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Lack of qualified teachers could grind mathematics overhaul to a halt

The state government’s plan to make maths compulsory for year 12 students could backfire, with qualified teachers in short supply.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a bold plan to force all senior high school students to study mathematics, as part of a revised curriculum.

Maths is currently only compulsory for NSW students through to year 10.

The decision reflects Australia’s poor performance in maths compared to other developed nations, but some educators say we’re lacking the necessary resources for improvement.

NSW Mathematics Association President Karen McDaid warns teachers are already stretched to their limits.

“We currently have about 76 per cent of students in their first four years of school being taught by at least one out-of-field teacher.

“They don’t necessarily have the training that’s required to support the education of these young students.”

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The government’s proposal would allow less confident students in year 11 and 12 to study a non-ATAR maths subject.

Ben Fordham reckons making certain subjects compulsory is a lost cause.

“The idea that I’d be forced to do something I hated all the way to the end of my high school, I don’t think I’d be a fan of that.”

Listener George tells Ben it’s a “necessary evil”, reflecting on his own struggles with financial confidence as a result of his school experience.

“It’s something that’s plagued me through my life.”

Listen to the full conversation below

Image: Getty/Juice Images