Document Details

Title Usual and Unusual. Looking for data on student success in Singapore
Author Richard Garrett


As part of OBHE’s 2018 focus on student success and outcomes, we are working a number of country case studies. The goal is to summarize how specific countries define and report student success. Our series selects countries from various global rankings of national higher education systems, such as QS and Universitas 21. Diversity by region and size informed our selection.

Our series kicks off with Singapore, ranked ninth best higher education system in the world in 2018 by Universitas 21. The U21 ranking includes a number of “output” measures, but only two concern student outcomes:

1) Percentage of the population aged 25–64 with a tertiary qualification
2) Unemployment rates among tertiary educated aged 25–64 years compared with unemployment rates for those with only upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education

The first metric is about graduate quantity in relative terms, while the second uses employment as a proxy for quality. Together, these two metrics account for only 6% of U21’s scoring model.

Inevitably, such rankings rely on data available across multiple countries, which aids comparability but obscures national data differences. The question OBHE wants to ask is what else can we learn about student success in Singapore? The two student success metrics employed by U21 both span forty-year periods, and therefore say very little about any recent innovation around student success definitions, data or reporting.

Singapore covers the basics when it comes to student success and outcomes data- number of graduates and recent graduate employment. The country has also pioneered reporting of TNE student outcomes.

Date 20/07/2018
Region(s) Asia
Countries Singapore
Theme(s) Transnational Education (TNE) Models, Public Private Partnerships

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