Malcolm Turnbull has called to make maths and science compulsory subjects for graduating high schoolers, in an effort to reverse the steep decline in Aussies dropping these oh-so-important STEM subjects.

Speaking in Western Sydney on Sunday, Turnbull said that we’d gone backwards in that area, and that in *his* day, you had to study maths or science to graduate.

“It’s one of the areas we’ve gone backwards, actually,” he said. “In my generation, you had to do maths or science to complete high school. Many parts of Australia now, you don’t have to do that.”

“We’ve got to get back to that and ensure that everyone is very literate in those STEM subjects. Science, maths, technology – that’s the future.”

As a nation, we’ve spent the last decade and a half dropping maths as soon as is humanly possible.

The number of students taking Advanced Maths dropped from 30.6% in 2003 to 14.20% in 2013, while the number of students dropping maths in Year 11 altogether rose from 4.8% to 15.6% over the same time period. 

But right now, maths is having a moment. Last year saw both the University of Sydney make it a prerequisite for 62 of its courses, and Education Minister Christopher Pyne attempted to make maths or science a compulsory Year 12 subject (the states rejected his plan).

“Maths underpins just about everything – from the technology in your smartphone to the banking and financial systems that support our economy to how we measure and predict our health,” said Professor Nalini Joshi, Chair of the National Committee for Mathematical Sciences at Usyd, when announcing the uni’s new focus on maths.

“Maths is also the cornerstone of all scientific endeavour – so if we are training new scientists without a good understanding of maths, Australian science will soon be in trouble.”

Source: The Australian.

Photo: The Simpsons.