid rate."
This year's top ranked university was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has risen steadily up the rankings from 10th in 2007. MIT was followed closely by UK's Cambridge University, while Harvard University, which topped the table every year between 2004 and 2009, slipped to third place.
The 2012 QS World University Rankings evaluates more than 700 universities in the world, ranking the top 400 based on six indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, internationalisation, faculty/student ratio and citations per faculty and has been compiled following surveys of more than 46,000 academics and 28,000 employers, the largest of their kind ever conducted.