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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Deans defend enrolling students with scant maths

Top educators have defended Australian universities' move away from requiring mathematics as a prerequisite for science, engineering and commerce degrees in which mathematical knowledge plays a key part, writes Tim Dodd for Australian Financial Review.

Easing the prerequisite for maths is one way of boosting student numbers, science dean Stephen Walker says. Photo: Australian Financial Review.

The chair of the Australian Council of Engineering Deans, Moses Tade, who is also engineering dean at Curtin University, said universities were using "many innovative ways" to teach maths to engineering students who were not up to the necessary standard. He said his fellow engineering deans would "refute" the notion that "you can't do engineering without having done intermediate maths".
Figures released last week show that 41% of Australian universities which offer engineering do not require students to have studied intermediate maths in year 12. And, to the knowledge of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute which produced the study, no university engineering faculties require students to have studied advanced maths in year 12, even though engineering courses are highly mathematical.