Friday, 31 October 2014

TRUE Research Impact of Singapore Universities

Going Beyond Bogus World Universities Rankings Criteria

This Article broadens the perspective of University research by suggesting a family of measures for research excellence based on the impact of the knowledge created by Singapore University Professors in NTU and NUS.

Over the past decade, our Top Universities have been too obsessed with meeting the bogus world Universities ranking standards of dubious excellence and specifying that the only measure for research achievement is the number of research publications.

The bogus World Universities Ranking standards require that “Research Excellence” be (spuriously) measured ONLY by “citation”, which is how often a Research Paper is quoted by other researchers.

Our Top Universities NUS and NTU should begin to re-think the dubious constructs of “research excellence” and evaluate the quality, not the quantity of publications, as well as teaching and other contributions to knowledge, and more importantly, the impact of such expert knowledge on communities, businesses, societies and nations.

True research excellence is the product of passion and genuine scientific investigative efforts directed at purposeful outcomes in the form of “discoveries that will benefit Singaporeans and humankind globally” (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Jul 2006).

The “Research Impact” of our Universities refers to  the knowledge impact that the Professors have created.

University research is a powerful stimulus for economic development, leading to measurable increases both in GDP and employment.   University research has the potential to produce breakthrough advances that can fundamentally alter our economic growth and quality of life. And although not all research leads to such world-changing results, it does produce a steady stream of new ideas and technologies. These, in turn, lead to innovation and continuous improvements in productivity and quality of life. 

University research also has an economic impact by equipping students with the ability to generate new ideas. Companies will benefit by hiring graduates with knowledge and research skills.   University graduates help firms become more efficient and productive, and help them to introduce new products and processes.

Public Research Funding could only be justified by its impact on a continuum of clearly defined outcomes.   

Currently in NTU, for example, research impact is only measured by the number of journal papers produced by funded activities conducted by professors, research officers and project officers.  Innovations, patents, venturing, licensing and high-level consulting are not regarded as central in the University research effort.

In a Purge of Singaporean Professors over 2007-2010, a vast majority of NTU Professors responsible for more than 20 spin-off companies based on innovations developed from research with their students were dismissed. Their research prowess, innovations and entrepreneurial achievements were summarily dismissed as irrelevant and immaterial

Case-in-Point.  An NTU Professor (and inventor and entrepreneur) was a victim of the Purge, even after his ground-breaking research proposal won part of a S$10 million research grant for his research proposal under the pioneering National Research Foundation (NRF) Competitive Research Programme (CRP) Scheme. He had led his Team of 7 PhD Professors and Researchers to compete with 124 other teams from NTU and NUS, and was selected by an international panel of scientists, academics and industry experts on the basis of the outstanding merits in the research idea as well as in the credentials of himself and his research team.

Each CRP project is expected to birth an entire industry that would add sustainable capacity and capability to Singapore’s industrial landscape.  In the words of Dr Tony Tan, then NRF Chairman [currently Singapore President], the winning Project would blaze the path of “new research ideas that Singapore can cash in on”.

“Serious and Impactful Research” was also defined by Dr Tony Tan as “the harnessing and capturing of value” (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007). 

As the intended result of narrowly restricted research excellence definition, the tremendous amount of publications (2,500+) by NTU professors from their research activities is believed to exceed even the publication output per capita professor in such well-known universities like MIT and Harvard.   

NTU receives little research funding from businesses and non-government organizations. The continual use of public funds in Singapore university research for the sole purpose of producing journal papers just to enhance the resume of its Professors cannot be sustained for obvious reasons.   Clear demonstration of the economic and public impact emanating from university research is needed to justify further public investments in university research activities.   

The diagram below, ‘borrowed’ from a study on the impact of university research, shows the main expected outputs from a university research system that goes beyond the number of journal paper publications.   
C. Langford (2002), "Measuring the Impact of Research on Innovation", in J.D. Holbrook and D. Wolfe, Knowledge, Clusters and Regional Innovation, McGill-Queens Press, Montreal : 113-132

The significant outputs of a University Research System leading to Ultimate Impact would include the following:

(1)   Contract Research
Contract research and collaborative projects are a significant evidence of research excellence.   They also promote direct communication between researchers in universities and researchers in government and industry sectors. The extent of knowledge exchange (both ways) is sensitively dependent upon the nature of the relationship. Longer-term relationships and ones of a program rather than short project character have greater impact because they allow for development of means of translation between the distinct milieus. Thus, long term activities including industrial research chairs and research consortia are usually the most productive and have the best impact.

(2)   Consulting
High-level consultancy usually has significant impact on policy formulation in both the private and public sectors.   The results of consulting could also lead to job creation, especially when it is associated with the commercialization of innovations.

(3)   Patents, Spin-off and Technology Transfer
These refer to the formation of a new enterprise, or licensing to an established firm, based on specific outputs of a research program such as a patentable technology or a focused technology package.   Some studies suggest that this is a factor comparable to the economic impact of consulting and of contract or collaborative research

It is frequently argued that few patents by themselves could be developed to become fully commercialisable in a feasible manner.   This is however an excuse for the lack of practical research impact.   Without encouraging and making patenting an important outcome of University research, how can any University convince the government, business organizations and the community that her professors are “excellent” researchers en route to “world-class” discoveries? 

Out of 1,000 patents, perhaps only 2 or 3 would reach successful commercialization stage.    However, these 2 or 3 could have built on many hundred others before them.   Universities need to encourage the goal of patents as a key output for university research.   Universities should strive to accumulate a store of patents to the critical mass necessary for truly ‘innovative’ research which, in turn, would produces products, processes and systems of value to people and society.

(4)   Policy Research and Analysis
A major impact of research done in universities is felt in policy analysis and formation in both public and private organizations.  Professors should participate in external policy formation.  Policy advice usually has frequently innovative outcomes.

(5)   Venturing
Research as “the creation of new knowledge” should also lead to the creation of new commercial, as well as not for profit, ventures by university professors. And sometimes together with their students – MIT is a great role model for this. These ventures usually emerge from an opportunity arising out of a professor’s, or some professors’, accumulated professional and research experience rather than from one particular discovery or technology package.

The value of a great Researcher is more than just the value of the sum total of his or her journal papers. It is also more than the measure of his or her store of expert knowledge. The “public” value of great Research lies in the impact created in the “use” of expert research knowledge and findings for the benefit of the University, students, the community, industry, the nation and other countries.

Popular facts mentioned that Albert Einstein only published 3 papers. Many NTU (and NUS) professors, like their counterparts elsewhere, actually publish more journal papers than Nobel Prize potentials and winners!  

The evidence of patents and commercialisable knowledge products is sufficient to establish the beginning of research impact. Consistent professional consulting assignments with credible national and international organizations or businesses known for their high quality professional standards are also sufficient evidence of impact.

Clearly, academic staff in any public-funded university should not spend 70% to 80% of their time, which is paid for by public funds, to produce journal papers simply for improvements to their resume in preparation for their next job in another University.

The tremendous amount of publications by NTU professors (2,500+) every year must be validated by more concrete evidence of their impact on businesses and society.   There should be ample proof that the supposedly “new” knowledge contained in these journal and conference papers is in fact of some or significance public value.

Not everyone who is consulted can be said to possess definitive expert knowledge of great value.   However, those who claim to be “the man in the field” or professed to be an “authority” that have specialized expert knowledge should also be consulted professionally by those for whom such knowledge is deemed relevant, important and critical. 

Professional consulting validates the relevancy and currency of expert or specialised knowledge, and confirms some degree of significant public value in otherwise “useless” research and knowledge.

Commissioned in 1997 to conduct an impact study, BankBoston reported that the graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have, since its founding in 1862, created 4,000 firms which, in 1994 alone, employed at least 1.1 million people and generated $232 billion of world sales.  The combined revenues produced by “MIT-related” companies would make them, when taken together, the 24th largest economy in the world.

The MIT Report is an example illustrating the contribution of Universities to their respective dynamic economy.   The development of business enterprises is one concrete measure of the impact of the University and its professors through their students.

The multi-dimensional and multi-faceted performance of a professor can only be measured by the extent to which he/she realized the “public value” of his/her specialized expert knowledge.

Likewise, the “IMPACT value” of a University’s research achievements should be evaluated through the objective evidence of journal papers, patents, spin-offs, contract research, consulting, policy formulation and venture creation.   

Seduction of World Universities Rankings

One University’s Journey From Greatness.

NTU’s Journey from Greatness to the TOP of a Bogus World Universities Ranking Standard.

On one particularly Summer day in 1987, I hired a fresh Engineering graduate (called him “James” here) from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for the Motorola factory where I was the HR Manager responsible for recruitment, among other duties.  James had graduated from NTU with a First-Class Honours Degree, which was truly outstanding during the 1980s. I vaguely remembered that he said he had actually topped his cohort. 

I had shortlisted James from some 400+ applicants, mostly recent Engineering graduates from NTU, Singapore’s top technological University which also boasted having the largest cluster of first-grade engineering schools in the world.  Together with some 30 other applicants, James was a candidate for Motorola’s embryonic Research & Development (R&D) Division, and where its pool of mostly Singaporean engineers would contribute significantly and developed many new Motorola products right through the 1990s and early 21st Century.   

“James” was just one of several truly remarkable engineering graduates continuously molded and refined by NTU Engineering Schools. 

NTU began as Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI) in 1981 before becoming a full-fledged University in 1991 with the vision “To Be The University of Business and Industry”.  By April 2001, NTU's research has resulted in 20 spin-off companies with many funded by venture firms, 150 disclosures, 76 patents filed and 30 patents granted. The research papers of its staff and students in refereed international journals had also won numerous awards in international competitions and conferences. 

At the turn of the 21st Century, NTU has truly earned its position through serving the needs of Singapore and poised to take Singapore and its economy to greater heights in the 21st Century. To Singapore, and the many leading edge technology companies like Motorola, Phillips, Hewlett-Packard, Sun and Oracle among other global corporations, NTU played a critical role and leading light to draw vital, life-saving investments to Singapore.

NTU’s Journey from Greatness began with the advent of “World” Universities Ranking, an essentially commercial profit-making venture by a British organisation.   

In 2008, NTU’s “World” Ranking plunged 16 places from 61 in 2006 to 77 in 2008, or 29 places from 48 in 2003, to join the ranks of relative unknown and undistinguished Universities. The subsequent shake-up of NTU appeared to be the inevitable effect resulting from these “world rankings”, which look at factors such as international outlook and how often other academics cite a faculty’s research.

To this day, it remained baffling and incomprehensible why none of the esteemed Professors in our Universities had bothered to examine the validity and reliability of the presumptuous “World Rankings Standard”. Many higher education experts, Professors and research scientists at that time had already questioned and condemned the dubious nature of the Standards and the spurious relationships of its various measurements.

“Not Good Enough”! so “decreed” an external foreign non-academic organisation on our Top NTU who has nurtured “James” and thousands of other Singaporeans into top-class engineering, science, business, social science and other professional graduates in great demand by renowned global corporations, and who contributed to Singapore’s economic and social development journey from 3rd World to 1st World. 

And we were somehow stupidly and mindlessly seduced by the “Emperor’s New Clothes” of World Universities Ranking!  

So, what exactly did NTU do wrong?   Here’s a brief list of NTU’s “wrongdoings in the early 2000s to be relegated:

1)    NOT ENOUGH FOREIGN Students - NTU had mostly (more than 94%) Singaporean Students.
2)    NOT ENOUGH FOREIGN Professors – NTU had NOT hired more Foreign Professors.
3)    TOO MANY STUDENTS – NTU had High Students-Staff Ratio.
4)    TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON INVENTIONS AND SPIN-OFF COMPANIES – NTU had too many Research Papers with Low Citations.
5)    REPUTATIONAL SURVEY – NTU was Unknown to Many Academics Worldwide.

In the years that followed, so seduced were we by the New Clothes of “Global” Universities Rankings, a series of measures were embarked on to increase the number of foreign students (at the expense of local Singaporeans?), break various laws so as to reduce the number of Singaporean Professors, to hire even more Foreign Staff.  

By 2013, Foreign students made up 28% of the total undergraduate population from just 5% less than a decade earlier.  At the end of the Purge of Singaporean Professors and staff by 2010, NTU proudly announced that Singapore citizens including new citizens formed ONLY 44% of the faculty; 56% of NTU faculty are foreigners from 56 countries worldwide including Singapore PRs. Never mind the fact that most Universities in the World actually have a majority of local Professors.

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!  

Never mind that QS Rankers themselves has cautioned against the use of its simple methodology by governments and university leaders to set strategic targets. They DID NOT build their “QS World Universities Rankings” on any solid or vigorous foundation that would withstand the penetrative scientific methodological scrutiny. Given self-confessed fundamental conceptual and methodological flaws, the New Clothes of “World Universities Rankings” is therefore irrelevant and immaterial for any serious educational policy purpose. “And WRONG”, added QS World Universities Rankers.

NTU’s Journey from Greatness to the “bogus” Top of World Universities Rankings has been remarkably as relentless as her early rise from NTI into a NTU as a Great University in just 20 years.  In her pursuit of the “bogus” world Universities ranking standards, we are reminded the Moral of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “Emperor’s New Clothes”.

Every child knows the Moral of the story is that one should not believe in every authority or in everyone who thinks himself to be better than you. The Emperor’s clothiers (“World Universities Rankings”) are not a better Judge of Universities because of their nationality, organisation or fine English manners; they are just human, fallible and commercially motivated. The important thing is to let other people think whatever they want, and not to lose one’s self-esteem by letting others diminish the accolades of our genuine acclaims and true achievements, so that we can lend them our excellent reputation of authenticity and honesty to cover up their lack of credibility, validity and reliability. 

A University’s contributions to society should be its sufficient measure.  The impact of NTU, since its birth as NTI, on Singapore students and society cannot be measured by the degrees of newly ascribed dubious excellence defined by “World Universities Ranking” Standards.  It can only be measured in terms of their contribution to the happiness and well-being of stakeholders and of the Singapore and global communities to which we belong and serve.

It is more important what we think of our own Universities and what they have achieved for our young people, our communities and our nation.  What foreigners think of us using irrelevant and bogus criteria should not make us unhappy.

This Post is painful to write, and I am saddened at how NTU has forsaken her destiny of national duty to develop our youth into top technical talents in order to pursue the empty accolades of world-class distinction defined by bogus ranking standards of dubious universities excellence. 

Unless we stop participating in these World Universities Ranking “Frauds” and “Scams”, we risk arriving at the ultimate shameful and tragic Discovery that the New Clothes of Top World Universities Rankings are made of the same fabric as one ancient Emperor’s.

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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Singapore in World Universities Rankings Fraud

Should we Risk Our Brand of Honesty, Trust-worthiness, Reliability, Integrity, Probity and Incorruptibility?

I have an unshakable belief in mySingapore’s Destiny and Place in the World.  Our reputation for honesty, reliability and trust-worthiness over half a century has earned us our rightful place among the few nations of integrity, probity and incorruptibility.  Our high international rankings attest to these, whether it is with Transparency International, the Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) or the World Bank.

But Singapore’s Exceptionalism goes beyond the rankings. These core virtues of our young, determined Nation as we nurture a deep, genuine authenticity and lasting value significance in the world have become ingrained into the Singaporean psyche and into our culture; in our people, our companies, our institutions and our communities. 

SO WHY ARE OUR UNIVERSITIES Participating in Bogus Ranking Standards of Dubious Excellence?

Singapore Universities have secured top placing, with NTU ranked as the world's best young university, according to London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), one of three major international university ranking systems.

An Eminent Professor has called the QS rankings “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”. 

“University world rankings are pointless”, said University College London’s President, “because there is no definition of the ‘ideal’ university”.

An European Union Research Centre concluded that the Rankings was not statistically robust in numerous aspects and highly unreliable for inter-University comparisons.  Their different Ranking Methodologies are also fragile in their ranking approaches and often inconsistent in its treatment of objective data and subjective variables extracted from surveys. 

In fact some survey results were re-cycled for 3 years for unknown reasons and in accordance with no associated research methods.  

Under scrutiny, the QS Ranking Methodology failed to withstand penetrative scientific scrutiny. In essence, World Universities Rankings contain serious fundamental conceptual and methodological flaws to render Word Universities Rankings practically useless, irrelevant and immaterial for any serious educational policy purpose

In fact, the United Nations Education agency, UNESCO, has challenged the validity and reliability of University Rankings:

“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’s found it “difficult to argue that the benefits offered by the information they provide, given the lack of transparency that we have observed, are greater than the ‘unwanted consequences of rankings’. For there is a danger that time invested by universities in collecting and using data and statistics in order to improve their performance in the rankings may detract from efforts to progress in other areas such as teaching and learning or community involvement”.

Singapore universities should maintain our Integrity and be honestly professional, and reject using the spurious World Universities Rankings to position our great Institutions of Higher Learning because of their lack of validity and reliability in Methodology and questionable measures of learning and research excellence.

Singapore universities should no longer participate in any “Global Universities Ranking” Fraud.  Singapore’s presence in the Global Universities Rankings 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 the Nation. 

We must continue to uphold the honest Truth before the World and ourselves, not because 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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Monday, 20 October 2014

Laws broken for Top World Universities Rankings

Did NTU break Laws to win Top Universities Rankings?

The Great Purge of Singaporean Professors and Lecturers was somehow deemed necessary in order to meet a Key Criteria – “International Staff Ratio” - of bogus World Universities Ranking Standards of Dubious Excellence. The Great Purge took place from 2007-2010.

The great Purge was conducted under the pretext of Tenure Evaluation from 2007-2010, during which mostly Singaporean Professors and Lecturers, including many already qualified for Tenure previously, were dismissed.  And when the dusts settled in 2010 after the Purge, NTU proudly announced that Singapore citizens including new citizens formed ONLY 44% of the faculty; 56% of NTU faculty are foreigners from 56 countries worldwide including Singapore PRs. Never mind the fact that most Universities in the World actually have a majority of local Professors.

In the Great Purge to DISCRIMINATE so as to “DOWN-Size” the number of Singaporean Professors and Lecturers, many applicable Laws were simply ignored and broken is such uncharacteristic manner unbefitting law-abiding Singaporeans in a Nation of Law and Order.  

Singaporean Professors and Lecturers were discriminated and sacrificed so that NTU could excel in the International Staff Ratio criteria of World Universities Ranking Standards of Dubious Excellence.

A little Background History will provide some Context for understanding. NTU Global Ranking had plunged 16 places from 61 in 2006 to 77 in 2008, or 29 places from 48 in 2003, to join the ranks of relative unknown and undistinguished Universities.  A study into the Ranking Criteria easily revealed the actions needed to climb to the “Top” (of what?).  Never mind that these Criteria are bogus and invalid factors having no bearing on teaching or research excellence and learning impact on the students.   

NTU Academic staff has the SAME inherent and inalienable rights to Non-Discrimination, as enjoyed by all Singaporeans, during employment. Such violated rights as enjoyed by Singaporean Professors and Lecturers were found in the following Laws, among other:

1)  The Constitution of Singapore
2)  The Retirement Age Act 2006 [Renamed in 2012]
3)  The NTU (Corporatisation) Act 2006
4)  International Labour Conventions – United Nations

NTU was “Corporatised” in 2006 to become more professionally managed but remained very much within the command and control of the Ministry of Education.

The Constitution of Singapore

The Constitution of Singapore under Article 12(1) states that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”.  Article 12(1) further prohibits discrimination against Singapore citizens on grounds of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law, administration of any law and in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority.

The NTU is a corporate entity under a public authority in accordance to the NTU (Corporisation) Act of 2006.

The Singapore Government does not condone any form of discrimination against employees. Our conduct of human resource management and industrial relations is based on merit and not on grounds which are of no relevance to a job.  The criterion test for any discriminatory management practices is “Job Relevance”.

The Retirement Age Act 1993 [Renamed in 2012 as Retirement and Reemployment Act]

NTU action in 2007 to retain staff at the retirement age of 55 years old clearly contravenes The Retirement Age Act of 1993.  Section 4 of the Act on Minimum Retirement Age stated that:

“(1) Notwithstanding anything in any other written law, contract of service or collective agreement, the retirement age of an employee shall be not less than 60 years or such other age, up to 67 years, as may be prescribed by the Minister.
(2) No employer shall dismiss on the ground of age any employee who is below 60 years of age or the prescribed retirement age.
(3) …..”

The outcomes of the Tenure 2007-2010 Exercises discriminating and separating tenured academic staff into those retiring at 65 years old and 55 years old respectively is illegal, according to Section 5 [Invalidity of term of contract of service] of the Act which stated that:

“Any term of a contract of service or collective agreement made before, on or after the commencement of this Act (1993) which provides for a retirement age which is less than 60 years or the prescribed retirement age shall be void to the extent that it is so less favourable.

NTU action in setting differential mandatory retirement age of 55 and 65 years old for tenured academic staff was therefore unlawful and unfair.

NTU (Corporatisation) Act 2006

The Nanyang Technological University (Corporatisation) Act 2006, in Section 13, directed that all existing staff as at 1 April 2006 shall continue to enjoy no less favourable (terms) than those enjoyed by them before that date. 

These “favourable terms” actually also included the rights of existing staff under the 1993 Retirement Act.  So said Section 5 of the Retiremnt Act above.

NTU Act 2006 - Section 13:
(1) On and after 1st April 2006, all persons employed immediately before that date by the predecessor university shall be transferred to the service of the university company on terms no less favourable than those enjoyed by them immediately prior to their transfer.
(2) Until such time as terms and conditions of service are drawn up by the university company, the scheme and terms and conditions of service in the predecessor university shall continue to apply to every person transferred to the service of the university company under subsection (1) as if he were still in the service of the predecessor university.

NTU Act 2006 - Section 13 provides for the protection of staff against discrimination in employment resulting from management decisions that are arbitrary, discriminative and unreasonable, as exemplified in the entire conduct of the Tenure Exercises from 2007-2010

A new NTU requirement that some academic staff should retire at 65 years old where others in an equivalent job retires at 55 years old amounted to “less favourable treatment” on the irrelevant basis of age and is therefore unlawful unless justifiable as a genuine occupational requirement.  

Universities, arguably more than any other sector of the economy, require the benefit of age and experience. Wisdom does not have a “best-before” date. Professors become better teachers, not worse ones, as their career continues.  Students often prefer their older, experienced and wiser professors, recognizing them as generally superior Teachers and Learning Facilitators and Mentors.

In accordance with the Retirement Act, in any change of the (working) conditions after 1993, the retirement age automatically became 65 years old for ALL without exception or exclusion.

By dividing staff into 2 groups, one retiring at 55 years old and the other retiring at 65 years old without any job relevance or distinction, it had discriminated arbitrarily and therefore violated the “equal protection” provision of Article 12 of The Singapore Constitution.  It was Unlawful, and illegal.

International Conventions of the United Nations

To further its illegal actions, NTU also devised a clever attempt to circumvent benefits that Staff had hitherto ENJOYED under Section 4(2) of the Retirement Act: “No employer shall dismiss on the ground of age any employee who is below 60 years of age or the prescribed retirement age

NTU demanded that those staff desiring to continue working beyond 55 years old, if they had not already been selected for the 65 year old retirement age group, MUST accept a Mandatory 50% pay reduction.  This forced a Hobson’s choice especially for Singaporeans rooted here with families and children attending local schools.   

In doing so, NTU also contravened the International Labour Conventions of the United Nations of which Singapore is also a signatory. The 50% Mandatory pay reduction was a clear violation of the Core ILO Convention 100 on Equal Remuneration. No staff, whether Singaporean Professors or foreigner, should have been forced to take a 50% paycut just to be able to report the day after “retirement at 55 years old” to teach the SAME subjects to the SAME Classes of students and perform the SAME duties.  That’s the employment abuse addressed by ILO Convention 100, which was ratified by Singapore, was designed to Prevent.

At the international level, the United Nations through its agency, the International labor Organisation (ILO), for which I had been appointed its International HRM Consultant for several years, issued generally accepted guidelines on the fundamental principle of non-discrimination.  These “Guidelines” became International and Local Laws when ratified by the respective Governments.

ILO Convention 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) aims at eliminating discrimination in employment, regardless of the grounds on which it is based or the forms it takes. ILO Convention 100 on Equal Remuneration (and Recommendation No. 90), which enshrines the principle of equal compensation for work of equal value.   ILO Convention 100 was also ratified by Singapore in May 2002.  NTU violated BOTH Core ILO Conventions 100 and 111.

Prima facie, from the preponderance of the facts and the lack of evidence to the contrary, it would appear that hundreds of Singaporeans Professors and Lecturers in NTU were systematically reduced to 45% by 2010 or thereabout, as part of its efforts to satisfy part of the key Criteria of World Universities Ranking standards through unlawful and unfair discrimination in the differential enjoyment of retirement benefits.  

The United Nation Education agency UNESCO had in fact also challenged the validity and reliability of World Universities Rankings, viewing them “of dubious value” that “use shallow proxies as correlates of quality.” 

And is it therefore incredulous that some entrusted with the management of a fine and prestigious University like our NTU would deem fit to break Laws in order to achieve “distinction” at the Top of bogus Universities ranking standards of dubious excellence?    

Singapore’s presence in the Global Universities Rankings invariable lends our hard-earned Reputation for Authenticity and Honesty to mask their lack of credibility, validity and reliability.  Singapore Universities should maintain our dignity and pride, and should no longer participate in any World Universities Ranking scams, regardless of their associations with other “famous” Universities.

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