The Irish Times

Mathematic­s and education

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Sir, – Further to Robert Irwin’s letter (December 10th), it is wrong to suggest that arts students will never need to use algebra. One reason for this is that mathematic­s is offered as an arts degree in a number of universiti­es both here and in the United Kingdom. A secondary reason is that you cannot assume that students will pursue a single interest for their entire life. Many arts students will find a need for mathematic­s if they turn towards computer science or business at some point in their lives. Students are best served by opening doors to them, not by closing doors. It seems to me that Mr Irwin could reflect on the opportunit­y and beauty offered by mathematic­s to all of his students rather than limiting their horizons by suggesting to some of them that mathematic­s is boring and pointless. They may, like myself, subsequent­ly decide to follow studies in computer science and mathematic­s, even having graduated with a degree in modern languages. – Yours, etc, KT LYNCH, Dublin 9.

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