Sum changes afoot
More courses now require students to study maths, Lauren Ahwan reports
SCHOOL students are being urged to undertake higher-level mathematics, amid predictions that more study pathways will require maths prerequisites.
The University of Sydney last month announced it will require students to complete at least intermediate mathematics to be eligible for a wide range of its courses.
Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute director Professor Geoff Prince believes other universities will follow suite, while Group Training Australia says a solid maths background is already required for students in vocational education. The University of Sydney says the new prerequisites will apply from 2019 to give students sufficient time to select subjects that fulfil the entry requirements.
Prince says students are starting university inadequately prepared for courses that have a strong maths component.
“It’s not an insignificant group and the universities have really had to work hard to accommodate these students,” he says.
“So there will be a lot of pressure for other universities to come on board with this.”
He says if students are considering university study they should take intermediary maths with calculus.
Group Training Australia chief executive Jim Barron says prospective tradies must already prove their competency in algebra and trigonometry before they can sign up for a group training apprenticeship.
“The (mathematics) requirements for the key trades – electrical, plumbing, mechanics – are probably greater than for many, many university courses,” he says.
Bonita Hammond-Brown and Susan Prashanth, both Year 10 students, already plan to undertake maths in their senior schooling but say the move to adopt maths prerequisites will lead to many others reviewing their subject choices.
“I have friends that do not like maths and are probably planning to give it up as soon as possible,” Hammond-Brown says. “However, knowing that they may not get into the university course they want may make them think twice.”
ALL ADDS UP: Year 10 students Bonita Hammond-Brown and Susan Prashanth have chosen to study maths.