Monday, November 24, 2014

Daily Summary 24 Nov 14


Dow and Europe closed very firm on Friday. Dow +91 at 17810.  Dow's trend is up.  Dow's future is now +18.  Europe opened up.

Asian bourses were mostly up.  Nikkei +57, ShanghaiC +47, Hangseng +456.  STI closed -5 at 3341.  Volume was 1.8b shares.  Gainers were 218 to 215 losers.

Trend of STI is slightly up.

Top volumes were GSH +0.2, OLS -0.1, ForterraTrust +39, IHC -0.5, Digiland -0.1, Magnus unchanged, Memstar unchanged, Charisma +0.1, GoldenAgri +0.5, Healthway +0.1.

STI was slightly up on opening but slipped to negative after lunch. It closed near day low, losing -5pts.  Blue chips were mixed but bankers were slightly weaker after the recent gains.  Penny and speculatives were also mxied.

Europe and Dow are looking steady at the moment.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stock Picks 24 Nov 14

DBSV
Mapletree Logistic Trust - tgt $1.25

UOBKH
PACC Offshore Services - tgt 18.1% upside
Pacific Radiance - tgt 15.9% upside
Ezra - tgt 11.1% upside

OCBC
Kepland - tgt $4.09

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singaporeans must make way for the Angsanas



The Angsanas are well known as instant trees in the island. They are planted everywhere as stop gap measures when instant trees are needed. They have good foliage and provide good shade under the hot sun. Superficially they looked good too. But they also snapped or get uprooted quite easily under strong wings. Maybe it is their nature, or maybe they are just instant trees with shallow roots. Unlike the hardy local trees that could withstand strong winds with their deep roots, the Angsanas would always be Angsanas. They will snap or get uprooted.

What is disturbing is a piece of news this morning about two old schools, Griffiths and Qiaonan, that have to make way for Angsana. The two schools with a combined history of 145 years, with many histories and old boys and girls who were proud to be students of the schools, would have their memories wiped clean, all because someone decided that Angsana should replaced them as the name for the new school, but devoid of any history except the fame instant tree image.

Why would the decision makers choose to have something new and nothing exceptional to replace our heritage? And why would the MOE and the Singapore Heirtage Board allowed it to happen? Aren’t they the public institutions and guardians that believed in our history and heritage? Are these people obsessed with the Angsanas? Or is there a message that they are sending out, Angsanas are good and should replace the locals?

The old boys and girls and teachers are all perplexed. They have all the good reasons to want to preserve the names of the two schools. They protested. Why would they want to replace the names of their schools with something like Angsanas? It reminds me of the fetish fad of replacing the PMEs with their wealth of experience with unknown elements from overseas.

There are a lot of sentiments involved. This is our history. This is very sad. Our past and memories are wiped out, no more, by this naïve and simplistic decision. The old boys and girls just want something to remember, their past, the times they spent in the schools, their alma maters. Why can’t the new school be called Qiaonan Griffiths to give it some history and a link to its past golden days? Qiaonan and Griffiths anytime sound better than this thing called Angsana. And one of the criteria of the Schools Naming Committee is whether the name resonates with the community? You mean Angsana resonates with the community better than Qiaonan and Griffiths?

And this Angsana Primary School is supposed to build on the histories of Qiaonan and Griffiths! What have they been smoking? Maybe Angsana resonates with the national policies of bringing more instant citizens into the country. Every Angsana, every instant tree, is a treasure, a talent, better than the locals or the Qiaonans and the Griffiths. It is better to do away with Qiaonan and Griffiths and glorify the new future of Angsanas.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

World Universities Rankings trivialise Research Excellence



Bogus World Universities Rankings promote Mediocrity and Worthless Value as Excellence

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 desired goal of NTU research is “the harnessing and capturing of value (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007). This is our Definition of “Research Excellence”.

Singapore Universities NUS and NTU were recently ranked among the Top by THE (Times Higher Education) World University Rankings. The London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranked NTU as the World’s Youngest Best University.

For QS Rankers, Research “Excellence” is measured by a questionable proxy measure called “Citations per faculty (20%)”.

Their “Citations” indicator aims to assess Universities’ Research Output. A ‘citation’ means a piece of research being cited (referred to) within another piece of research. Generally, the more often a piece of research is cited by others, the more influential it is. A rather simple but nonetheless naïve and invalid construct of “Research Excellence”, revealing QS’ ignorance and lack of understanding regarding Universities Research Excellence.  

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

For QS Rankers, the winning Soccer Team is determined by counting the number of passes and ball possessions instead of the overall goals score impact!  Seriously, how VALID or Significant would this be?

There should be clear, ample proof that “new” knowledge contained and “cited” in these journal and conference papers is in fact of some degree of significance public value.

QS Rankers failed to evaluate the extent to which NTU had attained its Goal directive to harness and capture value (Dr Tony Tan, 29 Mar 2007).

Such glaringly blatant and obvious defects should NOT have escaped the penetrative professional scrutiny of NTU Senior Management and Administrators, many of whom eminent Professors and Researchers themselves, who had pronounced and unashamedly embraced the spurious and bogus QS Rankings to position our University in spite of its lack of validity and reliability of their Criterion measures.

In doing so, irreparable damage was done to the great authentic reputation of Singapore. Singapore universities should no longer participate in any Global Universities Ranking scams, no matter what other “famous” Universities had been included.  All Marketing collaterals making references to the bogus University Rankings should also be cleansed of the lie and return our Institution to Authentic levels of transparency and integrity. 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Desired Outcomes of Singapore Universities.


Ignored and Sacrificed by Global Universities Ranking Standards

Singapore Universities are acknowledged as among the very best in Asia and the world institutions of higher learning and research.

A great University is committed to organizational excellence at all levels and in all the Departments providing professional support to sustaining excellence in teaching, research and professional service to the Community and Society at large. Through its research and educational programs, as well as various campus activities, a great University must also develop leaders for all sectors of the society and prepare them to address the challenges facing the community and nation.

The Ministry of Education unveiled in 1997 and defined the specific outcome of Singapore Education System for Universities. According to our Ministry of Education, the Desired Outcomes establish a common purpose for educators, drive our policies and programmes, and allow us to determine how well our education system is doing.

The person who is schooled in the Singapore Education system embodies the Desired Outcomes of Education. He has a good sense of self-awareness, a sound moral compass, and the necessary skills and knowledge to take on challenges of the future. He is responsible to his family, community and nation.

He appreciates the beauty of the world around him, possesses a healthy mind and body, and has a zest for life. In sum, he is:
  1. a confident person who has a strong sense of right and wrong, is adaptable and resilient, knows himself, is discerning in judgment, thinks independently and critically, and communicates effectively;
  2. a self-directed learner who takes responsibility for his own learning, who questions, reflects and perseveres in the pursuit of learning;
  3. an active contributor who is able to work effectively in teams, exercises initiative, takes calculated risks, is innovative and strives for excellence; and,
  4. a concerned citizen who is rooted to Singapore, has a strong civic consciousness, is informed, and takes an active role in bettering the lives of others around him.
Our Universities students would be further strengthened in their belief in Singapore, and develop a profound understanding of what matters to Singapore in the global context. Our universities curriculum make explicit what we aspire to develop in our young so as to empower their strong foundations for them to thrive and achieve success in life as active and contributing members of Singapore.

NONE OF THE OUTCOMES of our Education System was addressed by the Global Universities Ranking vendors.  And they were therefore NEVER measured or evaluated among and with the other Universities.

It is baffling why Singapore Universities would want so desperately to subscribe to dubious Universities ranking standards of dubious excellence. It is even more disturbing that the Ministry of Education would have allow them to expend public funds to woo and court the Global Universities Rankers when it was so blatantly clear that NONE of their Criteria even remotely measure or evaluate our own Outcomes of Education. 

Singapore Universities should no longer participate in any Global Universities Ranking scams, no matter which other “famous” Universities had been included.  All Marketing collaterals making references to the bogus University Rankings should also be cleansed of the lie and return our Institution to our Authentic levels of transparency and integrity. 


Read More here:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Singaporeans Sacrificed for Top Universities Rankings

ByMIKOspace


Were Singaporean Students and Professors Sacrificed for NTU Top Rankings? Singaporeans are Collateral Damage for Top Universities Rankings.  Was it Worth it?

“NTU heads QS' list of top 50 universities …”, according to London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), one of three international universities ranking systems.

For the sake of meeting the Criteria of a Bogus Ranking Standard of Dubious Excellence, it appears that NOTHING was spared so as to Obtain a Brand of Questionable Authenticity.

Let’s examine 3 of the QS’ 5 Criteria here.

International Students Ratio (5%)
In 2013, 28% of NTU’s 23,484 undergraduates or 6,575 were foreigners. Why 28% foreign students? Canadian universities, for example, averaged only 8.9% foreign students in 2009. 

Some NTU “rejects” even went on to Ivy League Universities overseas. Many understandably could not afford the costly overseas education. A mere tweaking of the arbitrary cut-off points for NTU Admissions would easily have absorbed 6,500 more Singapore students. The cutoff point appeared deliberate in order to have less local students, in favour of foreign studnets in order for NTU to excel in the foreign students criteria of the QS Ranking criteria.

Were more than 6,500 Singaporean students, or between 1,700-1,900 annually, denied NTU admission into various 3-year and 4-year Undergraduate Programs, over 2009-2013, so that NTU could excel in the International Students Ratio criteria of the QS Ranking?

Totally Unacceptable is also the Fact that at least 40% of the “rejected” students would have completed National Service in their citizenship duty to serve and defend this Country, and only to find upon NS completion that a Public Institution in our Beloved Country had “sold them out” for a Foreign bogus ranking standard of dubious excellence!

What is Baffling is the fact that millions of Singapore funds are used to pay for the thousands of “free” scholarships for most foreign students to study in NTU and other local Universities. 
WHY THEN IS THE NEED FOR A BOGUS RANKING AUTHENTICATION to attract Foreign Students to study “free” here?

International Staff Ratio (5%)
Singaporean Professors in NTU were similarly discriminated for a better QS Ranking.  In a purge of Professors under the pretext of Tenure Evaluation from 2007-2010, mostly Singaporean Professors, including many already qualified for Tenure previously, were dismissed.  And when the dusts settled in 2010 after the Purge, Singapore citizens including new citizens formed only 44% of the faculty; 56% of NTU faculty are foreigners from 56 countries worldwide including Singapore PRs.

Professors who are Singaporeans were clearly discriminated and sacrificed so that NTU could excel in the International Staff Ratio criteria of the QS Ranking.

Faculty/Student Ratio (20%)
Following the Purge of Singaporean Professors, many more foreigners were engaged as NTU Professors. These are mostly freshly-graduated PhDs, and others lacking the acclaims, experience and research citations of those Singaporean Professors who were “terminated” by NTU. Their increased numbers were however necessary in order to meet the QS’ Faculty/Student Ratio.

While the first 3 Criteria may account for just 30% of the QS Criteria, the sacrifice of Singaporeans as students and Professors appeared necessary as the tipping points for NTU to excel and top the bogus standard of dubious excellence.

United Nation Education agency UNESCO had also challenged the validity and reliability of University Rankings like QS, viewing them “of dubious value” that “use shallow proxies as correlates of quality.” Really Sad, ALL THE SACRIFICES BY SINGAPOREANS ACTUALLY FOR NOTHING AUTHENTIC OR OF SUBSTANCE, REALLY. 

For the Sake of Authenticity and Integrity, Singapore universities should no longer participate in any “Global Universities Ranking” scams.  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.  We owe it to our Founding Generations never to cheapen our Reputation, painstakingly built over the past 50 years, in any manner.  

Read Full Article here:

Thursday, October 09, 2014

WHO Ranked NTU?

The DARK SIDES of QS World Universities Ranker
Singapore Universities have recently been ranked at the Top by what most Academics and the United Nations Education agency, UNESCO, generally considered to be Bogus Ranking Standards of Dubious Excellence. 
Singapore University NTU has secured top placing as the world's best young university, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World Universities Ranking, one of three major international university ranking systems.  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”. 
Eminent Professor Simon Marginson of then Melbourne University remarked of QS that: “I do think social science-wise it’s so weak that you can’t take the results seriously”. 
A Reporter also claimed that QS has used the threat of legal action to try to silence critics. “QS has twice threatened publications with legal action when publishing my bona fide criticisms of QS. One was The Australian: in that case QS prevented my criticisms from being aired. The other case was University World News, which refused to pull my remarks from its website when threatened by QS with legal action”.
The QS World Universities Ranking, like other Universities Rankings, is in essence deficient in terms of social science, but QS has been criticized for more than just its unsound, questionable and unscientific Methodology:
1)     THES DID drop QS for Methodological Reasons. QS’ use of peer and industry surveys is highly questionable with very low response rate returns from huge number of unspecified respondents of unknown expertise.  Read the best explanation by QS’s former partner …  
2)     The Most Stinging Criticism is the Sale of Dubious QS-Star Ratings. One wonders which self-respecting University would “buy” QS-Stars and actually use them for Marketing.  Singapore NTU (39) and MIT (1) both have 5+QS-Stars. As did the Universities of Waterloo (169), Monash (70) and Queensland (43). However, the Universities of of Cambridge (2), Harvard (3), Stanford University (4), Caltech (5) … have only 5 QS-Stars.  Brackets contain QS 2014 Rankings.  Note the UNRELIBILITY of QS Rankings vs QS-Stars, and therefore their absurd claims to VALIDITY and Credibility.
3)     And the Highly Lucrative "Consultancy" to help Universities Rise Up the QS Rankings.  Need to say more regarding QS’ commercial rather than Academic or Quality motivation?
4)     QS offers "Opportunities" for Branding from just $80,000 with QS Showcase. Another QS’ innovative commercial “Value” Service if Academic Reputation of Excellence is not enough to attract students.
5)     QS Reputation Survey has Weak Protocols, as demonstrated by this case of blatant manipulation. An Irish University President has, AGAINST QS’ Expressed Rules, asked all faculty members and other academic employees at his institution to each recruit three people from other universities to register to vote in the survey of university reputations.  QS allows Universities to encouraging people to sign up for the QS peer review survey, as long as they don't suggest favoring any one institution. Now, how does this actually work, seriously? 
6)     Finally, QS's business practices (fined GBP 80,000 or US$ 128,648 for using unlicensed software) leave an awful lot to be desired. Maybe, it’s just bad planning, inadequate IT policies or simply a lack of awareness.  Clearly, an Integrity issue for any Company desiring its Products to be viewed with Respect and Credibility.  
Read Full Article with References:

Monday, October 06, 2014

True Lies about Universities Rankings

True Lies about Universities Rankings - Michael Heng

The London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (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”. 

Singapore University NTU has secured top placing as the world's best young universities, according to QS Ranking, one of three major international university ranking systems.

The United Nations Education agency, UNESCO, has challenged the validity and reliability of University Rankings such as QS Ranking:

“Global university rankings fail to capture either the meaning or driverse 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.”

It is highly questionable whether the 5 Criteria of QS Ranking actually indicate or measure University Excellence to any extent. No study on their validity and reliability has been produced by the Ranking organisations themselves.  At best, these Criteria are just “popular” notions imagined by the Rankers themselves and have no true bearings on University learning impact on their students.

Too much time has been obsessively invested by NTU and NUS in collecting and using data and statistics in order to improve their ranking performance on a bogus ranking standard of dubious excellence. Universities should be more concerned about innovative ways to enhance our universities’ contributions to society through their students. This is the Real payback for the millions of public fund spent on our Universities.  

Kopi Level - Green

Read More here:

Friday, October 03, 2014

Free university education?




Can this be true? Even if it is true, the quality must be bad. How can free things be good? You want quality you must be prepared to pay for it. The more you pay, the higher the quality. It must be, like our world best govt.

Effective this year, the whole of Germany will provide free university education when Lower Saxony decided to abolish university tuition fees. Wow, this is like fiction. Actually many countries in Europe provide free university education. Bloody hell, I am like a frog in a well. Only today then I heard about it, read about it. Scandinavian countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden have been providing free university education for many years and it seems that this is a trend and other countries are following suit. In UK, Welsh university education is free for Welsh.

According to a chart from Source: http://www.zmescience.com/other/germany-education-fees-01102014/  Scotland and several East European countries are also providing free university education for their citizens. University fees in Spain, France and Belgium are less than 1000 euros per year while Portugal, Italy and a few East European states are charging less than 3000 euros. No wonder their rankings are lower than our world best universities.
How much are we charging our students? Britain charges more than 9000 euros for their universities, the most expensive. I think we must be modeling after Britain and using Britain as a benchmark in fees and quality. Our universities are comparable to the best of the British in both counts so it is only appropriate to benchmark against them.

Why are some of these countries starting to offer free university education to their citizens? Simple. It is an investment. The better educated the people are, the more productive they are and better serve the country and its economy. Put it the other way, if the university education is so expensive that the people are not university graduates, how are there going to contribute to the economy? Would they be happy to be hawkers and crane drivers? In Sin City, many graduates are now good enough to drive taxis.

What if our citizens are all non graduates, would we be importing all the top and highly paid employees from abroad, the foreign talents? Highly skilled jobs and professions need university education. You cannot have doctors, engineers, scientist etc without tertiary education. Wait a minute, I may be wrong here, there were doctors in the past without university education, like sinsehs, dentists and many other professions. Could be self taught. Is this a contradiction? Never mind if we can live with fakes.

We need high quality university education. And of course quality means money. The buildings, the foreign talent professors, the land, very expensive here, the material, everything needs to be paid for. No money how can?

And providing university education is a big commercial business and can bring in a lot of revenue. Maybe this is one of the main reasons why our universities are so obsessed with university rankings. It is a big money making business. But can we also follow those countries to provide free university education to our citizens and make foreign students pay instead of providing free education to foreign students and make ours pay? Funny right?

The Welsh are providing free for their citizens? The European Unions are charging their member country students a lower fee than those outside of the EU. Is there anything we can learn from this news? Are we doing the right thing or the wrong thing?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Seriously, Singapore NTU is Number One University; but ….



The United Nations agency, UNESCO, challenged the validity and reliability, and therefore the usefulness, of University Rankings.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore has secured top placing on a league table of the world's best young universities.  It has overtaken Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, who was No. one for the past two years, according to London-based educational consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Of what value to Singapore is this NTU “achievement”?

Well, any good researcher would know that you will get what you measure, instead of what you want to claim the measure to mean.  So, what exactly does QS Ranking mean?

The United Nations agency, UNESCO, challenged the validity and reliability, and therefore the usefulness, of University Rankings:

“Global university rankings fail to capture either the meaning or divers 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.”

Indeed, Universities Ranking is itself conceptually problematic.  It embraced an “idealised” model of University to be achieved and in so doing generalize the failure of most Universities to achieve it.  The World-Class University has NEVER existed as a concept, or as an empirical reality. The status of “World-Class University” as the gold standard is the normative social construct of the rankers themselves.

In fact, even QS cautions against the use of the QS Ranking beyond its simple methodology and purpose “to serve the student consumer. Rankings allows the consumer to see how institutions stand against other universities." Adding: "As it became apparent that more and more undergraduate students were looking to study abroad, there was a need for an international comparison. We did not come about it from the point of view of an academic exercise with metrics."

This is a confession admitting to the fact that QS Rankings evolve around the metrics used to devise the tables including citations and peer review. The Rankers did not build their QS Rankings on any solid or vigorous foundation that would withstand the penetrative professional scrutiny of the Academics or Research Institutions which now used them to position themselves in spite of the lack of validity and reliability of these measures. Therein lies its fundamental conceptual and methodological flaw, confirming that the QS Ranking is therefore irrelevant and immaterial for any serious educational policy purpose.

In fact, QS rankers themselves were surprised at "the extent to which governments and university leaders use the rankings to set strategic targets. We at QS think this is wrong. Rankings are (just) a relative measure - if other universities do better and move up, you have to go faster." 
It is just plain mindless stupidity, I may add.

QS Rankings are akin to nothing more than a Market Consumers Survey, much like how marketing agencies rank the Apple iPhone with other handphones by Blackberry, Nokia, ZTE, Samsung, Sony, Motorola, Lenovo and HTC. 

Whither NTU’s Impact on Singapore?  NTU President and University Management, as well as the Ministry of Education, should be more concerned about the need to increase NTU’s, and other universities’, contributions to society, instead of obsessing with the ranking game.  


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