MORE THAN HALF of maths teachers believe that the introduction of Project Maths will not improve achievement in the subject, according to a survey by Engineers Ireland.
The findings, showing that 57 per cent of maths teachers surveyed did not believe the project would improve exam results, were revealed ahead of the official Leaving Certificate results which will be announced next Wednesday.
Project Maths, which was added to the curriculum in 2012, was designed to help students apply maths to everyday life and prepare them for working in science or engineering fields.
The survey of 253 members of the Irish Maths Teachers Association (IMTA), also found that nearly 84 per cent thought maths education should be given greater priority in the teaching curriculum than it currently is to support the future skills needs of our economy.
Nearly 75 per cent of maths teachers said there should be more focus on maths at Junior Cycle while over two thirds thought students would benefit if maths teaching in schools was combined with industrial visits to view real-life application of maths.
“For the new Project Maths curriculum to receive such little enthusiasm from our maths educators is a concern,” said John Power, Director General of Engineers Ireland. However he said we must be realistic about the prospect of more government funding in education.
“It is incumbent on industry to support the work of maths teachers as much as possible to bolster the effectiveness of the Project Maths roll out,” he said. “We must do everything we can to help more students engage with higher level maths so we can produce the engineers and business leaders of tomorrow.”
A spokesperson for the Teacher’s Union of Ireland (TUI) said it is too early to fully and fairly assess the value of Project Maths but drew attention to the 43 per cent approval rate among teachers of the programme so far.
“At such an early stage, this can be read as encouraging but we believe the programme should be further rolled out and tested before any real judgement can be delivered,” the TUI said.