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...or does it not matter?

And if there is a minimum level of education, what should it be?

For example, in the current US Presidential elections, Obama and Biden both have a first degree plus a law qualification (Biden's from a less prestigious university), while Palin has just a first degree at a considerably lesser university and McCain didn't go to university (he went to the Naval Academy instead). Does this matter?

Is there any correlation between educational qualifications and qualities and effectiveness as a political leader?

For example, Churchill never went to university. Gordon Brown has a PhD, and started university when he was only 16.

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
philmophlegm
Oct. 7th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
You make a good point. The French approach until very recently was to believe that these skills can be taught. An astonishingly high percentage of senior French politicians attended the École nationale d'administration founded by De Gaulle. This despite the fact that only 90 students graduate each year. Sarkozy did not attend and has made a conscious effort to remove the enarques' stranglehold on power.

Even in this country, very few politicians seem to have held down what I would call a 'proper job'. Is it good for politicians to have lived in the real world and had a proper job outside of politics, academia and the public sector? I'd say yes.
wellinghall
Oct. 8th, 2008 10:00 am (UTC)
Is it good for politicians to have lived in the real world and had a proper job outside of politics, academia and the public sector?

I'd say yes, too; but is there any evidence that they do a better job?
philmophlegm
Oct. 7th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
This was prompted by something I saw online suggesting that Sarah Palin was not qualified to be Vice-president, because she was "less educated than even George W. Bush". Since George W. Bush has a first degree from the joint second-best university in the world and a Masters (an MBA no less) from the best university in the world*, then that's a pretty high minimum entry requirement.



* According to the survey in The Times Higher Education Supplement.
louisedennis
Oct. 7th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
I don't know about a minimum level of education but it would be lovely to think there was some useful qualification you could insist they have.

I can't think of a single way of introducing one, though, that wouldn't end in a horrible mess of unintended consequences and wouldn't at some level involve excluding people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
bunn
Oct. 7th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
I don't see much correlation between education and managerial skill, or education and common sense. Though I suppose that requiring a certain level of education would rule out really stupid people, surely the scrutiny and public criticism part of the selection process would do that anyway?

It's like the difference between exams and interviews. Talking to people is a better measure than how many ticky boxes they managed to fill, but you can't talk to 6 million of them, so you use the ticky boxes as a rather coarse and inaccurate first level filter.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )