Chief scientist wants better maths skills among engineering students

Australia still lacks a long-term plan for its science, research and innovation system, according to the country’s chief scientist, and the education system faces big challenges due to reasons including changing workforce needs.

Fairfax reports that Dr Alan Finkel has also criticised standards for science and engineering degrees, and that intermediate or advanced mathematics should be mandatory.

“It staggers me that 13 of the 34 engineering courses offered in Australia accept fundamental [general] maths as a prerequisite even though this does not include calculus, and one of our engineering courses does not require any Year 12 mathematics at all,” he wrote in Focus magazine.

Finkel wrote that challenges to the education system were a focus of last month’s chief scientists’ meeting.