Leaving cert maths students want smaller classes

Leaving cert maths students want smaller classes

16 August 2011 at 00:00
Over 64% of Leaving Certificate maths students said they would like class numbers halved to help them cope with the challenges of the subject, according to a survey by Engineers Ireland.  The findings were revealed ahead of the official Leaving Certificate results on Wednesday, August 17.
 
In a survey of 180 maths students by Engineers Ireland who sat the Leaving Certificate this year, 81% said their maths teachers need to give them more practical, every-day applications for maths to aid learning. 55% said they felt their maths teachers needed extra training to teach the subject and over 46% of maths students said they needed grinds outside the classroom.
 
John Power said that the findings show the unique teaching requirements associated with maths and the importance of teaching the subject in a practical manner that allows students to fully understand its relevance.  “It is now clear that Ireland, rather than experiencing a labour shortage, is suffering from a skills shortage.  There are 1,200 jobs in maths-related areas such as pharmaceutical and biomedical engineering that companies can not fill.  We need to bridge the gap." 
 
“We should listen to our students’ feedback regarding the teaching of maths," continued Mr Power, “so that we can ensure they have access to a wide-range of career opportunities that will also help meet Ireland’s future skills needs.“   
 
Mr Power added that while the latest CAO data indicating a 1.7 % increase in demand for engineering and technology courses shows our students are starting to move to where the job opportunities lie, this figure needs to be much larger to safeguard Ireland’s future economic wellbeing.  “The numbers moving into the tech sectors needs to be larger.  Engineers Ireland has been providing free maths grinds for some years now and the roll out of Project Maths is bound to help with increased numeracy facilitating more opportunities for students with strong maths.  Our link-up with UCD’s College of Engineering, Mathematical and Physical Sciences to encourage more engineering students to participate in the Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme and assist secondary school maths teachers with the delivery of the curriculum is also the type of initiative we need to see more widely adopted.”
 
He also said it was up to Government and industry to make maths more accessible to students to produce the next generation of much-needed engineers and entrepreneurs.