Fine Gael TD for Cork East, David Stanton, has welcomed a new training programme for maths teachers as a positive first step in overhauling the approach taken to the subject.
“I am glad to hear that the Government is taking a proactive approach to improving the teaching and study of maths in our schools. The Leaving Certificate results this summer provided us with yet another yearly reminder of the dismal standard of maths among many pupils.
“This was further highlighted by a survey from the Teaching Council, which revealed that one quarter of maths teachers are not fully qualified in the subject. Teachers will now be given an opportunity to upskill their knowledge and be brought up to speed with the Project Maths syllabus.
“Ensuring the highest standards within the teaching profession is crucial if we want to tackle this problem seriously. I believe we need to be doing all we can to encourage as many Leaving Cert students as possible to take maths at Higher Level. This will only be possible if pupils are being taught by professionals with the requisite skills for the job.
“I have long called for the introduction of a second chance safety net, so that students who fail maths don’t automatically lose out on a wide range of college courses. I believe that giving them the opportunity to re-sit the subject before the start of the college year would encourage more pupils to take the ‘risk’ of sitting Higher Maths in the first place.
“There’s no reason for us to stop at maths, either. We’re all familiar with anecdotal evidence from multinational companies based here who bemoan our low levels of maths and science graduates. We need to look right across the subject spectrum to ensure that teachers are suitably qualified to equip students for careers in research and technology; two sectors which will help drive our economic recovery.
“We need to achieve real change in how we deliver education. The new maths training programme is a positive first step, and I look forward to learning of further government initiatives in this area.