The Australian Academy of Science (AAS) has reminded students that maths is a mandatory requirement for students that will be pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees. In the last few years, mathematics prerequisites have not been heavily relied on.
The AAS has a ten-year plan ready to implement to ensure that proficiency in mathematics is enforced. The plan will lead to the necessary paperwork required for any students wanting to branch off into STEM degrees later on in a tertiary level. The AAS’s report, The mathematical sciences in Australia; A vision for 2025, in its executive summary says: “The importance of the mathematical sciences is expected to increase over the next decade.” They went on to state that they would be working closely with universities, school authorities and the Australian Government to reinforce the importance of mathematics. The AAS also states that science and technology “require mathematics as never before” and that is what is spurring them on to reupholster the rules.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Tyrone Carlin, was quoted earlier in February, saying, “We want to encourage students, particularly female students, to engage with mathematics at a level higher than general maths, and so lift the marked decline in enrolments across Australia and our declining national performance in the subject on global leagues table.” Although, the university will be making intermediate mathematics a prerequisite before considering a student for a STEM degree.
According to the Australian Mathematical Sciences Insitute, only 14 percent of Australia’s STEM degrees have maths as a prerequisite for students. Professor Geoff Prince who is part of the institute said: “It sends a very clear message to schools, students, parents and teachers that maths is not valued, which has put a downward pressure on enrolments, not just in Year 12 but throughout secondary school.”