Boardroom briefing: micro-credentials, economic theories need a reboot, and remote working in paradise


A look at ‘micro-credentials’, what economic theory is going to get us out of this mess, and one tropical island gets creative in its search for visitors. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

What are micro-credentials and how do they help students get jobs?


The tertiary education system could benefit from ‘microcredentials’. Credit: Reasons to be Cheerful/Instagram

The traditional college education system in the US is getting a makeover, and it is a trend that might spread to the rest of the world, changing the way we job hunt in a pandemic, and collect qualifications.

Microcredentials are similar to regular university credit in that they can go towards making up a degree, but there are some practical differences. Normal college credentials only count towards finishing a degree but microcredentials are industry-recognised certificates that can count towards finishing university or college – but are also useful for applying for jobs in a candidate’s chosen field.

Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, saw the potential of these credentials back in January, creating ‘stackable’ bachelor degrees in writing, marketing and data science dubbed ‘MicroBachelors’. Now edX thinks the pandemic will accelerate the trend.

‘People are looking for shorter forms of learning during this time. They don’t know whether they have two months, three months. They’ve lost their jobs,’ Agarwal told positive news website Reasons to be Cheerful. ‘For them, the ability to earn a microcredential within a few months and improve their potential to get hired as we come out of COVID becomes much more important.’

Old economic thinking may not fit the pandemic

The economist cover

A revolutionary way of doing business might emerge in the post-pandemic world. Credit: The Economist/Instagram

In a deep dive, The Economist wonders if the old macroeconomic thinking of John Maynard Keynes and his ilk might be in need of a shake-up in the post-COVID world.

Which economic ‘levers’ will work to get the world out of the depressed economic activity we find ourselves in? The publication looks at the various macroeconomic theories of the past century and finds them all wanting in the face of the latest global challenge. It’s time for new ideas, it argues.

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‘The rethink of economics is an opportunity. There now exists a growing consensus that tight labour markets could give workers more bargaining power without the need for a big expansion of redistribution,’ the author says. ‘A level-headed reassessment of public debt could lead to the green public investment necessary to fight climate change. And governments could unleash a new era of finance, involving more innovation, cheaper financial intermediation and, perhaps, a monetary policy that is not constrained by the presence of physical cash.’

Grab the laptop and head to Barbados?


COVID-free Barbados is offering work visas. Credit: BBC/Instagram

In every crisis lies opportunity, as they say.

Rather than closing its borders, the government of the Caribbean island of Barbados has announced the the Barbados Welcome Stamp – an open invitation for international visitors to work tax-free in this COVID-free tropical island for up to a year.

Aimed at true digital nomads, for whom a fixed office address has never been an issue, the 12-month work visa costs US$2000 (K5,523) and you must earn $US50,000 (K163,000) per year and have your own medical insurance.

The BBC took a close look at what it might be like to set up your office in Barbados and it discovered a good health system, near perfect weather and regular fêtes, or parties, across the island. The downsides were higher daily living costs and mosquitos.

But, over all, working from the beach looks like a tantalising option, as readers around PNG’s beautiful coastline would no doubt agree. Could some Pacific territories follow Barbados’ example?

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