Immediate move on maths bonus points called for

19 Oct 2006

Bonus points for honours maths in the Leaving Certificate should be immediately reintroduced, the director of ICT Ireland Kathryn Raleigh has said.

Raleigh called on the Minister for Education Mary Hanafin TD to take this course of action, commenting: “In August Minister for Education Mary Hanafin called on the Higher Education Authority to examine the possibility of awarding bonus points for mathematics and science. We hope this will mean their reintroduction in the very near future.

“The low number of students taking higher level maths is a serious concern to business. Top high-tech employers are increasingly worried that they will have great difficulty finding the right staff in the years ahead,” she said.

Raleight pointed to the fact that in 2006 just 16pc of Leaving Certificate students took the honours maths exam, compared to 63pc taking honours English, as proof that action was needed.

“Students are turning away from maths because they see it as more difficult than other subjects. Bonus points for honours maths are an appropriate incentive to attract more students back to the subject. If we are to continue to grow our knowledge economy and to attract high level jobs in the high-tech sector, we need young people to have an excellent grasp of maths and science,” she said.

At present, the only institutions that award bonus points for maths are the University of Limerick and Dublin Institute of Technology for certain courses.

This week is national Maths Week, which is organised to promote the understanding, awareness and appreciation of maths.

By Niall Byrne