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Give maths students a monetary incentive

THE rapid slippage of this country in international science and mathematics rankings should persuade us that no avenue should be left unexplored to remedy the situation.

One problem that has been identified is the decreasing number of young people opting to take the Leaving Cert higher course in mathematics.

Extra points will certainly help to solve the problem in the short term, but I would like to put forward a long-term proposal. A financial incentive should be given to any student who obtains a C grade or better in Leaving Certificate higher level mathematics and who subsequently registers for a degree course in engineering, mathematical sciences, physics, chemistry, or other subjects to be nominated at an Irish third-level institution.

The incentive could be in the form of money — always welcome to students — and the cost would be minuscule in comparison with the good that would be achieved, but perhaps a wiser option would be that such students be given a remission on registration charges which are effectively fees.

Unless we think imaginatively and creatively, we will pay a heavy price for rigidity in our educational system.

Prof Des MacHale

Department of Mathematics

UCC


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