Australian maths education suffering from lowest common denominator approach

The co-founders of Origo Education, a globally successful Australian mathematics education company, have said Australia’s curriculum in the subject lacks the content that other countries display.

Origo, headquartered in Brendale, Queensland – and which is rewriting the Thai maths curriculum and supplying thousands of US schools – have said Australia lags the US, Finland and Thailand in primary school maths.

“We have to add more to the curriculum,’’ Dr Calvin Irons told The Australian.

“We need more scientists and mathematicians,’’ the company’s James Burnett added.

“But the Asian countries have more rigorous curriculums and we’re not keeping up. There’s no reason why Australian students can’t do what the Asian and American students now have to do

The Australian reports that the country is not teaching the multiplication of fractions (which feed into a knowledge of algebra) or adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators until the first year of high school. This happens in Year 5 in the US, Finland and Thailand.

Australia’s primary school education system is in need of improvement, according to Chief Scientist Ian Chubb’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia's Future report, released last September.

Among recommendations were that every primary school have a dedicated science and maths specialist.

Origo was founded in 1997 as Prime Education.

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