Posted tagged ‘Sean Flynn’

Sean Flynn RIP

January 30, 2014

The Education Editor of the Irish Times, Sean Flynn, has sadly died after a long and serious illness that he faced with great courage and good humour. Some months ago it looked as if he might be in recovery, but unfortunately it returned and he lost the battle.

I worked closely with Sean since 2000, the year I became President of Dublin City University. Sean was very ambitious for the Irish Times, and wanted it to be not just the newspaper that reported the education news, but also the forum that conveyed something of the mood of the sector, and the opinions of those within it and of those who received en education from it. Because he was very widely trusted, he was able to get detailed reports and inside information, with the result that he often knew more about a particular development than those actually involved in it. His information was unerringly accurate.

He was also an entirely honourable man – he never betrayed a confidence or used information he had received off the record.

I shall miss Sean, and I hope that Elaine and his children will gather some comfort from the statements of many of those who came to respect Sean and enjoy his company and benefit from his insight.


Not adding up

June 2, 2009

One bit of statistical information that we have just discovered is far more damaging than all the figures on economic slowdown and unemployment. In today’s Irish Times education editor Sean Flynn reports that fewer than 20 per cent of students have opted to take Higher Level Mathematics in the Leaving Certificate examinations beginning this week. He expanded on this subject a little more on broadcaster RTE’s Drivetime programme.

As the response to my last post on innovation indicates, there is some disagreement amongst observers as to the value of an innovation agenda and the elements of innovation that would have the most beneficial effect on our economy. But nobody can seriously doubt that our plans for recovery are in trouble if we have such a large proportion of students who are excluding themselves from any possible education at university level in science and technology. 

What is more, we have known about this problem for a long time, and as a country are not addressing it with the kind of urgency that is now needed. Despite the Minister’s opposition (and it has to be noted again that this actually falls outside his jurisdiction), the universities do need to look again at the possibility of bonus points for Mathematics. And the government in turn needs to address the issues raised in the report of the Task Force on the Physical Sciences, which it commissioned but which it has largely ignored since its publication in 2002. The latter report is somewhat out of date, but many of the recommendations are still good.

The country’s future is at stake here. We need to do more to address this issue.