What have Andreas Schleicher of the OECD, US multinational companies and Finland got in common? Answer: they are all more influential in Irish higher education than I am.

What am I referring to? On Tuesday of this week the Irish Times published a list of the ’50 most influential people in education’ in Ireland. At number 1 was Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, while bringing up the rear at number 50 was Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals. My successor as President of Dublin City University, Brian MacCraith, is the most influential university head in Ireland and is at number 10 in the list, followed by UCD President Hugh Brady at number 20. Very much to my own surprise, I am still in there at number 29, despite my departure for Scotland.

So what is this, then? A harmless bit of fun? Or does this list tell us something more? It was compiled from lists presented by 50 key figures, and in that sense represents a statement about who or what is likely to determine the future of the education system.  And so what is striking is that the top 20 influencers are mainly people or organisations who are not actually directly working in education. Economist Colm McCarthy, at number 3, is the most influential educator, followed by Brian MacCraith at number 10.

The list presents us with a useful snapshot of how education is being shaped right now. As education is at the heart of the country’s future, the list makes for interesting reading. Let us hope that those who have this influence use it wisely.

Explore posts in the same categories: education, higher education


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5 Comments on “Influence!”

  1. Vincent Says:

    Huh, 50 is it. How about one, and the rest stop hovering over the pot and get on with it.
    This rubbish has echo’s of eight years ago when we had idiot day sailors on about incoming tides while merrily building plywood tubs instead of something seaworthy. Anyone watching the Irish games at the rugby world cup from New Zealand will see the precise influence for when you’ve that number of citizens off shore that the match on the other side of the globe might as well be home game there is something very wrong.
    No chance I suppose that all this high vaulting influence is crashing into each other.

  2. Jilly Says:

    “It was compiled from lists presented by 50 key figures, and in that sense represents a statement about who or what is likely to determine the future of the education system.”

    Or, it was compiled by Sean Flynn of the Irish Times downloading the speed-dial list from his phone and then shuffling it out of alphabetical order. A total non-story.

  3. Al Says:

    I can’t pass over something on a newspaper website that has the top X of of people, places, things. I don’t look on this as a good thing within me. The UK independent is one of the worst offenders.
    What does it say about us? Is it our attraction to judgements? We all talk about it and so on.
    A low form of journalism….

  4. Al Says:

    For FVP!

    I didn’t see the person you tipped for Minister of Education before the election in the top 50?

  5. kevin denny Says:

    Harmless drivel. “The Finnish model” is the 25th most influential person. The article does not specify which particular model. Richard Tol & I have agreed that it is in fact Viivi Pumpanen.
    C’mon Ferdinand: call a spade a spade.
    I think Sir Myles (the da) would be having a field day.

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