Daily Archives: November 30, 2011

What’s happening with maths at university?

According to The Australian this morning,

THE Gillard government is under fresh pressure to counter the decline of maths at universities and at schools after scrapping an incentive plan that will see student HECS fees in maths and science almost double.

I don’t know what is happening at schools, but at universities there was a 13% increase in maths enrolments by commencing students between 2008 and 2010. However, this was a lower increase than other science subjects and the overall increase in all non-science subjects.

While there have been shortages of maths teachers at schools, there has never been any real shortage of maths graduates as such. Maths graduates have generally ‘underperformed’ relative to other graduates when seeking work. And in practice they pursue a wide range of careers:

(2006 census, male graduates whose main field of study in their highest degree was classified as ‘mathematical sciences’.)