The Big Ask: Is higher education still relevant?

Experts debate whether the traditional model of higher education needs revamping

Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle

Zoë Baird
Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle

“Education has become an ongoing, lifelong experience—it can no longer have an expiration date. We must embrace alternative learning models and credentials that teach skills employers require and students need to succeed; adaptive learning systems tailored to meet a person’s needs and abilities; and affordable learning so Americans can access the education needed to qualify for and land jobs.”

Thomas C. Leppert, Chief Executive Officer, Kaplan

Thomas C. Leppert
Thomas C. Leppert, Chief Executive Officer, Kaplan

"More employers than ever require a college degree as jobs have become more technically sophisticated. In fact, it is estimated that 85% of the new jobs to be created the remainder of this decade will require a college degree. However, rising costs, the demand for more skills linked to employment and the need for increased flexibility make higher education ripe for disruption. While the marketplace will evolve to meet these changes, the importance of a degree will remain paramount to success in our society."

Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor, American University of Sharjah, UAE

Dr Bjorn Kjerfve
Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor, American University of Sharjah, UAE

“A university education is more valuable now than ever before. The changing global environment demands that graduates have a deep understanding of their respective fields as well as the breadth of interdisciplinary knowledge provided by a liberal arts education.  This helps them become well-rounded leaders in the future regardless of their chosen field.”

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)

Dr Abdulla Al Karam
Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)

“When we ask employers about the role of education, they consistently refer to ‘survival skills.’ These include the ability to think creatively, work collaboratively, and be resilient, agile and curious.  Our role is to convene the education community to ensure it is equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to lead happy, fulfilling lives.”