International -- Readers Report
WEIGHING THE VALUE OF VOLTAIRE (int'l edition)
Your story "Can anyone fix France?" (International Edition, May 8) provided by and large an accurate account of the many challenges facing France as President Jacques Chirac takes over.
It was unfortunate, however, that your comment "Schools should put job skills ahead of Voltaire and Descartes" is viewed as part of the solution.
France's educational system certainly does not lay enough emphasis on job skills--in particular, computer literacy-- and should balance the teaching of liberal arts with more training relevant to the job market. But it seems to me that a liberal-arts education provides people with a broad overview of different subjects that, in turn, helps them take the long view and make sense of the big picture. Isn't that just what is needed to rule society and lead organizations in today's and tomorrow's complex environment? In fact, a number of great European managers have liberal-arts educations as well as job skills.