The Irish Times
Mathematics and education
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.