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Maths decline concerns

MATHEMATICS is a discipline in despair, according to the latest Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies report.

The report shows declining enrolments in advanced level mathematics courses in schools and universities and a maths teacher shortage that appears to be hitting rural schools.

While maths enrolments are high, with most students taking one or two subjects in year 12, the number tackling high-level maths subjects has been falling since 1990.

Report author and FASTS vice president Jan Thomas said a brain drain existed in the mathematical sciences.

“No discipline can afford the kind of haemorrhaging I have documented and remain vibrant, creative and innovative,” Ms Thomas said.

“Government, business, industry and the community must work with the mathematical sciences community to address the issues while there is still some residual energy and hope left.”

Innovation Summit Implementation Group chairman David Miles said Australia had concentrated more on looking after older Australians and forgotten about the younger ones.

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