Mid-level mathematics should be made a pre-requisite for students looking to enrol in science, engineering or commerce degrees according to a new ten-year plan for mathematics in Australia launched in March by the education minister.
Currently only 14 per cent of Australian universities require science students to have studied intermediate mathematics in Year 12.
Key recommendations of the plan, developed by the National Committee for Mathematical Sciences, include increasing professional development for out-of-field mathematics teachers and a new national mathematics research centre to link industry and research. It also highlights an urgent need to address the low participation of women and rural Australians in the mathematical sciences.
The plan was developed after extensive consultation with mathematical scientists in schools, universities, government agencies and industry.
The formal launch by the minister Simon Birmingham at Parliament House was followed by an expert panel featuring former chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC FTSE, Assistant Science minister Mrs Karen Andrews, director of reSolve: Mathematics by Inquiry Dr Steve Thornton and QUT statistics professor Kerrie Mengersen. The panel was moderated by Sydney University professor and author of ‘Mathematics and Sex’, Clio Cresswell.
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