Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has welcomed the continued increase in the number of leaving certificate students taking higher level mathematics but warns that improvements in teaching quality are needed to deliver sustained improvements.
Claire McGee, Ibec Senior Executive for Innovation and Education Policy stated: “The proportion of students taking the higher level maths paper has almost doubled since the introduction of bonus points in 2012 and is a clear vindication of that decision. Perhaps it is now time to consider incentivising other key subjects for the economy in a similar way. The introduction of the new grading system has also encouraged students with the required aptitude to take the higher levels paper. However, for such improvements to be sustained over the coming years, we need to focus on teaching quality. The future of high-technology companies in Ireland will depend on sufficient numbers of suitably qualified graduates. If students want to pursue these disciplines, they must have a strong foundation in mathematics at secondary school. We live in a scientific and technological age. Maths skills are also necessary for all citizens to participate fully in life, further study and in work.
"We urge the Government to fully implement the recommendations of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Education Review Group which contains important proposals to improve the quality of STEM teaching and the pupil experience. The Group recommended more inquiry and experiential based learning. This will be critical to equipping workers with the necessary skills to adapt to a constantly changing and challenging business environment.”