Fareed Zakaria on Staying Competitive in the Knowledge Economy

As technology continues to shift, what will employees look for in their job candidates and how can education best prepare tomorrow’s workforce?


At the Global Education & Skills Forum, Big Think sat down with Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show and New York Times bestselling author of The Post-American World, to discuss education in the 21st century.

Knowing how to learn, according to Zakaria, is a skill that will never be phased out.

“What’s crucial is not the particular set of skills you have, but that you demonstrate a capacity to acquire them,” he says. For this reason, accreditation is important, for job candidates and employers alike. Zakaria calls it the “holy grail” of education.

Universities earn a lot of money providing employers with a “filtering system”: The top companies want to hire students from the top schools. The rising access to high-quality and affordable online education allows more people to learn from professors who teach classes at elite schools like Harvard and Stanford. Will accreditation from such programs matter to employers as much as having attended the four-year brick-and-mortar version, complete with the dorm room experience?

“If employers start treating those pieces of paper, those accreditations as worth a lot, that completely changes the nature of education,” he says. “[Then] what you are being paid for is really outcome related.  It is related to what skills have you acquired rather than process related.”

Zakaria does see the rise in online accreditation programs as a way to help people learn the skills that they need in order to advance in their fields. For more on his take on how to stay competitive in the knowledge economy, watch a clip from Big Think’s interview:

SpaceX catches Falcon Heavy nosecone with net-outfitted boat

It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
  • A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
  • A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

‘Climate apartheid’: Report says the rich could buy out of climate change disaster

The world's richest people could breeze through a climate disaster – for a price.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report from a United Nation expert warns that an over-reliance on the private sector to mitigate climate change could cause a "climate apartheid."
  • The report criticizes several countries, including the U.S., for taking "short-sighted steps in the wrong direction."
  • The world's poorest populations are most vulnerable to climate change even though they generally contribute the least to global emissions.
Keep reading Show less